Having an online presence can be a good thing. Although social media is where most of the action is taking place these days, owning your website is vital and can only increase your authority.
Before rushing to create a website, it is sensible to give things some thought. Backtracking, changes of mind and correction of mistakes can only cost time, effort, and money, therefore should be avoided as much as possible. Here are three simple steps you should follow before you start your website.
Step 1: Decide what kind of website you are looking for
WordPress has started as a blogging platform but with time grew to be a platform for multi-purpose websites! The fact that WordPress powers almost one fifth of the top 10 million sites is not just a coincidence. With the right themes and plugins, your website can be turned into a very powerful and feature-rich website.
Therefore, as step one, you must decide what your website’s main role will be. Is it a simple blogging site? If your WordPress website brought you some income it would surely be nice. Does this prospect interest you enough to pursue such an aim?
Is your website going to be an eCommerce hub from the start? If yes, what level of complexity are you looking for? Are you going to sell products, services or both? Is your website just a promotional vehicle because you do business via another route? Are you searching for a tool that will completely automate a part of work, like for example organize events or product reviews?
The questions are many and it is impossible to know every single detail from the start. Luckily, WordPress holds many surprises because with the right addons it is possible to transform a website completely. However, having a clear initial idea is precious for the early stages of development.
Step 2: Decide on your theme
The initial WordPress installation comes with a limited number of bland and unexciting themes. They are fine for a standard blogging platform, especially with the option of upgrading to something more inspiring at a later stage. We can guarantee that the moment to start looking for a high quality theme will come sooner rather than later. There are simply too many beautiful and functional websites out there to get inspiration and ideas from. Here are some thoughts:
- If you are a blogger, definitely go for functionality, ease of browsing, and prominence of posts. Bring out the best of your writing with themes that do not bury your content under too many bells and whistles. Keep things simple for the start and retain your future options open for better search, easier commenting and easy integration of multiple contributors at a later stage.
- If you are a photographer, visual designer, or another type of creative, think about how your theme will impress visitors from the first moment they see it. There is no point in creating great photos if they cannot be seen in a large enough size or good enough quality. Similarly for videography – if the videos cannot be accessed easily and viewed at high resolution – your work will not appear as good as it really is.
- If you are looking to create an online sales website it is vital to use a theme that adds such a functionality to the basic WordPress installation. Considering the eCommerce plugins with which a theme operates and what products/services it is designed for is also very important.
Step 3: Decide on what kinds plugins you will require
Your decisions from Step 2 will in many ways determine the aesthetics of your website and imply what you are looking for in terms of functionality. Many themes have their own integrated engines and plugins so you have to do less search for additional plugins.
Most photography themes, for example, include a gallery post/page type so you can start adding photos and pictures right after you install the theme. Ecommerce themes, on the other hand, are commonly compatible with more than one eCommerce plugin. You will have to choose one of the few good eCommerce plugins, according to what your requirements are.
There are so many different plugins for WordPress that it is only possible to cover them by category. The “WordPress world” is so vast and interesting, but at the same time very intimidating for the first time user. There are plenty of reviews and “best of” articles to guide you through the first steps.
You can also look at online demos and look out for user comments. Do not get search for plugins, themes, or even help and support only on the WordPress website, but dig a little deeper in webmaster forums, or webmaster communities for information.
If you have no idea where to start from, do not have the time to get personally involved, or you do not want to go through a long learning curve, it is always a good idea to seek professional help and guidance. If you are having trouble setting up your website, or you just have a hard time on deciding for some of these factors by yourself, you could send us an email and we would gladly help you!