I built a new website at the weekend. It only took one day. It’s for my sideline business where I train small business owners, freelancers and self-employed people how to do their own marketing, called Marketing in One Day.
In just one day I attempt to convey to the delegates my 20+ years’ of marketing experience and knowledge. And I’m pleased to say that in just one day, I managed to build a brand new website for it.
The old website was beginning to look dated. I wanted to revamp the styling, incorporate some social media elements and also optimise it for the search engines (SEO). All these needs led in one direction only: WordPress.
I’m quite proficient in HTML and CSS, skills I gained when working at an internet consultancy during the dotcom boom (and then bust!). But things have moved on since then. Before I rebuilt this website in June 2010, I went on a WordPress training course, which was great. It taught me the basics of setting up a site and adding pages and posts. Since then, I’ve learned even more and I can now create a new website in just one day. Of course, this isn’t always the case for many businesses, but I already had all the images and text I needed. Both needed tweaks here and there, of course – reformatting the image sizes, changing some of the copy – but that didn’t take too long at all.
What took the time was getting the layout how I wanted it and choosing colours and styles. But I was amazed that I could manage to do it all in one day.
Here’s the steps to follow if you want to do the same:
- Set up your domain name and hosting – preferably do this before you launch a new site as it can take up to 24 hours for the domain name to resolve.
- Load WordPress onto your server and set up the database. This is easily done on most hosts, as they have a one-click install process. My own host has just introduced one-click install, but as I’d moved my domain to them less thatn 24 hours before I wanted to load WordPress, it wasn’t possible and I had to manually install it. It took a little longer than their fêted “5 minutes” !
- Choose, purchase, download and add a theme. I chose Theme Blvd’s Barely Corporate.
- Set up the structure of your site by adding pages and building the menu. Make sure permalinks are optimised for SEO.
- Format the footer and add in your widgets for things like a Twitter feed, social media links or your contact details.
- Format the look of your different pages. My own site has three page styles – one for the front page; a page with a right hand sidebar; and a full-width page. This took me the longest, trying to decide how my homepage would look, whether to use a slider or not, what to include on the slider, what colours to use, and so on.
- Add all your content: your images and text. Make sure to proofread it all very carefully.
- Add any plugins you want. I added things like: Mailchimp (I want to add a sign-up box later); Google and Mailchimp Analytics; duplicate post creation; and Googlecards to add my Google+ details. But you may want to add some social sharing widgets, SEO-boosting plugins, and others.
- Test your site. Make sure all the links work, that the site renders well in different browsers and also on different devices. I deliberately chose a “responsive” theme for my site, because it’s already optimised for viewing on computers, tablets and mobiles and doesn’t need me to change anything at all.
- Promote the site. Using Google and Bing’s webmaster tools, verify your site and upload a sitemap.
- Backup the site and make sure you have future backup plans in place.
- Put your site live – the exciting bit!
Well, that’s it. Never mind Marketing in One Day – this was WordPress in one day! Here are the before and after shots: