I'm not the hugest WordPress fan. Why? It all stems from my confusion over the differences between Wordpress.com and WordPress.org. I'm still not sure and frankly I don't have time to investigate. However I have recently launched a new site (details to come) using WordPress. I found the easiest solution ever so I wanted to write just a quick shoutout to the people who made it happen for me.
I spent ages last year trying to get WordPress going and even bought domain names and themes. The learning curve was steep so I ended up abandoning it all in favour of Squarespace. This website is hosted, beautifully and easily on Squarespace. I love its simplicity in the "back-end" if that's even the right term - a web developer I am not - I mean it's really easy to set up and get running without complicated coding. I find it every intuitive.
Where Squarespace lets me down, right at this moment, is its lack of an "e-commerce" solution - in other words a shop - for sellers based outside of the USA. I'm in Japan and the payment gateway Stripe isn't supported yet. Boo hoo!
Because I want to sell my wonderful marketing courses and my time as a marketing consultant I need a way of collecting payments safely and securely. It's a very complex undertaking but I think I have an excellent system in place, using WordPress, a theme from Themex, payment processing by WooCommerce / PayPal and hosting from GoDaddy.
So if you are thinking about getting your own website and you want to be able to control all of it yourself, or even get someone to help, then here's the foolproof system I am recommending based on my own experiences. Remember in the post below I said I was against DIYing things? Well I don't always take my own advice!
Setting up a brand new website for your business
Visit GoDaddy first, specifically this page. It says "You have better things to do than manage your hosting". You got that right!!! In less than ten minutes with one-click installation I had a new site and my own domain name all ready to customise. Fantastic! I already had a theme that I like for my site but there are several free ones you can choose to make it look how you want it to. I'm using WooCommerce to turn my site into a shop - in my case I'm not selling actual products but that's OK. You can sell downloads or anything you want with the free plugin.
I did already have a GoDaddy account so that saved some time. I don't think it's hard to do.
Here are the steps:
- Visit GoDaddy for really simple WordPress installation with hosting and a free domain name.
- Customise your new WordPress site with a theme you like. I bought mine from ThemeForest but there are really nice free ones. Give some thought to what you want to do with your site. I bought mine because I am setting up a school learning environment. The theme saves a lot of time as it's already a school environment right out of the box rather than tons of blank pages.
- If you want to sell stuff, anything, then search within your WordPress dashboard for a plugin called WooCommerce or download it from here and upload it to your site.
Let me know if you need any other help. I can point you in the direction of some excellent resources.
Thank you GoDaddy for sorting out that nightmare. If only I had found it sooner I'd have saved hundreds of dollars.
Glossary - as far as I understand things:
hosting - the thing that gets your site online - blogs are usually hosted free by Blogger or similar but if you want to have more control over your site then self-hosting might be needed. Look this up first!! Do you really need it?
domain name - the name of your site. Mine here is jacquimiyabayashi.squarespace.com which is cumbersome. I bought the domain jacquimiyabayashi.com (equally long I know!)
theme - how your site will look depends on the theme, the colours, pictures, words are controlled by the theme. Most are customisable to a certain extent but you want something that has a look that represents your idea ie. cutesy, professional, etc.
plugins - these are little bits of code that tell your site what to do under different circumstances. For example if I wanted a pop-up window to come up and ask for your email address for my newsletter I could get a plugin that controls that function. There are millions of plugins for WordPress which makes it highly customisable. That might be right up your alley! Here at Squarespace it's done differently and I prefer the simplicity. Each to their own right?