"Let’s talk about images and your website. Why? Because posts with images perform better according to this post from Jeff Bullas. Plus – it just looks better. It feels like you care enough to take the time to select and add visual elements that make the piece you’re working on better. Looking for images for my […]"
Answered: Your Most Burning Questions About Starting Your First Website With WordPress
Remember the Konami cheat code?
Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A.
That code was the golden ring for gamers.
It unlocked untold riches in the gaming world – “god” mode, virtually limitless power-ups, or an endless supply of ammunition to make your way through to the end.
The cheat code offered gamers a way to overcome the obstacles of the game as they made their way through. Mistakes wouldn’t send you all the way back to the start or what would have otherwise been a fatal mistake allowed progress to continue.
Originally left in by accident, the creators ended up leaving it in so it wouldn’t cause other problems with the game and a whole generation of gamers bow in reverent homage to all that power.
It became so popular that it’s a thing now. Even some websites (not this one, sorry) hide easter eggs that are revealed when you enter the code.
It was such a big deal because it was a shortcut. It was a way to cheat the system and not be overcome with the frustration of losing your progress, or dying and having to start over.
Say what you will about its moral value, it’s still wildly popular and a very cool feature that you can find in some software programs and websites.
What we’re talking about today is a cheat code of sorts for figuring out the website design puzzle.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a roadmap that showed you exactly what you need to start your own website?
What do you actually NEED to build a website?
When I was just getting started building websites I struggled to find info and resources that spoke to me where I was at.
My biggest frustration was figuring out how to get started and where I needed to start.
I spent a ton of money big thick books from Amazon that were supposed to teach me how to do things.
Way too much money.
High-quality learning resources were a lot harder to find, or at least they were for me.
And even if I found something I could use I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea because I’d grown a healthy sense of skepticism.
So I decided to dust off my coding skills and learn how to do it myself.
I experimented a lot and failed a lot. But I started getting better and better and figured out what I needed to do to build the websites I wanted to build.
In fact, I got so good at it I left that job I hated so much and switched careers completely to become a web developer.
Since then, I’ve built a ton of different kinds of websites – from huge corporate websites to just-getting-started blogs.
I started thinking about other people who were in the same situation I was when I was just getting started: frustrated, confused, not sure where to go, and not sure who to trust.
So I thought, “wouldn’t it be great if I created a guide that was easy to understand, that spoke in plain language, and provided a step-by-step walkthrough of how a web developer creates a new website project?”
So that’s exactly what I did.
I created a web developer’s guide to starting a website with WordPress.
It’s got everything you need to start a website with WordPress. It doesn’t matter if you’re a blogger, a writer, a small business, a coach or even completely new to WordPress with no idea how to write code.
I put together this simple step-by-step guide that covers the seven major areas that I use to build new website projects with WordPress.
You can download the Ultimate Web Developer’s Guide to WordPress Websites here.
How much does a website cost?
Seems like everyone always starts with price, am I right?
If you’ve been thinking about starting a website it’s probably one of the first questions you have.
It’s a fair question and one that deserves a fair answer. And the answer is it depends.
But here’s the deal:
There are several different ways to build a website and it makes a big difference if you’re building a website for a business and have a big budget, or if you’re a blogger just trying to start your first website.
There are several costs too, and some are not as obvious as others.
There are four basic paths you can take to get your website built:
- DIY – Do it yourself
- Use a service
- Hire a freelancer
- Hire an agency
When it comes to figuring out how much a website is going to cost the way you actually get it built can be the biggest expense depending on your approach.
Each of these options has its own challenges and benefits.
I’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how much a website project should cost you.
Check out my guide on how much a website costs here.
Should I use WordPress? What if I want to use something else?
Why would you not use WordPress?
WordPress powers more than 30% of the internet. It powers sites for huge companies like AMC, BBC America, and Mercedes-Benz, to sites for schools, blogs, and sites built by entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes.
The development community behind WordPress is enormous and the brainpower behind its creators and contributors is substantial.
It’s grown a lot since the days when it was just a blogging platform. It’s a great fit for just about any kind of site you can think of – a one-page simple site, to large projects with extensive customization.
Today, there are more choices than ever when it comes to choosing a content management system for your website project.
WordPress is a great platform, but it really isn’t the right solution for every project. There may be all kinds of reasons you’d look for an alternative to WordPress: ease-of-use, functionality, technical level, features, and more.
The right content management system really depends on what your end goal is. If you’re just getting started with a website, your needs can be a lot different than someone who’s looking to redesign their site who’s got a lot of experience working with web content platforms.
There are some really intriguing options here, so make sure to test out a couple different options as you make your plans for your web project.
Take a look at this list of 21 alternatives to WordPress. I’ve got options on there from everyone from the most newbie beginner to the seasoned pro.
How do I create content for my new website?
It never fails. The blank stares. The awkward silence. The head-scratching and thinking-face expressions as the client ponders how to answer questions about messaging, copy, and content.
Because you see, the number one, biggest thing I see clients struggle with on their web design & development project is getting their content created.
Because creating and crafting high-quality content is really freaking hard.
Most times they’re perfectly ok with following creative direction and matching what they want to a designer’s recommendations.
The look and feel of the site is a lot easier to communicate.
They almost always know what the basic features they want, the colors they want, and the example sites that inspire them.
But when it comes to content and how to communicate the message on their new website it’s like coming to a complete and sudden stop, like they crashed into a wall.
Because the content on the page is what makes the magic happen.
Take a look at this resource on creating content for your website.
How do I design my website?
Doing it yourself can be the least expensive way to get started with your website. But it can also cost you a lot of time.
If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and dive deep into the details, you can get it done for whatever your hosting and domain cost you plus the sweat equity you invest in doing it.
Finding a great theme that’s plug-and-play can make the DIY route an easy choice for a lot of people.
Going the DIY route is a great option if you’ve got plenty of time and you have a passion for learning and coding. Due to the time requirements, this may not move as quickly as other options.
But for those who are comfortable working with technology and who know how all the various pieces fit together, this is a great and inexpensive solution.
If you’re just getting started with your website a really cost-effective way to do it is to use a service, like my service, WPLaunch, and have it done for you.
The best thing about a service like this is that it’s designed to be extremely effective and get the site up and running fast, and have everything it needs ready to go.
These kinds of services include the design element by providing a theme of your choosing from their selection, the technical element by getting you going with all the features and functions you need in a starter website, and your hosting as well.
They’re a great one-stop-shop for getting started with a website fast.
The perfect candidate for this approach are those who are new to the web and don’t have the expertise or patience to do it themselves, but really want the job done right. Those who have the technical chops, but would rather focus their energy elsewhere are also the perfect fit for this kind of service.
How do I get traffic to my website?
I’m not a marketing guru. Far from it, and I don’t claim to be.
But I am someone who’s always learning, experimenting and testing things out to see how I can put them to work for myself and my clients.
Because marketing is something a lot of people struggle with. Including me.
The stories are everywhere about how someone has become a raving success and their site is making tons of money for them online.
What you don’t hear about is all the hours of work put in to create that success. All the hours put into writing their email sequences. All the hours put in building their landing pages and lead magnets.
Because it’s not really as glamorous, amirite?
So, it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement of seeing what others are doing and miss the basics.
That’s why I’ve put this list together.
Because I’ve learned a few things, especially when it comes to setting your website up to make it into a marketing hub.
The things I’m talking about are the baseline features and tools that you need to have in place to put yourself in a position to be successful.
Check it out: Marketing Your Website: 14 Tips For Making Your Website Irresistible
How does my website help my business?
You took the time and money to build a big website, but then you wonder if it’s doing any good for your business.
Maybe you had that feeling that should do something, or you read an article on a marketing site that said you need to start doing [insert fancy new marketing tactic here] and you need to get some help from your web team to get it going.
But other than that, you didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. It was supposed to “just work.”
You probably haven’t spent a lot of time trying to do much with it. The person who’s in charge of doing updates is your assistant or an intern, and every time you think about your website, you’re reminded of the money you invested and wonder if it’s actually doing anything for your business at all.
Your website can’t be an afterthought.
There are few greater wastes of resources than to take all the time and money you spent on building a fantastic website then not being able to measure a return on investment and not knowing if it’s helping your customers or if it’s helping your business grow.
Here’s the question:
What do you do with your site after it’s been launched?
You can’t just crank out a website, throw it out into the virtual world, and think that it’s going to do anything for you just by sitting there.
Here’s the bottom line:
Everyone has a website these days, so you need to make yours delivers results and stands out from the crowd and delivers results.
It can’t be something delegated to a random staff member who’s the “techie” person or neglected like that treadmill you bought so you could exercise in the comfort of your own home. Your site must act as a pillar of your marketing strategy and support your overall business goals.
Here are five ways to maximize your website’s power to drive your business.
Got a question? Drop it into the comments below.