Ever since I wrote the post last week about the Belfry Theatre’s website, I’ve been getting lots of questions from folks about building their website in WordPress.
Creating a website in WordPress is a great idea, for a couple of reasons:
- It’s essentially free
- The interface is easy to learn
- It allows you to integrate your blog and your website in the same page, and will help to drive up your Google Ranking
When creating your website in WordPress, you have two options, the same as if you were starting a blog:
- WordPress Hosted
Today’s post is focused on how to start a WordPress-hosted blog or website. I will cover how to start a self-hosted site in a later post.
To start a WordPress hosted blog, simply go to http://www.wordpress.com. You will first have to sign up for an account. Then, you can choose the name of your page. If you are using this for your website, ideally, you’d want to use the name of your business.
Your new URL will be http://yourname.wordpress.com. If you want to lose the ‘WordPress’, you have two options:
- Buy your domain name (maybe you already have) and create a redirect (your internet hosting service can help you with this)
- In your WP dashboard, click on ‘Settings’ and then ‘Domains’. For $15, WP will allow you to drop the ‘WordPress’ and map your domain, assuming it’s not already taken.
Now you can begin to build your site.
- Decide what you’d like your site to look like. In your dashboard, click on ‘Appearance’ then ‘Themes’. You can browse through all the different themes and find one that suits your fancy. You may want to look for a theme with a customizable header, so that you can integrate your logo and branding in there. Also, think about whether you want one or two sidebars. You can use your sidebar for your contact information, or to import your Twitter feed. At this moment, there are 85 themes to choose from.
- Start to set up your ‘pages’. You probably currently have a website, or, if you don’t, think about what pages you’d like to have on your site. For example, you’ll want an ‘About’ page, a page devoted to your work, a contact page, and, of course, your blog. For each page you want to have on your blog, go to the ‘Pages’ menu and create a new one. You can populate it with content and copy, adding photos/video, etc. Your front page, the page that people see when they type your URL into thier browser, will be your blog.
- Choose your widgets: one of the great advantages of having a WordPress page is the vast amount of widgets that are available to you. For example, you can use the Flickr widget to import your Flickr stream directly into the sidebar of your blog. To use widgets, go to the ‘Appearance’ menu on your dashboard, and click on ‘Widgets’. Choose which ones you want, and drag them into the sidebar.
I think starting a WordPress-hosted website or blog is a great option for someone who is just getting started. There are limitations, however, because you do have to work within the WordPress system. If you are just learning how to use WordPress, it might be a good option for you. Once you are more familiar with the interface, you might want to take the leap to a self-hosted WordPress site, which allows you much more freedom and creativity.
And is the topic of a future post…
Click for Part 2
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