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Guest post by Kat Fraser, Owner of Fraser & Co Design

Whether you’re just starting out or planning a redesign on a budget, this WordPress guide walks you through how to DIY your WordPress website — and still have it look amazing!

Website Hosting & Domain Purchase

The first step to building that dream website of yours, is finding a reliable host to do that with. This is a company that uses their servers to run your website. There are tons of options available, some I have learned to avoid, others that I shout about from the rooftop. My go to hosting company is SiteGround and below I have put together a list of pros and cons of SiteGround. (affiliate link)

Pros

  1. SiteGround supports WordPress making it even easier to develop your ideal business/blogging platform.
  2. Worried about the price? With plans from £2.75/$3.95 per month, you can’t really go wrong!
  3. Their support area is next to none. What is worse than your website appearing with and error, struggling to transfer or it suddenly slowing down to snails pace? Nothing. Should you encounter a problem, their support team are on hand 24/7 to get your site back on track. This is a huge positive in the web world!
  4. They have numerous positive reviews. As I mentioned earlier, I thoroughly did my research and came to the conclusion that SiteGround is by far one of the most popular hosting companies, which speaks for itself really.
  5. Speed and site performance are two huge pros for SiteGround and a real selling point giving people the confidence that they will have a reliable and user friendly website.
  6. In need of some extra cash and can confidently say SiteGround are fabulous for website hosting? Then check out their affiliate plan.

Con

Storage, although this was clutching at straws. Each plan comes with different storage amounts. At current, I don’t have the need for anything above the very basic plan (bonus) but, other hosting companies do provide a little more in their basic plan. However, this is easily solved with an upgrade.

Have I sold it them to you yet? Here’s my SiteGround affiliate link if you fancy doing a friend, a favour!

Once you set up your website hosting, it is time to choose your domain. Most plans come with a free domain, some companies charge, SiteGround doesn’t! You can choose to buy a new domain, or sign up with an existing domain.

This completes the set-up of your website and hosting. The hard part, figuring out what domain name to use!!!

Installing WordPress

Setting up WordPress on your website is the first stage to creating that all impressive portfolio that you’ve been waiting to show off!

With most hosting companies, you will use your cPanel to access the tech side of things. Here you can find numerous tools to help create your website, such as the ‘WordPress Installer’ which takes you to a page that gives an overview of the software. Choose to install and run the software on your website. Follow through the settings, these are relatively self explanatory.

There you have it, your WordPress website is now set-up.

Your hosting company may also have a quick set-up ‘wizard’. SiteGround does and this makes it even easier than I explained above. Follow the cues and within a matter of clicks you will be up and running!

The Design Phase

Now for the fun bit… let’s sell your services/products, visually represent your work as it deserves and WOW you audience with quality design!

First up, time to choose a theme. Once you have accessed WordPress and logged in through your website (yourwebsitedomain.com/wp-login.php) you will see a toolbar on the left. If you hover over ‘Appearance’ you will find ‘Themes’. Here, you can search for themes and even install a purchased or downloaded one from another source.

When looking for a theme, my biggest tip is to find something highly customizable. All themes have a custom CSS area, but if you don’t know much about coding, this isn’t much use. For that reason, finding a theme with lots of preset options is really important. I am a real fan of ThemeGrill themes, they are free and have an excellent support area, also providing custom CSS if you need it.

Once you have chosen your theme, head over to the customizer (Appearance – >Customize) and you will find all of the preset options to tailor your theme to best suit your business and your audience. Here, you can upload a logo, favicon (that small icon in the tabs section on your screen), header, background image and so much more!

Content Upload and Page Layout

You have set-up your theme and now you need to add the content. Check out the ‘pages’ area on your main toolbar and choose to ‘add a page’. Name it and click ‘publish’. At this point, we need to create the content to fill up those pages to attract your future brides and grooms. To do this, I recommend using one of two programs. I have used both, so below I will summarize each of them.

Page Builder – is a plug-in that is based on a drag and drop, page building system. It’s mobile friendly features make it ideal for optimizing SEO as well as keeping your website user friendly on all devices. This is a back-end editor, making it slightly more complicated to use, but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it.

Visual Composer – does much much of what is mentioned above. It is a little less mobile friendly, BUT if tech isn’t your strong point this may be more up your alley. It is drag and drop focused, from your audience’s perspective and gets rid of the need for any of the complicated back-end stuff! You build as though you are viewing your website, making this plug-in super simple to use.

Neither of these rely on having any HTML coding knowledge and if you don’t feel either are a good fit, there are plenty more that you can play around with!

Using Plug-ins to DIY Your WordPress Website

Plug-ins are a really useful tool on WordPress that essentially allow you to do anything with your website. I am confident in saying that there’s a plug-in for almost anything you may need to do with your website. That being said, how do you use these plug-ins?

From your admin area, find the ‘Plug-in’ tab on your toolbar and select ‘Add-new’. You will then be taken to a directory where you can search for plug-ins to install. Once you have found what you are looking for, activate your plug-in. They all have their individual set-up styles. My advice, when choosing your plug-in, check out the ‘install’ tab to follow the creators instructions. This will save you time searching through your toolbars to figure it out for yourself.

Below, is my list of go-to plug-ins to ensure you build a user friendly website!

  1. Jetpack (free) – This covers your sites security, performance, image optimization, tracks your traffic and a load more cool stuff.
  2. Akismet (free) – This is a default plug-in that comes with WordPress. It is an anti-span plug-in which checks all comments and filters the spammy ones out.
  3. Yoast SEO (free) – A powerful tool to increase and understand your website SEO (search engine optimization).
  4. Page Builder (free) – A visual, drag and drop page builder.
  5. Everest Forms (free) – A visual drag and drop contact form builder that integrates with your email.

To summarize, WordPress is a platform with endless possibilities. This makes it an extremely popular and user friendly tool to create that eye-catching website that you can be proud to show off to your potential customers.

Are you looking for more help DIYing your wedding business website? With a quick Google, you can find lots of online resources and blog posts covering more specific topics when you need them. Check out my WordPress tutorial for more tips!

Get access to the FREE design resource library for wedding business owners. Here you’ll find all the design ideas, inspiration and hand-holding you need to DIY your design AND have it look great. We have all been there, starting a business on a shoestring, and now I want to help. CLICK HERE!

Kat Fraser, Owner of Fraser & Co Design, is a professional graphic designer specialising in brand and website design for wedding businesses. She focuses on getting straight to the heart of your brand-because that’s what sells it. Pinpointing your brand identity, guided by what you believe in and makes you unique, who you want your brand to speak to and what you ultimately want to achieve. She uses this in-depth information to create the visual identity to make your brand strike a chord with couples and stand out.

You can learn more about her at:

www.fraserandcodesign.co.uk       |       Instagram       |       Pinterest

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that I have experienced all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

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