Gittan Alicia | Contributing AOJ Journalist
A website can be a very important aspect of a business, depending on the type of business and its stage in growth. In our case, a website was essential, our entire company is based on our unique take as a journalism business and our branding depends heavily on our website. Not only that, but where else are we going to post our articles and blogs so they can be freely associated with our values? Thus, we created a website via WordPress and this blog post will tell you how you can too!
We started by finding a host for our website. Of course, you could sign up for the free version of WordPress without another hosting service, but for the greater freedom and customization of our site, to run the site securely, and to create emails associated with the site, we found a separate host (A2 Hosting). There are several hosts supporting WordPress that you could find, but first you should assess what host would work best for your goals, and whether or not you even need a separate host from WordPress at all. This will require a bit of research, and you should definitely look at several web hosts to determine what works best both financially and functionally. Also, note that several web hosts support WordPress, but there are also several that don’t. The same applies to other website development platforms. This blog will only cover designing a website with WordPress.
At first, WordPress can be a little overwhelming, and you may be looking at all those features wondering what in the world you are supposed to do, but do not fret, you will figure it out and many of those features are not as scary as they seem. I will first give you a brief overview of the side panel you will see in what is known as the “back end” of your site. The “front end” of a site is what your site visitors will see, and the back end is only what you and other people you may give access to edit your site may see. The back end should look something like this:
Do not worry if your backend does not look exactly like mine, I have added some extra plugins for my business needs, which I will explain later. The most important side panel features are posts, categories, media, pages, comments, appearance, users, tools, settings, and depending on the business, WooCommerce and products. That may seem like a lot, but it really is not, it is just enough to do most of what you want to do. You can learn how to use each of these side panel features on the WordPress site itself, or through YouTube videos. Your website may not come with WooCommerce as a plugin, but if you are selling products on your site, WooCommerce is a well-rated plugin to use and you can download it by searching on the plugins page, which can be accessed by clicking plugins on the side panel.
One of the first things you will want to look at when setting up your site is themes. Click on appearance on the side panel and then themes to access your themes and the database to search for more themes to use. Look through these themes and read up on them. You will probably want to use a free theme, but be sure to find one that allows for the format you would like to incorporate into your site that would work best for your business. For instance, AOJ used a theme with a grid layout, because that was how we wanted to organize our posts, and it was the most suitable for what we do, which is write articles.
There are also several essential features to a website. You will want a home page, and this homepage will need to make a clear statement to your audience about what your business is or who you are. You will want to incorporate branding that accurately defines your business or person. You will want a logo of some sort, this should be relatively simple, relate to your business or person, and leave the reader with a clear impression of your business. Our AOJ logo shows we shine a light on truth with our articles.
You will also want to include your name or business name, and this should be simple and memorable. If your site visitor cannot remember your name or do not know your name, they may not come back. We think, “objective journalists” is an easy slogan to remember for our website, and in fact, you can find us at ObjectiveJournalists.com. A slogan may also be useful in defining your business. Lots of business and people add taglines, for instance, Nike has “just do it”, and Meow Mix has the slogan “Tastes So Good, Cats Ask for it by Name”.
Of course, there are so many other features of a website to look at as well. You may want to take a look at the plugin features. These allow you to incorporate other features into your site that are not already provided by default in WordPress. So, look at these other features and plugins and see what works best. If something doesn’t work, there are so many other things to try. Do not be discouraged, because with your website there is flexibility, and if worst comes to worst, you can easily change your site. A website is yours to customize and create, so have fun with it!