WordPress is what you call a content management system. It is very popular blogging platform. According to an article that I was recently reading recently, more than 60% of all the websites on the internet are WordPress-based.
A few years ago there used to be two main blogging platforms, WordPress and Blogger, by Google. This was also the time when there was a marked difference in blogs and websites. Blogs were supposed to be content mostly written by people on a personal note whereas websites were the professional outcrops of a business.
You can make any kind of website on WordPress
However as far as WordPress is concerned that has changed dramatically. With the number of themes and designing capabilities now possible, it is possible to make not only casual blogs but e-commerce capable professional websites as well.
The number that I spoke of that is 60% of all websites on the internet speaks for itself. You can use WordPress to create any kind of webpage that you want. It can be an e-commerce store, a personal blog, thesaurus, landing page, image gallery, video hosting, and basically whatever you need your website to be.
One page themes are ideal to start with
This does not mean that WordPress can only make a comprehensive multipage websites. There are several themes that enable you to create a 3 to 4 page or even a single page website for yourself that looks very professional and convincing.
The beauty of having your webpage on WordPress is that you are completely in control. You can start with one page if that is all you need. And whenever you need to add to that content you can do that as well without requiring any expertise to do so.
Willing to learn? No professionals needed
This means you do not need any professional help or any kind of custom coding. You can handle all the changes yourself once you spend some time browsing through all the features and functions and experimenting with them.
Choose a WordPress approved domain host
Remember, in order to have a fully functional web WordPress webpage you will also need to get a web hosting plan along with a domain name. I suggest using DreamPress for your WordPress hosting or BlueHost. They are both great in terms of service they provide as well as the price point. You will get a free domain name with your hosting plan.
You can even choose hosting from WordPress.com, which makes things a little bit simpler, although a tad bit little more expensive than other options.
Shared Vs. WordPress Hosting Plans
As far as choosing a hosting plan for your domain name is concerned I must make one point here. Usually The starting point for a small website is something known as a shared hosting plan. This is of course the cheapest option.
Shared Web Hosting is slower with limited potential
This can actually work pretty well provided certain conditions are met. The first thing I suggest is choosing a good web host because share Web hosting is basically about sharing your web server with other websites. So it totally depends on the capability of the web hosting company as to how much resources they are willing to allot to you. That way I feel a blue host is really good because it is sizeable and have solid infrastructure.
However, for the shared hosting plan to work seamlessly for your website the amount of traffic that your site gets mustn’t be very high. I think a shared hosting plan can easily handle a couple of hundreds of visitors a day.
WordPress hosting is recommended for webpage with media.
It can handle even more depending upon what those visitors are doing on your website. If your website is mostly written content with a few images then a visitor does not put too much strain on the server while he is there. However, if you intend to stream videos, obviously the bandwidth of your hosting needs to be much higher because you are using a lot more computing power to process videos.
Likewise, media heavy sites will use more resources specially if your visitors tend to browse a lot. Usually, this is not the case, it is rare for visitors to stick beyond a couple of pages in one visit.
Caching plugins make WordPress page faster on shared hosting
The second thing you can do to make a shared hosting plan work for your website is to add A few performance plug-ins. I use one plug-in to minify and optimise the site called WP optimise. The second plug-in that I use is a caching plug-in. Actually, you can use let WP optimise do this function as well. After setting things up the page speed score of my shared hosting blogs is as good and in some cases even better than once on dedicated servers.
Keep your website light
In order for this to happen you also have to keep in mind that your website needs to be light. By that I mean you have to use a light theme and minimal amount of plug-ins. Fortunately, the new theme by WordPress itself such as 2020 and 2021 are very functional thseme while being fast and easy on the web servers. They are also highly customisable.
Choose dedicated WordPress hosting for optimal performance
The other web hosting plan that I recommend now if you want to be more functional, is to choose a WordPress hosting plan. Both Bluehost and DreamPress offer a specialised WordPress hosting.
This is slightly expensive but in my opinion it is well worth the price. It means that your servers are always functioning optimally. Even editing your posts through your WordPress dashboard puts load on your server.
I have found that with shared hosting, specially with dream dress, the dashboard works sluggishly if you are doing some editing in bulk. It can even trip the maximum amount of memory allocated to you causing your side to reboot and actually be down for a few minutes.
Therefore I highly recommend choosing a WordPress web hosting plan. And you have to think this clearly. A web hosting plan is your minimum expenditure for your web page.
There is absolutely no need to skimp a few dollars while doing this because it does not cost a whole lot as compared to your other business expenditures such as marketing and promotions.
WordPress is a one-click install
Or even comes pre-installed. As long as we are talking about content management systems, I also want to tell you that there are a few other services that have popped up in the recent years.
Earlier having a WordPress website was a bit of a process. You actually had to choose a web hosting company and then either install WordPress yourself or in most cases use the automated install is that these hosting companies offer you in your dashboard.
It pretty much works the same way now. There is no effort involved as such, specially if you are choosing a specialised WordPress hosting. They are often referred to as one click installs where you just choose the option in your dashboard control panel and it’s done. You will receive your login and password and everything else right there in your control panel.
Other content management alternatives to WordPress
A few years ago services like four square came about that made the process of creating a website even simpler. For example, they feature a mostly drag and drop editor which WordPress also now offers to some extent in the form of “blocks“.
There are others like Ghost and Wix which are also content management systems but work differently. They are one solution in all in the sense that you have hosting as well as their own version of the content management system all in one package.
These options are well worth looking into because of their simplicity and the blazing speeds that they offer. If you are starting afresh, do consider starting with one of the services as well.
Getting a high page speed score with WordPress can be a struggle
Frankly, even with WordPress hosting plans, you will struggle to maintain a high page speed score with Google. These new services are likely to do better.
However, the advantage that word press has is that it has thousands of plug-ins and themes that you can use, being the most popular and widely used content management system on the internet.
So you have thousands of developers creating for this system. WordPress has always been and continues to be a free and publicly available content management system, which is really a big feat and accomplishment on their part.
The company Automatic that makes WordPress has contributed immensely to the internet development and freedom.
Embrace the learning curve
At any rate, creating your webpage on WordPress will be a learning process for you. But don’t let this fact discourage you from doing this. While setting up a WordPress site may sound created then reading your page on a social media platform, you can do much more with your webpage on WordPress.
Besides that, even though the initial set up might seem simple, getting followers and traction on social media will also involve a process.
So while starting with your presence on social media platforms, if there is a potential for setting up your own webpage under your personal remaining, do it. Having a domain name and website of your own choosing is great for branding purposes.
A Free Blog on WordPress.com
Go to WordPress.com to start a free blog. The obvious disadvantage of a free blog is lack of branding. Your website address will look something like this: www.username.wordpress.com.A free blog on WordPress will not allow you full control over customisation and will serve third-party advertisements.
Start a free blog if you are still working on your content and such. However, link it to a domain name of your own as soon as possible.We do not recommend having a free blog for a craft business or any kind of business. Its shows you are an amateur, which is an impression we never want the buyer get.
The best way to start your blog is to get a domain name of your own. You absolutely must reserve a domain name as you soon as you decide what to call your online craft business.You can link the domain name to your free WordPress blog. The linking service is $13/year at the time of writing this article.
However, while you will have your own website address of your blog, this will still not remove the 3rd party advertisements.You can choose the premium hosting package at WordPress for $99/year (at the time of writing this).
This gives you more versatility and features on your blog and removes third-party advertisements which is important if you want to maintain a professional look to your website.
However, the best practise to set up a WordPress blog is as follows. We highly recommend you follow this route to begin with. It will save you a lot of time and effort later on.
A little bit about WordPress Themes
WordPress Themes are small packages of files that you can upload on your WordPress blog by going in to the ‘Themes’ options.Great , well designed professional ‘themes’ are the reason that a WordPress blog can be a full fledged website. Add some great ‘plug-ins’ and you have every functionality that a full blown website can have.
We have spoken about plugins next.By using WordPress Themes, you can make your blog look just the way you want. These themes are pre made and you can change the entire look of your website by changing the theme.You will already have a lot of themes preinstalled.
These are themes that are provided to you free of cost from WordPress. You can start with these.There are many options within each theme which allow further customisation to colour palettes, position of key elements, different fonts etc. You can make any kind of changes in your WordPress blog by changing the theme options.
However, your customisation options will be very limited if you use the free theme templates that come with the WordPress Blog installation.But for great looking blogs with great features, you will soon need to start looking at 3rd party WordPress Themes providers.
What are WordPress Plugins
WordPress Plugins are small programs that you can install on your WordPress blog by going in to the Plugins sections. They add virtually any kind of functionality to the blog.
For example, if you want to display your Facebook page stream or a ‘Like’ button on your blog, do a search in the plugins section and install the Facebook plugin. Similarly, if you want to do search engine optimisation for your blog, download an SEO plug-in.
You will be able see which plugins WordPress are using the most by the number of installs it has. You can also see the rating for it based on user feedback ranging from 1 to 5 stars.
There are plugins for every kind of functionality and customisation you might want on your blog. These are some of the standard popular plugins that most WordPress installs have.
Popular WordPress Plugins You Should Download First
JetPack by WordPress.com
This plugin ads some very useful functionality to your blog like uptime monitoring, automatic post sharing on social media, sharing buttons, extra blog speed through CDN and much more.
SEO by Yoast: This plugin will help you understand and implement some great SEO optimisation for your blog giving you better ranking with Search Engines.Ad Injection: A truly valuable plugin for inserting ads or images in different places on your blog without having to edit any code. You can also rotate multiple ads.
A great pop-up form plugin for your blog that integrates with any email marketing you may be using.Wordpress Ping Optimizer: Prevents search engines from getting notified too often about your posts and preventing penalties.
WordPress Database Backup.
A plugin to automatically backup your blog on a regular basis so you never loose your hard work. A better way to do this is to get WordPress hosting from Dreampress. A Professional Jetpack membership is included which gives you an added layer of security with Akismet Spam Checker as well as daily and hourly backup your site on WordPress servers.
An SEO plugin lets you do many other things other than write titles and descriptions for you post. It creates a sitemap you can submit to search engines and allows you to customise your appearance in search engines as well. SEO by Yoast enables Schema graph that allows social media sites to read your posts correctly.
Logos and Graphics For Your Blog
One of the first elements that you will want designed for your blog is a great looking logo.
You can do this yourself in Photoshop or get someone to do it for you on websites like Fiverr.com. You will find an amazing number of people ready to do an amazing amount of work for you for just five dollars. Mostly all themes allow you to have a text based logo as well.
And these actually look pretty great as well. To get going you need to go into your theme options, choose a great font, choose the appropriate font size and write the name of your business. It will appear as a logo in your blog header.
This often looks so good and professional that we continue to use just this on a few of our other blogs. You can follow the same principle and create a text based logo easily on programs like Photoshop and Corel. You will have many more options of fonts, mixing colours and experimenting with effects like shadows, emboss, 3-D etc.
Once you are done you can save your work as an image and upload the graphic as a logo in your theme options.Product Photography. If you intend to put a lot of pictures on your craft blog and I recommend that you do, choose a WordPress theme that showcases photographs.
Also get a Flickr account that you can link to your blog. Flickr is very user interactive and allows you to easily create albums that your visitors will love browsing through.Link to Social MediaDo you have a Facebook page? Or a Pinterest board.
2 Easiest Ways To Setup e-Commerce store on WordPress
Gone are the days when setting up an e-commerce site was complicated and expensive and required hiring someone with specialised knowledge. There are 2 simple ways you can make your website and blog e-commerce compatible, by using 2 great services.
They are completely self serve, allow you to do everything yourself and take the headache out of managing core aspects of an online business.
Use Shopify. This is wonderful platform that helps you create a wonderful gallery of products with ease and sell with convenience. It is very easy to setup and allows you to do everything yourself.
Online payments, shipping rates etc. are all integrated in the system. Many other crucial aspects of an online business are handled for you so that you can concentrate on whats most important, your product!
The 2nd way of setting up an e-commerce store on WordPress to install a plug-in called WooCommerce. And guess what, it’s free to install. WooCommerce was earlier WooThemes. They use to make themes for WordPress, a business that they have gradually and now completely phased out. Some of the first themes that I first used on my WordPress blogs was from WooThemes.
At that time, the bundled themes on WordPress.com were not very functional. Today, I love to use Twenty Twenty and Twenty Twenty One. The latest addition is the re-packaged Twenty Two that takes advantage of full-site editing feature in the latest version of WordPress. Full site editing means that each post is fully customisable individually.
Do Not Start Without Email Signups
We cannot stress the importance of this enough. Do not start a blog or a website without a way to capture leads from your visitors.
If you have no way of taking their email, phone number or any other contact information, you are wasting a lot of the traffic on your website.The commonest and the most effective way of capturing prospective buyers on your website is with an email sign up form.
An email sign up form in the industry norm and people who are interested in your business will be happy signing up.We will talk about email marking in more detail later.
But for now, sign up with GetResponse. We use it and in our opinion it is what you should sign up with. You get a free 1 month trial, great templates for creating newsletters and emails and is better priced than many others. Use the above link to get $30 to start your new account with.
This article is also not comprehensive in explaining ‘how’ to implement each of the steps listed above. There you will have to go through a bit of a learning curve for yourself.
However, this article does point you in the right direction of where to start.We hope to cover the topic of how to start a blog in its full scope in a new and dedicated category on this blog. For now, we believe that things like hosting, starting a blog, email signups have become so easy, that if you are ready to spend some time learning, you can implement them on your own.
Take things easy and give yourself a week or two to put everything in place.You do not have to do it all at once.