No matter what kind of online business you have, you need a home base on the internet that you control.
Your home base can’t be on Facebook, or Instagram, or any other social media platform.
Why? Because one algorithm change can wipe you out. In a website vs social media contest, the website always wins.
Just look at what Facebook has done with Pages, for example. . . When Pages were first introduced, people who signed up to follow your page saw everything posted on that Page.
Today? Page owners are lucky if 5% of fans see a post. To reach more, you need to advertise.
Also, even though Facebook is huge, nobody can see you who isn’t on Facebook, so you’re missing a lot of folks.
So. . . you need a website of your own. Social media’s good for a lot of things, but it’s not the place for a business foundation.
For that you need an actual website. Of your own.
I believe the best, most versatile, and easiest way to create a website if you’re not a developer, is with WordPress.
Some Facts About WordPress
WordPress started as a blogging platform, but it’s been many years since it’s been a full-fledged web development tool. It powers about 40% of all internet sites worldwide today, everything from blogs to solo service businesses to major corporations.
Organizations like Whitehouse.gov, the Smithsonian, Walt Disney Company, and Snoop Dogg use WordPress. Colleges and universities use WordPress. If it’s good enough for them. . .
I teach WordPress over at WordPress Building Blocks, so obviously you’ll get a lot more information over there. But let’s run through some basics here briefly, using an analogy that’s easy to understand.
Building a WordPress website is a lot like building a house.
- First you need a plot of land to build on.
- Then you have to dig and pour your foundation.
- The next step is framing.
- After the framing’s done, you put on the roof.
- Once you’ve put the top on, you build the inside walls.
- Then you add your exterior touches — windows, doors, the type of siding or finish you’re using.
- Finally, you finish off the inside.
These correlate really well to the seven building blocks you need to build your WordPress website.
Block 1: Your virtual real estate is your site’s domain name and the service that hosts it
You wouldn’t try building a house in a swamp or on shaky sand, so your domain name needs to be strong and your hosting should handle WordPress sites with a high level of expertise.
Choosing a good WordPress web host is pretty straightforward. Finding a domain name, not so much, but with a little effort you’ll come up with a strong name that will work for your site.
Block 2: Your foundation is WordPress itself
It forms the basic shape your online house will take, and provides the support for the entire structure.
Block 3: Framing continues to fix the shape of the house and provide structural support for the walls and roof
Your WordPress theme provides this framework for your website.
What’s a theme? It’s a package of code that sits on top of WordPress. It doesn’t change WordPress in any way, but it tells WordPress how to present your website. Do you have two or three columns? A fancy graphic header? A blog? A footer? Interesting colors? Those are all handled by your theme.
You can find thousands of free themes, and hundreds of premium or paid themes.
We’ll help you sort through the confusion to find a safe, reliable theme that will present your site the way you want.
Block 4: The roof really secures the whole structure
It keeps the wind and rain out, and ties the walls together. Your virtual roof is the security you apply to your WordPress site to keep the hackers and bad guys at bay.
Sadly, because WordPress is a superior tool for website building and because it’s popular, it’s also a target for people with less-than-honorable intentions. You can’t make a website completely hacker-proof, but you can toughen it up.
Block 5: Plugins add more functionality to your WordPress site, and can change how it looks and behaves as well
These represent the interior walls of your online house.
Plugins are little snippets of code that work with WordPress and your theme to accomplish a specific task.
Just as there are thousands of themes available, there are tens of thousands of plugins. Because there are so many out there, sometimes they don’t play very well together.
I can’t possibly know or review them all, but I can teach you how to choose plugins that will do the job you need done without damaging your website.
Block 6: Putting windows and doors in place with Widgets
The plugins add functionality to your website. Widgets put them in the right spot.
Want an example? The little row of social icons in the right-hand sidebar lets you connect with me through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. It’s provided by a plugin and a widget places it in that right-hand column.
Last but not least, content is what finishes off the inside of your WordPress house
Content includes articles, images, videos and audio. It’s what keeps your visitors coming back again and again.
While it’s beyond the scope of this site to teach you how to create and edit video, for example, we will teach you how to add all kinds of content to your site and how to set it up to appeal to visitors and search engines alike.
Want a handy blueprint for WordPress beginners? Download it here (it’s free!).