How To Get Your Green Industry Website Done Quickly and Cheaply
The most time consuming and expensive way to create a new website is to hire a web designer to create a custom 5-10 page website from scratch.
By the time you’re done with a professional looking custom-designed website you will have wasted weeks and spent $1,500 or more for an empty shell. Ouch.
The quick and easy way is to find a quality WordPress theme – one that offers some customization capabilities – and employ a WordPress Developer to help you setup your website. Doing it this way your professional looking website can be up and running in under a day and for well under $300.
The inexpensive way to build your green industry website is the same as the above but instead of using a WordPress Developer do-it-yourself. This way you can get your website up and running for less than $100.
Sounds too good to be true?
Read on… to discover the 7 Steps to Getting Your Green Industry Website Done Quickly and Cheaply.
Build Your Green Industry Website on WordPress
WordPress is a Free “Content Management System”
Also known as a “Blogging Platform”, WordPress is a simple open source (that means free) web-based software package that makes it easy and affordable to create your own green industry website.
There are other content management systems as well. Drupal and Joomla both have their devoted fans. But WordPress is probably the most widely accepted publishing platform out there today. Consequently, it offers an awesome knowledge base and a community of developers you can turn to when you have a question.
With WordPress you can have the best of both worlds: a professional “website” where you describe your services and a professional “blog” where you can share your experience and expertise.
That is, you can have a highly-polished home page that looks and feels like a professional website to any visitor. That home page can link to a “Sales Page” that isn’t cluttered with sidebars, to a “About” page with a video of you, and to your “Blog,” where you share your ideas and thoughts.
The best part is that with WordPress it can all be done under one roof.
The beauty of WordPress themes
You don’t need to know a single piece of computer programming to use WordPress.
This is because WordPress uses “themes” to display your content (your Home page, About page, articles, etc.). A theme is a collection of templates that determines how your content will be displayed in a browser. There are thousands of themes available, and each has a different look and feel.
Most themes use a standard blog format. That is, the home page displays the latest “posts” (articles). Since WordPress has become more mainstream more theme developers are creating themes that are using a “static” home page that gives your website a professional look.
Themes also have what are called “Widget” areas, where you can customize the way your website looks. You can add your own text, provide links to your latest articles, or provide a list of upcoming events. What you can put in a Widget area is only limited by your imagination.
The time and expense of creating a WordPress website comes from the theme you select, and how much you need to customize the theme to get it to work for you.
7 Steps to Getting it Done Quickly and Cheaply
Get Your Own Domain Name and Hosting
Websites have to be “hosted” somewhere.
If you want www.yourbusiness.com then you’ll need to get your own domain name and host it somewhere. There are many good hosting companies out there. If you want a local domain (a sensible idea if you have a local business) make sure your hosting company can host your local domain extensions.
Ask your WordPress developer for a recommendation as some hosting companies are better at hosting WordPress than others.
Many hosting companies will pay for your domain name (for one year). Expect to pay around US$5 – 15 per month for hosting, and about US$9 per year for your domain name.
TIP: If you already have a website and want to explore the WordPress capabilities, you can install your blog in a subdirectory of your site (www.yourbusiness.com/blog/), and play with it to your heart’s content until you’re ready to go live.
Pick a Quality Mobile Friendly Theme
This is your professional face. Pay for a quality mobile friendly theme.
Sure, you can get a free website up-and-running at www.wordpress.com or at www.blogger.com. Even Yahoo! and Google have ways for you to get a free blog or website up quickly.
The problems with these free approaches are that the themes are okay at best, and you have zero to little control over the customization. You also lack the flexibility that you have with a standalone WordPress installation. You won’t be able to add plug-ins, change the design, or have control over what goes where.
Plus, you’ll often have advertisements displayed on your web pages!
A premium WordPress theme will cost you around US$70 – 130.
Pick a theme that most closely matches your needs.
Worry about the details of the customization later. Right now, just pick a visually pleasing theme that already does most of what you want, such as a nice home page and blog layout. The less customization you have to do, the better.
Install WordPress and Your Theme
Next install WordPress and your theme. This is where an experienced WordPress developer comes in handy.
If you opt to do it yourself you may feel overwhelmed … guaranteed. Don’t worry, that’s normal. Many web hosting companies will install WordPress for you. You’ll still have to install your chosen theme yourself.
The simpler, the better.
It’s easy to go overboard with all of the available widgets, plugins, add-ons, modifications, and customizations. But, here’s the thing — your readers really don’t give a hoot about that stuff. Give them what they came for, which is informative and engaging web pages and blog posts that provide solutions to their problems. Cut as much clutter as you can and make it easy for them to respond to your call-to-action.
Create Your Identity Pages and Main Menu
At a bare minimum you’ll need a Home, About, Services, and Contact pages.
Let your WordPress developer walk you through the creation of static pages and your Primary Navigation Menu.
If you are doing it yourself you’ll use the [Add New Page] to create pages; and [Appearance] -> [Menu] on your WordPress Dashboard to create your navigation menu.
Customize Your Home Page
Okay, now things get a bit trickier. You may need to customize the header. The DIY way is to download the free program at www.Gimp.com (it works just like Adobe Photoshop) and follow one of the hundreds of tutorials available online.
Then, decide what information or images you want to display in the various “Widget” or other areas your premium theme provides for the Home page.
Make it simple. Don’t try to change the design!
Start Publishing Your Evergreen Content
Go ahead and write a few articles and add them as [New Posts] to your blog. Create [Categories] and add a [Widget] to your home page to list your latest blog posts in the right-hand side-bar.
Now you have a professional website up-and-running.
Keep Plugging Away
Once you have your site up-and-running with a basic, un-customized theme, you can start changing the basic design elements.
You can add custom page templates that look like sales letters or landing pages, sidebars, videos, and even a portfolio of your work.
The important thing is to get past the initial shock (or thrill) of installing WordPress and your chosen theme. Just take it one step at a time, be sure to take a lot of deep breaths, and keep plugging away at it.
Again, by initially choosing a theme that most closely matches the end result you want, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money.