Help! I want to create a website, but don’t know where to start.
How visible are you online? In a society where people spend a lot of time on the Internet, it’s very important that businesses and other organizations are easily found on the Internet and are clear on what they provide. There are many ways of achieving this and one of the most obvious is the publishing of a website. This is why many entrepreneurs and businesses, put the publication of a website at the top of their list of priorities.
I am going to help you create a website
Do you want an appealing website for your business? But do you dread making the necessary investment? No worries. In my blog series, called ‘Create your own WordPress website in 7 steps’, I’m going to explain to you in 7 episodes how to create a professional website easily and relatively cheaply with WordPress. In this first episode, I’m going to take a look at the basics with you and provide with answers to some important questions:
- Where do I start and what do I need to think about?
- What is WordPress?
- What are its advantages?
- Why would you choose to create your website using WordPress?
- What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
OK, let me begin at the beginning. What do you need to consider when creating your own website? First of all, you need to have a clear vision of what you want. In other words: What is the website going to be used for? You see, it makes a big difference whether the website is purely for informational purposes or for reaching out to customers. Depending on its purpose and functions, you can use a website to inform, blog, show a portfolio of for example photos, and even make money by turning it into a webshop. So, its purpose determines the design and what type of website you need. That’s why it’s very important to decide on your goal before getting to work. If this isn’t clear yet and you decide to start anyway, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money.
What is WordPress?
Do you know what you want to achieve with the website? Well, then you’re ready for the next step: choosing a website builder. This is the content management system (CMS) that you use to create the website with. For me as a web designer, it was an easy choice to make: WordPress. Many websites later, I have used WordPress without any regrets. “What is WordPress?” I hear you ask. WordPress is open source software for creating websites, webshops and blogs with. Open source means that everyone has access without having to pay for it.
Why I’m so enthusiastic about WordPress? That’s an easy question to answer. WordPress is very user-friendly. Both for web designers and for website visitors. Also, WordPress websites are easily accessible by search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. So, they’re web designer, visitor and search engine friendly. Now I’m going to take a closer look at the advantages for people who want to make a website by themselves. People like you.
What are the advantages of WordPress?
What I really love is the freedom it gives me. It’s definitely very easy to work with and you need very little know-how to create a simple website. None of the other website builders I’ve worked with, have such a user-friendly backend as WordPress’s. This is where you work on the website. WordPress’s dashboard is very simple and easy to work with, and has a clear and well-arranged menu where you can quickly find anything you need.
Because of this, you can easily use it to make a website that suits your needs. From a simple basic website to a tailor-made website or even a large webshop. With good reason WordPress is used all over the world, not only by beginners but by very experienced web designers as well, for example for large businesses. Judging by the frontend – this is the website that visitors see – anyone unfamiliar with web design won’t be able to tell if a website has been built using WordPress.
Ease of use because of themes
This CMS is so easy to use because it uses themes. A theme is a template that you can base the design of the website on. You don’t have to start from scratch or think in standard frameworks, because there’s always a theme to suit you. And what I really like about it, is that you can adapt the theme to what you want to achieve with the website. For example, if you’re creating a website for a temping agency, you can choose one of the themes specially designed for temping agencies, without having to design your own framework. Of course, you can always choose a different theme that appeals to you and adapt it to your own requirements. Another advantage of themes is that the well-organized structure adds to user-friendliness for website visitors and provides a sitemap that is easy for search engines to read.
Expand the website with plug-ins
Besides themes, you can also choose from a huge number of so-called plug-ins with which you can expand your website. A plug-in is code that has been written by experienced software developers and is provided as a ready-to-use tool. So, you don’t have to develop anything yourself and can use it as an extension of the software to create more possibilities. For instance, you can use a plug-in if you want to create a multilingual website, if you want an events calendar on your website or if you want to improve the search engine optimization (SEO).
Another big advantage of WordPress is that the open source software is constantly being maintained and improved. Because of the many updates, you’ll always be able to use the most recent version and can rest assured that the software will continue to function properly. And also, WordPress is universal and can be used by anybody. So, if you don’t succeed in creating your website or if you need advanced adaptations or extensions, you can always pay a professional web designer to do this for you. They can continue from where you left off without having to use a different website builder.
The same applies when switching to another web host. Because WordPress is so universal, you can simply transfer your domain name and the website linked to it with all of its data files and the website will stay exactly as it is. And another advantage is that WordPress websites are fully responsive. This means that the website is scaled for optimal viewing on any device (smartphone, laptop, desktop computer).
WordPress advantages overview
- Easy to use
- Themes provide the basis
- Visitor friendly
- Search engine friendly
- Extensions made possible by plug-ins
- Constant maintenance and improvement
- Easy to outsource web design
- One-on-one transfer of domain name and website
- Fully responsive
The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
If you’ve come this far, I’m assuming you’re seriously thinking of creating your website with WordPress. If so, you still have to decide whether you want to use WordPress.com or WordPress.org. What’s the difference? At WordPress.com you can take out a subscription including domain name, web hosting and support. WordPress also manages the website. This makes things easy. However the number of themes and plug-ins is limited. You can also get a free version at WordPress.com without web hosting etc., but then your domain will become a subdomain with ‘wordpress.com’ in your domain name.
If you choose WordPress.org instead, you will have to take care of everything yourself. On the other hand, this option is free of charge, suitable for any theme or plug-in (including those of other developers), has no domain name restrictions and has more options for the transfer of data files. And you have absolute freedom of choice. That’s why I chose WordPress.org.
Now you can take your first steps
With all of this information, you have the answers to the most important questions you should ask before you start. Now you can take your first steps in creating a professional website that meets your needs and improves your online visibility. These steps are:
- Determine the purpose of the website
- Determine which functions the website needs
- Choose the website software
- Choose between WordPress.com and WordPress.org