WordPress as a DIY website solution
If you’re wanting more than just a website that hangs about in cyberspace and success with online marketing is on your agenda, then building a website and blog on WordPress is my recommendation. Using WordPress as a DIY website solution can definitely help to give you that all important competitive advantage.
5 reasons to consider a WordPress solution
- Easy to manage the content yourself. If you can use Word you can use WordPress and can update text and images using the built-in CMS (content management system) – avoiding ongoing developer or agency costs. There’s also hundred of themes and layouts to choose from – no extra costs for a web design is required
- WordPress will work just fine on mobile devices – something that’s causing quite a lot of headaches for website owners at the moment after the new Google algorithm rolled-out, penalizing sites that aren’t mobile friendly. You can chick out whether your site is mobile friendly using this , Google mobile friendly test tool. If you have a WordPress site then this aspect is not likely to be an issue at all, just so long as you make sure the theme you’re using is either mobile-friendly or what’s called “Responsive”, meaning it changes layout according to the device being used (laptop/tablet/mobile).
- Harness the power of WordPress, provided by Plugins that provide functionality, without the need to employ a coder. You can set up a booking system, e-commerce shop, live-chat or a product gallery, to name but a few possibilities.
- Your website can grow with your business requirements. You can start small, with just a few pages and scale-up to over 1000 pages, if you need to.
- WordPress has been around a long time and is not going away anytime soon – 75 million sites and counting, it’s arguably about the most future-proof CMS system available.
Cheap way to get a WordPress website
The cheapest option is to buy a domain name via a web hosting provider, then press a button for what’s called a ‘one-click install’, meaning you just click a button and you’ll have a WordPress website and blog in under a minute!
However, let me warn you, this is not a good idea as the ‘default’ set up that happens with 1-click installations means that there will be a number of security weaknesses, such as generic database username and database prefix which provide no level of protection from would-be hackers. It’s a much better idea to install WordPress manually, so you can customise database and installation access codes in line with security recommendations for WordPress, as documented on their website.
Using a Developer to set up WordPress for you
If the whole idea of setting up your WordPress site scares you half to death, which is not unusual if you’re not technically minded, you could hand the project over to a Developer who will install WordPress for you.
However, proceed with caution. How will you know they’re not just setting you up with a one-click install that you’re just paying through the nose for? Be warned, there’s many so-called WordPress Developers out there who do just that, one-click install then take the money and run, with the client being non the wiser.
I’ve had plenty of people coming to my door who’ve been taken advantage of in this way, seeking help after being ‘taken’ for around £300 – £500 with little more than a default WP install, a pretty theme install and pretty confused as to how they ‘drive’ their shiny new vehicle. WordPress is not difficult to run, but like most things that are new, most people need guidance and their confidence building to start with.
Finding the right person to set up your WordPress site for you
I’d recommend not only finding someone who talks ‘plain English’ and is honest about the complexity of using WordPress for most, but also talks to you about the need for ‘suitable hosting’.
Please don’t just be bamboozled by explanations about the fantastic online benefits of using WordPress (which are there, but you need to master the basics first). Gaining an understanding of the risks involved with running a database driven website, will help ensure you are not only well-informed before you start, but realistic as to the level of support you’ll require and suitable hosting costs involved (this is particularly important if you’re wanting to run eCommerce Plugins).
Find someone who paints both sides of the picture and gives you honest answers and isn’t just trying to ‘sell’ you a solution. Do ask about support and how much they think you’ll need. If the answer is “oh, 2 or 3 hours will get you up and running a treat” – Run!
Suitable hosting for a WordPress installation
Shared hosting is the most popular option, cheap to set up with often many hundreds or thousands of other sites hosted in the same place. This can cause issues when there is a lot of web traffic visiting either your site or others on the server – basically, it slows things down. This can affect your page loading times and lose you potential viewers who just move on, to other faster loading web pages elsewhere (don’t we all do that?)
VPS (virtual private server) is a more expensive option, but should be considered as quality oil in your car, ensuring everything runs smoothly to optimum performance levels. Not only is there likely to be more oomph in the engine, ensuring your web pages are fast loading, but the improvement will be noted by Google who will be more likely to deliver your web pages in Search, than others with slower loading time.
Dedicated server hosting is not an option for many businesses because the costs are just too high. However, it’s worth pointing out that if a developer suggests this as an option, as they have their own dedicated server, then you should check out just where the server is located. What you want to avoid at all costs is having your website hosted on a server that isn’t located in a secure hosting environment, but rather in a cupboard, or under the desk, in their office.
WordPress set up with training and support as required
This is the method I use with clients these days, because it facilitates them not only learning ‘as we go’, but provides the training that they need to really understand how to drive the CMS.
You can find out about the WordPress services I provide. There’s also some links below to blog posts I’ve written on various aspects of working with WordPress.
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