WordPress has become the most widely used content management systems (CMS) on the web, partly because it is easy and quick to install, partly because there is a massive community behind the platform, all creating and sharing their plug-ins and enhancements, and partly because it is free. When you’re ready to build your e-commerce site, WordPress is often going to be your best bet for CMS. If you’ve never built a website before, here is a step-by-step guide to help you get the most out of your new WordPress site.
Step 1: Choose Your Domain
You could host your website on the WordPress site, but that means that your website name will have “wordpress” in it—for example, the address for “mywebsite” would be mywebsite.wordpress.com. To make it easier to remember, it’s best if you purchase a domain and register it through a reputable domain registrar, such as GoDaddy.com, Name.com, 1&1.com, or Namecheap.com. That way you can create a name that is easy to remember so customers can find you. When creating your domain name, be sure to:
* Choose a name that is short and easy to remember
* Be sure the name is directly related to your business
* Avoid using hyphens or numbers unless it is an integral part of your business name
When you register your website address, you may want to consider registering alternate addresses at the same time that are close to your original address. For example, if you register mywebsite.com, you may also consider mywebsite.net, mywebsite.info, and mywebsite.biz. If you are a nonprofit and you register mywebsite.org, consider also purchasing mywebsite.com and the other alternates listed above. That way customers can find you no matter what they type in as the URL.
Step 2: Set Up Your Website Hosting
If you don’t already have a web host, you will need one. Your web hosting service provides you with space on a server that enables people to access your website through the Internet. The scope of web hosting services that you need depends on what type of website you have. If you have a simple website with a single page, basic web hosting will be adequate. However, if you intend to operate a significant e-commerce site (link removed: http://i58.tinypic.com/21cig01.jpg), or you want your website to support applications and development platforms like PHP, Java, ColdFusion, or others, you will need a more comprehensive web hosting service. Remember that the web hosting service is what connects you to the world, so make sure it’s sufficient to support your site.
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Step 3: Choose Your WordPress Theme
Currently there are over 1,700 WordPress themes to choose from. Themes do not change the content on your site, they only change the way it is displayed. WordPress
themes offer a wide variety of options for pages, photos, and stories, and how content, navigations, and menus appear on the screen. You can search WordPress themes by color, navigation style, number of columns, most popular, most recently added, and more. As you search, consider what content you want to display—for example, whether you have a website that is more text-oriented (like a news site), or more visually oriented (like a photo blog). With so many thousands to choose from, often the hardest part is deciding which one you like most.
Step 4: Customize Your Theme
Once you decide on a theme, it’s time to customize it for your business. Start with a great landing page, then build out additional pages as needed. As you create the site, keep your users in mind the whole time. Think about how people will surf your site, what information they will want from the site, and how they will browse through each page. Make sure your menu structure is easy to use, intuitive, and not too long, so people can quickly find what they need without getting frustrated and leaving the site. Also ensure your most important content is easy to find at the top of the page(s).
Step 5: Add Content
Once your theme is ready to go, it’s time to add content. In WordPress you can add content as blog posts, or you can add content as pages. If you add pages, they are static and will remain in the same place at all times. Blog posts are more fluid, moving down the line as you add more content. If there is information you want to be more permanent on your site, add it to a page instead of as a post.
Step 6: Consider Hiring a Web Developer
One of the great benefits of WordPress is that anyone can use it—you don’t need to be an expert at HTML, and you don’t need to have a degree in computer science. However, if you do not know HTML at all, you are at the mercy of the WordPress site and may not be able to customize the content as much as you would like. If that happens, you may want to hire a web developer with experience in that area to help you customize your site even more.