This extensive tutorial discusses practical guidelines on how you can build a website for your business and also professionally looking sites for corporate organizations, companies and industries.
To start, make and build a business website, you need the following briefs;
- Start up capital or cost of approximately USD 145-250.
- Getting a professionally looking mobile responsive WordPress themes for designing.
- Registration of a domain name
- Getting a reliable and dependable webhosting server ( Bluehost is recommended)
- Installation of WordPress software and its configuration
- Bootstrapping to kick off; publishing pages, posts and updated news.
Please understand that the website in question is going to be mobile responsive, meaning it can be accessed and viewed anywhere without inconvenience on straining of the eyes (either on PC, laptop, mobile phones etc.)
Table of Contents
- What is your niche, be specific about it and have a clear purpose
- Using WordPress To get Professional Designs
- Following the path of your brand
- A domain name for your business website
- Website hosting for the domain name
- WordPress software installation, configuration and activation.
- Website design and configuration
- Page settings, Categories, menus and widgets settings / Setting up Contact form
- Setting up Email subscription forms/leads
- Setting up blog features – for blogging purposes
- Publishing contents / Updates
- Setting up your website on Google – Console and analytics for indexing and data gathering respectively.
Success Tips / Promotion
Turning Your Website to a success factor:
- Leveraging on social media : Facebook , twitter, Instagram, YouTube ( How to go about it is explained)
- How To Network and expose your website using blogging as a tool
Faq ( Frequently asked Questions)
what is your niche, be specific about it and have a clear purpose
If purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable!!
If you have a business already, then it is easy to set up everything and also to apply the right tools; however, if you do not have a business and wants to set up a website for it, then you need to be clear on what you want and the sort of plans you have put in place.
This guideline is for general purpose, however, specific guidelines has been published for the following business niches:
- How to set up a fashion website: you can read it here
- How to set up a photography website: Check it out
- How to set up a consultancy website: You can check it out here
- How to create and set up a medical website for doctor and nurses profession: Read it here
Or simply go to the website set up category to search for the type of niche you are looking for.
Once your niche is clear and known, it becomes easy to get the perfect website design to use; moreover as our focus is on the use of WordPress software in the design concept.
Another vital point of consideration is your purpose, you should have a clear purpose of setting up the business website.
- You should have short term and long term plan for the website- This involves the money you are willing to spend to take off and also a rough estimate of your ROI (return on investment).
- Have a mission statement and stick to it
- Are you building the site to make money directly on the site or send people to buy your physical goods, items and equipment; or even place order for your services?
All these details are important in the building concept and everything is well explained in this tutorial.
Using WordPress to get Professional Designs
WordPress is an open source software that powers approximately 31% of websites and blogs at the moment ( source ).
More than 90% of sites you see out there that looks gorgeous, professionally looking are all built using WordPress.
What I am recommending in this tutorial is the use of ready-made website templates called WordPress themes. The advantages are more compared to paying thousands of dollars to a web developer/programmer and besides using this themes, you have the opportunity of doing everything all by yourself.
WordPress themes, built specifically for business oriented websites and corporate organizations is the best deal, the only clause here is that:
- You will need to buy them from reputable companies and organizations; cost ranges from USD 45-120
- Some of these companies may require that you renew the license every year with as little as USD12; they do ask for this to cover costs of maintenance and upgrade. However, not all of them requires such.
Examples of business WordPress themes for your design concept are shown below:
You can get all these themes for as low as USD45-120 from the following reputable companies (I use them and they have proven to be dependable, professional and trusted). Depending on the type of website you want to build and create, just visit the company(s) below and search for your preferred template design.
Search for business or corporate themes and view the respective demos; once you see the particular one that will suits your type of website, do not hesitate to buy it.
After the purchase, you will download the ZIP file (this contains the WordPress design file) to your computer, PC or laptop. How you will install and adjust everything to your taste is explained as you read along.
Following the path of your brand
What is a brand? Branding is the identity associated with your business, its products and services. When talking about branding, just take a look at Facebook and Google, they are a perfect example of branding.
In other words, when creating a website for your business, it is important you call the website after your business, products and services.
For example, if your business is into ‘ Automobile Repairs’ and you name your physical address as ‘ Richy Automobile Services’; then it is important you also name your website after the name of the website ( e.g. richyauto.com or richyautomobiles.com etc.). This is the whole concept of branding and you should get along and flow with it!!
In addition, the same name should also be used in opening accounts on all social media you are going to use. For instance:
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/richyauto ( this is just an example)
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/richyauto (this is just an example)
Doing this for your business website across the length and breadth of the internet places your brand on a strong and high note of recognition.
A domain name for your business website
Using the example above i.e richyauto.com or richyautomobiles.com is an example of the definition of a domain name.
To have a presence on the internet for your business website, you will need to get and register for a domain name.
However, with the example I illustrated above, I believe you now understands what a domain name is. To get a domain name for your site, you will need to pencil down different names that comes to your mind, and check if it is not already in use on the internet.
You can do that using the domain name checker from Bluehost, see the form below:
However, I have a word of advice for you, after checking and you discover that the name you have in mind is available and never been used by anybody, I strongly recommend you get the name and register it immediately. Delay is dangerous!!
Website hosting for the domain name
When registering the domain name, you are advised to also host the name. A solid proof of your seriousness in having a website for your business starts with both registering for the domain name and also hosting the domain name.
Without web hosting, the domain name is inactive and it is totally useless; my honest recommendation is that you host the domain immediately and put it to work.
I am recommending the use of Bluehost Webhosting Company because they have proven to be reliable, dependable, security conscious and their services are economically friendly. I presently use them on this site you are reading, other blogs of mine and also for all my clients/customers.
Note: When you buy the hosting package from Bluehost, they automatically makes the domain name free (you will be able to save and pocket about USD15).
WordPress software installation, configuration and activation
Now, serious work is about to get started. If the purchase of the hosting is successful, Bluehost automatically guides you in the installation of WordPress software.
Basically, they will do everything in the background (of course, they will ask you If you want WordPress software, their logo is ‘W’, just click yes) and also the configuration.
In less than 10 minutes, your website is automatically ready and all that is needed from you to do is to sit down and manually put things in place i.e. settings and adjustment.
The images below will be of immense guidelines to you in the course of the installation processes.
However, with the above images and videos for your understanding; let me briefly explain one or two things here:
- If the installation process is successful, you will be brought to the dashboard ( it is called WordPress dashboard); this is from where you will be doing everything you want to do on your website.
- Please take note of your username and password (you will be asked to create a password); however, the username is your email ID.
- On the dashboard (since everything is new), you will need to start building and configuring your site; you will start by clicking on ‘start building’.
- Click on your choice of type of site you want e.g. business
- Click launch, give it a name, description and a perfect title.
- Click save.
Website design and configuration
We are gradually moving into the developmental stage; under the website design and configuration, four factors/actions will be taken and they are listed below:
- WordPress Theme Upload and settings
- FrontPage Editing and designing
- Permalinks Configuration
- WordPress Plugins and Installation
- Page Settings (Contact Page- Most important) i.e. About, Contact, Advertisement, About, Products etc.
- Menu Settings
- Widget settings
Now, allow me to explain each one and get ready to implement them one by one:
Step 7 (1)
WordPress theme Upload and settings- Changing your present/default design
We should not deviate from our core focus, which is creating and building a successful business website which will incorporate all factors you really need to run and manage it.
With this mindset, I earlier explained on the importance of getting ready-made templates called themes. Assuming you have done that, it is now time to upload them on your site and get them active because the default design you have at the moment is not the right one and cannot give you what you need.
To upload your themes/templates, follow the explanation below:
- From your dashboard, go to appearance, and check on themes, under it, click on ‘ Add new; or better still, you will see the ‘themes’ icon ‘ on the dashboard, click on it and then click on ‘Add new themes’
- Different themes will be displayed to you, ignore them, and click on the upload box; locate where you downloaded the ZIP file of the purchased templates and upload it.
- Within 30 seconds to 2 minutes, the theme will be uploaded, click on activate.
- If the upload time is exceeding 4 minutes, you may need to refresh the page and start over again ( sometimes the network or busy server may cause it)
- However, if the same problem occurs (exceeding more than 6 minutes); then the likely problem is that the ZIP file contains more than the actual WordPress file needed. In such a case, open the ZIP file where you downloaded it, Unzip it, and you will see the ‘WordPress file’.
- Go back to upload and locate the ‘WordPress file’; then upload them. This scenario is mostly common with business templates purchased from Themeforest.
- Click on Install, then later activate it.
- Go to your homepage i.e. www.nameofyourwebsite.com, refresh the page and the new design will show up.
Demo Upload and installation
But in some cases, you may want your website to look exactly like the demo. Well, that is also easy, just follow the guidelines below:
- After the successful installation / activation and the new design has reflected, go back to the UNZIP file (remember, I earlier told you to unzip it so that you will be able to see and locate the ‘WordPress files’.)
- In that same UNZIP file, look out for a file that has the .XML extension ; it may be demo.xml or any other name, however, it must have the .XML extension
- You are going to upload it, but not the way you did for the themes; but before you do that, you will need to install and activate the ‘importer plugin’ you can download and install the plugin first. After installing the plugin, the plugin will automatically ask you for what you want to do, just locate the demo file (i.e. the .XML file) and upload it.
However, on some themes, you may not follow this principle, the link and the guidelines will be shown to you on the dashboard directly.
Step 7 (2)
FrontPage Editing and designing
Whether you uploaded the demo or not (maybe just straightforward installation of the template), you will need to edit some details.
The first task before you is to study how the FrontPage looks like, write down some things you want to change or edit. Editing or changing of some elements/page/pictures from the FrontPage (Homepage) can be done through:
- The Frontpage edit link itself; This can be seen directly on the top of the page ( when you are signed in and you opened the FrontPage).
- The widgets: This contains all the tools you need. Details on this is discussed below
- Customizer: This can be accessed from the dashboard; go to appearance, under appearance, you will see settings and under settings, you will see ‘customizer’. This is a one stop point to edit and change everything you need. As you are editing it, the changes will be shown live by the right hand side of the screen (the screen will be split in two, one side for editing and the other side for preview of the changes).
- The Menu: The menu contains the navigation links; more on this is discussed below:
Check carefully the pictures at the homepage, and know the size of the picture you want to use to replace it.
Step 7 (3)
If you check the browser and see the URL of some websites; example is displayed below:
The examples above shows the perfect illustration on the meaning of a permalinks. To the search engines, it means the same thing, however, to get the best out of SEO and to rank higher, it is recommend to remove date based permalinks and make it name based.
However, if your business is a news website, entertainment etc of a sort, then the date based permalink is okay.
For your type of business website, I usually recommend a name based permalink settings; and to do that, follow the instructions below:
- From settings (seen by the left hand side of the dashboard), locate ‘permalinks’ click on it and you will be presented with the settings area.
- The default permalink settings is usually date based, simply change it to ‘name based ‘settings. Click save and exit the page.
The next settings;
Step 7 (4)
WordPress Plugins and Installation
WP (WordPress) plugins powers a WordPress enabled website; plugins gives multifunction tasks to a site and makes it possible for you to turn your site into anything you can imagine without writing a single line of code.
There are some basic plugins you must install, and they are listed below:
Depending on the type of business website you want to build and run, other recommended plugins with their task are listed below:
- Ecommerce /Woocommerce plugin – Generally if intend to run an eCommerce website to sell items.it contains shopping cart and checkout links.
- Easy Digital Download plugin): With this plugin, you can sell eCopies of books, music or any items and have it downloaded by customers. The beauty of it all is that you will get your money through PayPal, everything is automated. Just sit down and be sleeping.
- Contact Form plugin (if you want customers to contact you using contact form and you get their message on your email, I recommend you make use of the JetPack plugin, just get it activated).
- WP Live Chat Support : This is very essential and highly important if you are really serious about your online business. Visitors and customers can chat with you real time (the moment they send you chat message, you either receive it on your phone or laptop and you can also respond to them instantly; I recommend this plugin).
If you need any other function, check out www.wordpress.org, check under plugins and use the search box to look for that particular plugin ( using keyword e.g. plugin to collect money in bitcoins etc).
On how to install and activate plugins, just watch the video below:
Step 7 (5)
Page Settings (Contact Page- Most important)
Without a page, a site is incomplete. You will need to create pages for the following important tasks:
- About page
- Advertisement page
- Contact Page
- Disclosure Policy page
All the above pages are important and they are easily created. However, you have to remember this:
If you have uploaded the demo and using the demo from the template you bought, it means you will have pages already created. You will need to check the pages already published and check because some of them might be the ones for the task mentioned above.
In such a case, just go to the specific page and edit the demo contents to your own version. For example, if the ‘About page’ is already there and published, you will need to edit and change the content to yours.
To create and make a page is so easy, follow the steps below:
- From the dashboard, look towards the left hand side, you will see ‘Pages’, Move the mouse over it and you will see ‘ Add new pages’.
- Click on that and you will be brought to a new page
- Give it a title (e.g. Contact or Contact us) and publish it.
However, the contact page with the contact forms is a little bit different, but this is how you can create your own contact page.
- Make sure you have installed and activated the Jetpack Plugin
- Make sure you have published the contact page, just the way you have published other pages
- Make sure you have activated the Jetpack plugin (how to activate it will be shown to you, you will need to link your jetpack account to a free wordpress.com ONLY).
- After activation, you will be brought back to your WordPress dashboard
- By default, once you have activated and link your JetPack to a WordPress.com account, then the contact form icon is automatically available on all pages and posts.
- All you need is to simply click on the icon, fill up the form and publish it ( see image below)
- Once the editable contact page is opened, on top where there are sets of tools ( just like in Microsoft Word, check carefully, you will see the contacts icon from Jetpack, click on it and drag it to your contact box ( space to write and type).
- Once you drop it there, the next steps to do will be shown to you and you will be guided.
- The box form will appear and you are expected to fill it accordingly to how you want the box to appear.
- Once done successfully, click on save. Go back to your contact page and try to view the contact page on your browser; the contact form will appear.
If you are not getting this point and need help, kindly reach out to me.
Step 7 (6)
The Menu is one reason why most business websites are not getting sales and leads.
Their menu settings were not optimized to give them a high click through. The menu is an important navigation and important links to important pages and products should be the goal.
The following picture is a clear demonstration of the meaning of a menu:
Example of a good menu is seen in this website:
So before you set up your menu, make sure you have the right pages, posts and categories in place. To set up a menu, I have inserted this video tutorial for you.
If you need further help, do reach out to me as soon as possible, I will be glad to be of help.
Step 7 (7)
I earlier mentioned that you can set up your FrontPage from the widgets. This is possible depending on the type of WordPress themes (template) you bought.
The widget is the main engine room from where nearly all themes/templates have their functions/tools/drag and drop features.
From the widget, you can edit your FrontPage (the instructions are clearly written in simple A, B, C language).
The following image is the description of a widget.
To get to the widget;
- From your dashboard, locate appearance, and under appearance, you will see ‘widgets’; click on it and you will be brought to the widget settings.
- From here, you can set your FrontPage, set up the sidebars, and adjust the footer and header etc
Setting up Email subscription forms/leads
We all know that having / running a successful business in real life is serious work; honestly, that same concept applies to being on the internet.
If you really wants to achieve success with your business online, then you need to follow the proven principles and work hard at it.
Using Email subscription forms to get email address and leads of visitors and customers is ONE PROVEN way of becoming successful with your online business website.
When visitors check on your site, it is important you try and grab their email address so that you will be able to reach out to them at a later time.
Doing this will make you to be self-dependent on the search engines and this is also where the real money making opportunities lie.
Some websites have more than a million email address of their customers and visitors, and whenever they want to sell something special ( usually discounted product or services), they easily send emails to them and they make millions of money back in return.
The idea is to get people to subscribe using their email address on your site; to do this is in two ways: ( please note that if you have uploaded the demo, it is most likely that this feature is already present, so check first. And if it is not present, then you can follow this guideline).
- Using free services, the best one to use is Google Feedburner
- Premium services: best service to use is Mailchimp
Search for Feedburner on Google search, go to their website and sign up for free using your Gmail account. Once there, follow the guidelines and screen instructions, at the end of the day, you will be given a code which you will have to put on the sidebar of your website.
You can do this by going to widgets, chose text box, drag it to the sidebar and inside it, drop and paste the code. The Google Feedburner subscription box will automatically appears on the site.
Though this free service is ideal for a beginner, but the premium version mentioned above is the best.
If you need help, just reach out to me.
Setting up blog features – for blogging purposes
The honest truth is this: setting up a website and depending on the search engines 100% is a MUST for your first 2 years, then if you know what you are doing, by applying the subscription model and also leveraging on social media; then you can start reducing your dependency on them.
However, by just having a website, the traffic you are expecting will not come because a website is a static stuff; the only thing that will make the search engines to be visiting your website on a regular basis and helping you to rank high is the use of blogging.
Blogging is a powerful tool that can help you displace competitors and really bring out your services and products to the right audience especially through Google and other search engines.
In other words, you should understand the concept of blogging and apply it.
Why and how?
Blogging is simply writing and publishing well detailed, informative contents about your business, products and services on a section of your website called the blog features.
See it below:
Publishing contents / Updates
For your website, if you want to publish any products or services, I advise you make use of the ‘pages’.
However, for your news update, services/product updates and even posts/articles relating to your business, then make use of the ‘posts’; because they will fall under the blog feature sections.
To publish a post or pages is also very easy, follow the images below:
However, know that any blog posts you are publishing, it:
- Should be unique and not copied from anywhere else
- It should be well detailed, informative with quality write ups.
- It should not contain duplicate contents of any sort.
Setting up your website on Google – Console and analytics
Now that your website is up and running, the next step for you to do is to set it up on Google search console and analytics.
This is important to increase your chances of getting ranked higher up in search result pages (SERPS) and also for you to correlate data about how the business is doing.
For example, with Google analytics, you can study customer behavior, age, demographics, country, city where they are coming from and what they actually did on the site. This is a free tool, the very reason why you should leverage on its use.
To get started with these tools, follow the guidelines below:
- Google search console: Address is www.google.com/console; login to the site with a dedicated Gmail account (not your usual Gmail account), verify your website on it and follow the guidelines (it is very easy to understand and use).
Once you achieve this, create and submit your sitemap on it. You can create a sitemap for your website with the guideline below:
- From your dashboard, you will see the Yoast SEO plugin icon at the left hand side of the dashboard, look carefully and locate ‘sitemap’
- Click on it and follow the instructions, the plugin automatically creates your sitemap for you and you just have to submit the same sitemap to Google search console.
- In addition, you can use the ‘Fetch as ‘ tool in the search console to instruct Google to index your posts, URL, articles and website immediately ( this is very easy and handy!!).
Watch this video on how to verify your website on Google search console
Google Analytics: the address is www.google.com/analytics; do the same thing with analytics, make sure you verify your account. Go to Google Analytics, submit your site and also get confirmed.
SEO for Starters
I encourage you to watch the video below on how to handle the SEO ( search engine optimization) of your website as a starter.
It is not just enough to know how to build and create a website for your business, it is mostly important to know how to turn the website into a money making machine for that same business of yours. The following ways are successful tips to achieving this:
Success Tips / Promotion / Traffic Generation
Turning Your Website to a success factor:
- Leveraging on social media : Facebook , twitter, Instagram, YouTube ( How to go about it is explained)
- How To Network and expose your website using blogging as a tool
Leveraging on social media networks
Big time brands invest seriously on social media websites, especially the likes of Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, twitter and Google+.
You need to have an active presence on the above mentioned social media networks. It is a MUST if your aim is to compete and achieve success with your business online.
- Go to facebook.com and open a Facebook page for your business, it is free, so grab the opportunity.
- Do the same thing with twitter ( twitter.com) e.g. twitter.com/richyauto
- Do the same thing with Google+ and Instagram
- Get registered on Linkedin
- When opening the accounts, use the name of your website ( e.g. richyauto)
- Use the picture of your business, products and services as your profile and background pictures; please note that the photographs must be high quality and free of pixels.
- Fill the description box on each with the right description about your nature of business (do it in such a way that you can achieve sales or get conversion through it).
If you really wants to grow your social media followers, you will need to invest and spend some little amount of money to get likes/followers on Facebook, Instagram and also on twitter. Any money you spend should be seen as an investment that will yield results later.
How To Network and expose your website using blogging as a tool
I earlier mentioned the importance of blogging. You need to embrace blogging to expose your blog, network it with other blogs/websites and also leverage on the importance of blogging to organic traffic generation.
The following are ways you can use to network your website and get it to become popular:
Bill gates said ‘LinkedIn is the Facebook of working professionals!! He is absolutely right.
When you join LinkedIn, it means you have join the business community; however, you need to go beyond that. You will need to join the related community that pertains and relates to your type of business.
On linkedin ( www.linkedin.com/ ) search for community/groups, and join the ones that matters to your business. I honestly and highly recommend LinkedIn.
Join Active related groups on Facebook
Because you are running a business website e.g. shipping or construction, go to Facebook.com, click on groups, use the keyword ( shipping , construction etc) to look for groups; various groups will be displayed to you, simply join them and become active.
Twitter is very much important and also Instagram, however, if your business is photos or image centric, Instagram is preferred above twitter.
FAQ: How much does a website cost?
From my experience using the guidelines in this tutorial, everything should fall between $10-$25 a month ( at least for a starter for 1-2 years).
FAQ: Can I start a website for free?
My answer is yes and no. if you think your website is fun, an hobby and not really serious about it ( making money or getting clients), you can start free using platforms like free wordpress.com and Blogger.
However, if you want a business website, to make money, get leads, expand the reach of your products/business; then I highly recommend against running a free website.
Brief reasons are;
- Nearly all free services limits your scope of making money. The owners of the free platform are the ones that will make money
- You are not in control, they can shut down your site or close your account at anytime.
- Most online visitors and customers easily recognize a free website platform and they will never take you serious. check out your closest competitors, nearly all of them are not using free websites services.
- If you have a problem or need innovation, you are on your own.
- A proof of your seriousness is by investing in your business and you can start first by investing in a premium services or paid site hosting and domain acquisition.
- You can never become a brand with a free website services, never!!
FAQ: the domain name I want is not available, what’s next?
Bluehost makes life and setting up a site easy. No stress for you. You can simply select a different one doing registration. Just select ‘chose free domain name later’. ( See the image below)
FAQ: I need help because I’m confused and stuck!!
Just reach out to Bluehost directly; they have experience friendly technical staff available 24 hours every day.contact Bluehost technical support. Or simply give them a call ( which is hoever quick and faster),you can reach them on 844-213-7846 ( if you are in the USA).
FAQ: How do I switch from HTTP to HTTPS on Bluehost?
This is an important issue I need to explain to you. When you register your domain and fully get your site hosted and is live. It will be in this format; http://haceweb.com/ ( this is just an example). Now, it is important you migrate to a https status ( i.e. https://haceweb.com/).
https://haceweb.com/ is different from http://haceweb.com/
- The reason is because with an https, your website is more secured and it gives customers/visitors safety mindset when they visit your site.
- Again, Google and oother search engines is seriously encouraging site owners to move over to the https status.
- Again, when a visitor visits a website with no https; they are notified that the site in question is not secure ( i.e. insecure)..I am pretty sure you do not want this!!
Https is expensive, however, if you host with Bluehost ( Which I highly recommend, check them out), they’ve got your back and you can simply turn on the SSL certificate ( for the https status).
Turn on your free Bluehost SSL certificate
Go to your Bluehost login account ( if you are not already logged in) . Chose ‘hosting login. Once inside, follow the instructions as seen in the image below.
Once done successfully, and you try to load your site on the browser, it will show the https ( green bar) as see below.
FAQ: How do I log into my website to publish posts or edit stuffs?
It is easy, just remember this login format; type yourdomain.com/wp-admin. The image below will show, type in your username and password ( they are your WordPress login details and not your Bluehost login details. If you forget, just check your email or click on forgotten password. However, most username is either admin or your email address).
This extensive tutorial on how to start a business website is written to make you a website designer all by yourself without depending on anybody. It is also aimed at helping you manage and run your site without stress and headache.
If you need help/assistance, kindly reach out to me. Thanks.