Many people want to have a web site created but just don’t know where to start. Well, this handy guide will explain how you can outsource the creation of your web site and have it ready by tomorrow for very little money. As long as you do the prep work ahead of time, the “builder” will have very little to do and can whip through it like a Jedi Master. I’ll even show you where to find that master.
Now, this does all depend on the type of web site that you want to build. If you are looking for a blog, keep reading. Also, just about any business web site can be created following along in this guide. It doesn’t matter if you are just looking for an online presence for your local shop, or if you plan to sell digital or physical goods online, this approach can work for you.
In it, I will be discussing the use of WordPress as, not just a Content Management System, but as the backend for your business web site.
The WordPress Website Building Checklist
When someone is building your site for you using WordPress, here is a list of the questions that they will have for you. Have them ready up front and you shave the time of delivery significantly. Your web site builder will have this done in way less than 24 hours having all of these questions answered.
- What’s the domain name you want to use? (websitename.com)
- Where will you be hosting? What’s the hosting admin/ftp password?
- What theme do you want to use?
- Where is your logo?
- What is the site going to be called? What’s your tagline?
- What email address should I use when setting up the site?
- What plugins do you want me to install?
OK, you might be looking at this list feeling a little overwhelmed, but let’s go through it one at a time. I’ll skip the ones that I am confident that you won’t need help with.
1. Buying a Domain Name
There are lots of companies on the web that sell domain names. They are not all created equal. I haven’t worked with them all of course but I highly recommend NameCheap. Visit NameCheap.com, setup an account and register the domain that you want for your site. Not necessarily in that order. Give NameCheap a call if you get stuck but don’t let them talk you into buying web hosting with them 🙂 Well, you can if you want, but I have a better idea.
Now, to answer the question… “What’s the domain name you want to use?” provide the domain name you just bought, and your credentials (username and password) for NameCheap. Change the password after he’s complete.
2. Setting up Server Space (Web Hosting)
OK, now you have your domain name hosting setup. Now you need to rent space on a server for your web site files. Setup a shared hosting account at Pair.com or at one of the many other hosting providers around. Again, if you get stuck, call Pair and they will help you out. They might ask you to buy a domain name… tell them you are covered 🙂
Again, make note of the web host company (Pair or whatever company you chose to go with), and your username and password for your account to give to your web Jedi. Change your password after they are done.
3. Finding a Theme for your WordPress Site
Now this step might take awhile. Try not to let the time slip away. Give yourself a half hour maximum, or perhaps an hour at the most and set the clock to it. You can peruse a giant collection of themes to use. This will represent how your site will look and where the placement of most things are.
Most themes will let you change the colour scheme, give you a “live preview” before you buy, and modify the placement of many of the elements.
I only have two pieces of advice here.
- Buy from ThemeForest.net.
- Buy a theme that is defined as “responsive.” (this means it will look good on all size screens from phones to TVs)
Themeforest is a great marketplace with lots of options. You can do live previews of the themes. You can drill down by type. So, if you are planning to run a store, find a “commerce” theme. If it’s a flower shop, find a “flower commerce” theme.
And, I’m skipping ahead a bit here, but it’s a must… if you intend to run a store then find a WooCommerce ready theme. WooCommerce is probably the best plugin to help you sell stuff that’s available online right now, and it’s free. The tech support there isn’t the best sadly, at least not in my experience. It used to be, and hopefully will improve again.
Now, if you aren’t sure how to download your newly purchased theme, give the credentials to your Jedi, then change your password after. Also, remember the name of the theme that you purchased, or better yet, make note of the Live Preview URL. You will need it in the next step. Also… settle on a colour scheme. You should be able to preview them all ahead of time.
4. Getting a Logo Made for your Web Site
Alright, now that you have your theme, you need a logo. Your theme in most cases will dictate the colour scheme and size (dimensions) of your logo. Head to eLance.com, sign up and start a job looking for graphic designers for your logo. Be sure to state that you want the option for several concepts and revisions before making a final decision on the logo.
When creating the job, set your budget and provide a link to the live preview for your theme. In the ad specify that you need a logo that will replace the default logo in the theme. Also mention the colour scheme that you intend to use. Tell the site name and the nature of the business. Any designer worth his salt will know what to do from there.
Oh, and ask for the “native” version of the graphics file, as well as a version in PNG and JPG format. With the “native” version you will have the ability to hire someone else down the road to make changes if need be, and it will be an easier job for that person. In essence, it doesn’t marry you to this graphics person, he or she might not be around when it’s time for changes. That’s OK, lots of gifted people out there!
On eLance, there will be people bidding on the job. Look at their portfolio and if you like their price and their past work, award them the job. If you need a hand here, contact eLance support. Just ask them one question at a time and be as succinct as possible about what you are trying to accomplish.
5. Deciding on the Plugins to Use For Your Web Site
This by no means will be an exhaustive list of plugins to use for your site. And it certainly won’t be perfect in all cases, but pretty close.
OK, here is a list of plugins that I recommend you tell your Jedi to install:
- Something to make it easy to install Google Analytics code (if the theme doesn’t already handle this).
- A great SEO plugin. The one by Yoast is perfect. Add any additional SEO plugins by Yoast that are needed. Examples include News SEO, Local SEO, Video SEO, etc. (there may be a cost for these) Note: This largely depends on the type of site that you are running.
- JetPack for Dashboard stats.
- WooCommerce if running a shop or online store.
That should be it to get you started. Find a great WordPress consultant after a few months of playing around to decide where to take it next. Discuss any issues that you have been facing, and ideas for the direction you would like to take your site in.
Where to Outsource the Work for Building a Site
Just like getting someone to create a logo, I recommend eLance for finding someone to build your blog. There is a giant pool of talent there and the pool just turned into a lake actually with the merger of another company.
Make one thing clear to the person you hire. Tell them you don’t want him/her to edit the code of your theme at all. Some old school WP’ers like to tinker 🙂 but it’s not advantageous for the people running the site.
Also, you may want to get them to create a Gmail email address if you don’t already have one. Having one opens the doors to a lot more things that you will want later down the road as you learn more and gain some experience.
Now, be sure to change all your passwords when complete including the WordPress admin password that was created on your behalf.