Build a small business website

Everyone wants a website, but very few people know how to build them. Learning how to do it is a breeze. The easiest way to build a complete website is to use Wordpress. There are plenty of drag and drop website creation services, but if you really want control over your website, this is how you do it. Everything you'll need to know is included in this toolset. Just follow this step-by-step!

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    A video on creating a page in Wordpress

    Exactly how you create a page with Wordpress. An example of a page can be something like About Us, Contact, Products - you know, any page that you would have on your site. 

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    How to Purchase Hosting - Steps to Build a Website

    This walks you through the exact steps of purchasing hosting through Bluehost.com. If you're a small business and get less than about 5,000 visits per month, shared hosting through Bluehost (about $7 per month) is all you'll need. This guide is full of helpful screenshots that show you what you need to do to complete the process. The whole set-up takes about 2 minutes as you're just choosing your domain and inputting information about yourself. With Bluehost, you purchase your hosting and you get a free domain. So, you do both at the same time.

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    How to install Wordpress (a text explanation)

    If you need extra help or a further explanation after watching the video, this is the entire process written out with images to show what to do.<br><br>Some people learn differently than others. This will make the installation pretty straightforward, I hope!

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    A simple explanation of Wordpress Themes

    Hopefully you've taken some time to explore around and test drive your WordPress Dashboard. This will be important so you can really get the feel of where things are and you'll be more comfortable moving forward. This next step gives you a simple explanation of what a Wordpress theme is. The author gets into the differences between free and premium (paid) Wordpress themes, how to install them, and some best practices.

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    Find a domain that's available

    Use Knowem.com to understand what domain names and social media handles are available. This is a really outstanding site.&nbsp;<br><br>The reason I use this instead of just checking domains directly within a host is that it shows me all my domain options (.com, .org, .biz, etc) and social media options - even patents, if I'm interested.&nbsp;<br><br>I think this is pretty darn cool.&nbsp;

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    Steps to Build a Website - Start Here

    Honestly, if you really want to do this properly, it would be worth reading this entire guide.&nbsp;<br><br>It's quite wordy and I'm biased because I wrote it :-). The condensed version of it is basically this toolset. So, if you really don't want to read the whole thing, most of the important parts are included here.<br><br>This is great for any newbie or beginner. It explains a little background on website building, your options with coding and different web builders and even some info on hosting, which is something I didn't fully understand until I wrote the guide.<br><br>This guide represents the actual process that I go through when I make a Wordpress website. Literally, these are the exact steps. That's why it's kind of long and wordy, but I wanted it to be really helpful.<br><br>Take a look!&nbsp;

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    How to Use the Control Panel in Bluehost (or just about any other shared host)

    You've just signed up for your hosting and purchased your domain. Once that step is finished, you should have been redirected to your hosting control panel. To be honest, you'll barely ever use your control panel in 99% of situations. It's basically the place you go when 1) there is a problem with your website 2) you want to install something (e.g. Wordpress) or 3) you want to set up email accounts (e.g. you@yourwebsite.com). This page shows you all the basics you'll need to know to work with it in Bluehost. Bluehost uses what is called Cpanel. Most other shared hosts, like GoDaddy for instance, also use something like it (their's is a little more confusing, but has the same concept).

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    How to set up widgets in Wordpress

    WordPress Widgets (commonly referred to as widgets or even WPW) are very similar to plugins in the way that they give you the ability to add functionality to your website with very little effort. Widgets were designed in such a way that you're able to drag, drop and arrange any number of elements in your sidebar(s) (and sometimes your header and footer, depending on your theme) without using any code whatsoever.

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    A simple video on the basics of Wordpress

    Bluehost created this to show you the very basics of Wordpress. It's a seven-video series, I'm only going to use a couple to show you how everything works.<br><br>This is great, and albeit basic, very informative if you're just getting started.&nbsp;<br><br>Check it out!&nbsp;

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    Setting up page menus in Wordpress

    In order to organize the pages that you created on your website, you need to create a menu. If not, your pages will all just be displayed on your navigation without you having the ability to organize them. This is going to be the next step after you start creating your pages.

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    WooThemes | Premium WordPress Themes & Plugins

    Woothemes is, by far, the best place to find premium Wordpress themes. Now that I've become more involved with Wordpress and use it for every website project that I do, going with a premium theme option (as opposed to a free theme) is much more economical. Literally, setting up a premium theme takes maybe an hour, as opposed to putting the pieces together yourself for a free theme. With WooThemes, they have just about any type of website theme option you could imagine. The themes are very versatile and easy to manipulate. This is my number one go-to for any Wordpress site, hands down.

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    Updating and maintaining your website

    Periodically, you're going to have to update your WordPress website. To account for the latest browsers and simply to make the software better, WordPress passes out updates every now and then. As a general rule, you should plan on updating your WordPress software at least once a month.<br><br>The process takes about 2 clicks and maybe 30 seconds. It's good to take the time and look through your pages periodically.<br><br>Inevitably, things do go wrong from time to time. Just skim over everything to mitigate your risks.&nbsp;

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    Understand how to brainstorm for ideas

    This can&nbsp;enable you to think clearly and narrow down your ideas for success.

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    How to test your website for problems and speed

    Before launching your website and promoting it to your target market, you need to go through and make sure things are how you want them to be. Testing your website before launch saves you from embarrassing mistakes and simple glitches that can turn your visitors away.

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    How Much does it Cost to Make a Website?

    Chances are, if you're interested in creating your own site, one of your main concerns is probably how much everything is going to cost you. This is especially true if you're a business owner. This page breaks&nbsp;down the costs to getting a website online and show you how everything will happen.<br><br>It is definitely worth a quick glance.&nbsp;

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    How to use Wordpress plugins

    By this point, you should understand how to change the look and feel of your website. Now, we're going to talk about how your website functions. We'll start with a short explanation of using plugins.<br><br>Wordpress plugins are simply pieces of code that you can install to add to the functionality of your website. Plugins can be used to add video and image galleries, increase search engine optimization, add twitter streams and even turn your site into a social network.&nbsp;<br><br>There are literally thousands of free and paid plugins. Most are really simple to install. Just as you would with a theme, you find the plugin that you want, click install and&nbsp;then activate it.&nbsp;<br><br>Sometimes set-up is required, but typically this process is very basic.&nbsp;

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    Install Wordpress to your host

    This is Wordpress. It's a content management system (also referred to as a CMS), which simply means it manages all your website's pages, text, images, videos and any other type of media. This is also how you control the look and feel of your website.<br><br>I'm only linking to this to show you what Wordpress is. You don't need to necessarily use anything from this site. You'll be installing Wordpress directly from your Bluehost (or whatever host you chose) control panel.&nbsp;<br><br>

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    A list of great places to find premium themes

    If you've read through the entire toolset, you understand what themes are. Basically, they're templates for your website. They control the look and feel of your website.&nbsp;<br><br>You simply find a theme that you like, install it and your website looks like this theme. Pretty simple, right? Then, you can edit it from there.<br><br>When choosing a theme, you'll have literally thousands of options. Themes come in all shapes, sizes and complexities. Some are free, some cost money.<br><br>Despite how I'm always trying to save money, I choose to use premium themes almost every time. In fact, I can't remember the last time I used a free theme.<br><br>The difference is relatively straightforward. Free themes, for the most part, are free for a reason. If you want a very basic site, use a free theme. They work and get the job done.&nbsp;<br><br>Typically, if you want extra functionality or design elements, you can almost always find plugins that do the trick. However, I hate wasting time installing plugins and sort of hacking a free theme together just to add functionality.&nbsp;<br><br>It's more than worth it to pay a little to have everything taken care of for you out of the box. Premium themes are faster, function better and are better equipped to handle traffic and take care of the user's experience.&nbsp;<br><br>They range in price anywhere from $10 to $200, depending on what you're looking for.&nbsp;<br><br>If you're looking to buy a premium theme, this is where you'll need to look.&nbsp;

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    Structure your website prior to actually building it

    Now that you have some ideas together and your goals set in place, we'll show you the basics of structuring a website. You want to make sure your website is well-constructed and is organized as it is the framework for which you present information to everyone that comes to visit.<br><br>This is so important! Whenever I do a client website for anyone, this is always where they're lacking, and is always the most time-consuming part of the process.<br><br>Honestly, the tech end of actually building a website is relatively straightforward once you understand a little about what you're doing.&nbsp;<br><br>Read this, then get a piece of paper out and make a pencil sketch (very general and rough) of&nbsp;how your website will look.<br><br>Then, open up Google Docs or Microsoft Word and make a bulleted list of all the pages and subpages you want to appear on your site.<br><br>As simple as this sounds, this will make what you're going to do much more clear.&nbsp;

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    A video about how to use Wordpress

    Another video from Bluehost. This is a great walk-through of how Wordpress will look out of the box, and how to start creating pages and adding themes.&nbsp;<br><br>It is very simple, but this is&nbsp;another very informative video.&nbsp;

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    Purchase Bluehost Web Hosting Here

    If you're a small business, organization or an individual, and your traffic is less than, let's say, about 10,000 visits per month (this covers almost any small business), use Bluehost.&nbsp;<br><br>Yes, you have alternatives. There are literally hundreds of shared hosting sites (e.g.&nbsp;GoDaddy.com, Hostgator.com, etc.). I promise you, they all do almost exactly the same thing and all are about the same price. Most can handle unlimited domains and email accounts. Most have pretty good&nbsp;up-time&nbsp; Customer services varies.&nbsp;<br><br>So, no matter where you go, you'll have a pretty decent experience. I would just prefer to save you the research time, and help you make a decision.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br><br>Bluehost.com is the easiest to use and has the best customer service. I've experienced quite a few shared hosts. Actually, it's cheaper than most hosts, too, at anywhere from $4-7 per month, depending on the current deal going on.&nbsp;<br><br>If it makes a difference, I use Bluehost for almost every site I build. The only reason I wouldn't use Wordpress is if I have a really high traffic site, or it's built with custom code (like ruby on rails). I'm just guessing, but if you're looking at this resource, your site isn't built on custom ruby on rails code. So, you're probably good!&nbsp;<br>

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    A video tutorial on installing Wordpress with Bluehost

    This is exactly how you install Wordpress using the Bluehost control panel. Take a look at the video to see how easy it is!<br><br>The whole process should take you about 2-3 minutes, depending on how fast you fill in the website information.&nbsp;

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