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Small Business: Easily create your own website [ for do-it-yourselfers ]

Using the resources available on MidGaHosting.com, it really is fairly easy to create your own website. Now, it will NOT be the “latest greatest thing on the planet” – but if you are a small business and know you need a web presence of SOME sort – and are just looking to get started, it is CERTAINLY possible to get it done!

….and all for way less than $100 a YEAR. By the way, MidGaHosting is NOT geographically limited – ANYONE on the PLANET can sign up for hosting with MidGaHosting!

Let’s assume you are looking for only three pages on your site:

  1. Front page – with a description of what you do, hours of operations, etc.
  2. Contact form – where someone can fill out a form and you get an email, plus the address and phone numbers for your business.
  3. Directions – directions to your business

Here are the primary steps. I’m leaving out a fair amount of nitty-gritty details because I want to finish this article in my lifetime! As always you can contact me and I can provide additional help.

  1. Setup your hosting account over at MidGaHosting.com. If you won’t be creating tons of stuff on the site, I suggest the cheapest plan available. It will be capable enough, and you can easily upgrade later.
  2. You’ll pick a domain, contact email address, and payment options.
  3. For the datacenter location, pick the closest one to your location – although it won’t make a ton of difference if you select a different one!
  4. Finish out all the info, make your payment, etc.
  5. Wait about 10 minutes, just to make sure everything is OK.
  6. LOGIN to your control panel at MidGaHosting.com
  7. Select the EMAIL tab.
  8. Create a new email for yourself. If you want the emails to automatically forward to your “real” email account – like a gmail account – then select a place for the emails to be forwarded.
  9. Open up a new tab in your web browser software. Surf over to WordPress.com and create a new account – use your newly created email address – and I suggest a slightly different password, just for security’s sake. [one easy trick – if your “regular” password is all lowercase, use all uppercase for this one.]
  10. Select the “Applications Installer” menu
  11. Find the line with WORDPRESS. Select the Highest version, then click the “Install” icon.
  12. In the popup, you’ll make selections for the domain [you’ll probably only have one option]
  13. Path: change this to /
  14. Admin user: change this to a username you can remember. I personally like first inital-lastname. You just have to be able to remember it!
  15. Password – this will be the password to login to your website so you can make changes
  16. Admin email – type in the email address you setup instep 8.
  17. Database prefix: you can leave this at the default wp_
  18. YES, automatic database creation.

The server will work for a minute or two, and then you’ll get a box saying everything is good. There’s also a link there to login to your website – go ahead and click it, and we’ll get you setup in WordPress.

You’ll see a bunch of menus on the left side of the page. Most of these pop-out for additional options. There are several settings you’ll want to check. These are not the ONLY ones you’ll want to mess with, but for now, these will do.

  • Settings: General – fill these out with stuff that makes sense to you. The nice things about these is that you can EASILY change them back if you don’t like what they do.
  • Especially change the site title and subtitle.
  • Settings: Discussion – I usually turn OFF the ability to leave comments.

Now, to set the look of the site:

  • Appearance –> Themes
  • There are a gazillion themes available, some simple, some not. For now, let’s stick with the one that automatically comes with WordPress. There is one already activated – but you can select the “Customize” link there, and make changes. Go ahead – make some changes.
  • To see them, open up a new tab in your web browser [CTRL-T or command-T on a Mac]. Surf over to your site. Now you can flip back and forth between tabs- make a settings change, flip back to the site and REFRESH the page with CTRL-R [or command-R].
  • Don’t be afraid to change something – it is HIGHLY unlikely you can mess something up – and 99.9999% of the time all you have to do is change the setting back.
  • Go ahead and play with the settings for a while – I’ll wait for you!

…and let’s add one plugin

  • Plugins
  • Add new
  • Search for “Jetpack”
  • You’ll see a bunch of them – you want to one that is just “JetPack” not “blah blah blah addition for Jetpack”
  • Click the install button
  • Once it’s done you should see a banner at the top telling you Jetpack needs to be configured. Click the link.
  • This is where you need the WordPress.com account you setup earlier – add in the info, and your site will be connected to the WordPress.com account.
  • This adds in a ton of additional features – including a VERY easy way to add in a contact form
  • You can also use it to automatically post stuff from your enws

Pages vs. Posts

One tidbit it will be helpful to keep track of is the difference between pages and posts. In practical terms, posts are for temporary, changing information…. kinda like a newsletter. Pages are more permanent, like billboards. For example, THIS particular article is a post – and in the MaconMacGuy.com site the “latest news” stuff on the right are all posts. The menus up at the top are all Pages.

So for your site-  since we’re going to only have three things, and they are permanent in nature – we’re going to create three PAGES.

But first, some housecleaning:

  • Select POSTS –> ALL posts
  • Delete the sample post that is there.

Now, create three pages

  • Pages –> add new
  • Name it Home – in the field at the top of the page.
  • Add a few sentences – or just “blah blah blah” for now.
  • Save it [button on the right-hand side].
  • Create  Directions. Fill it in with some information.
  • Create Contact. See the “Add media” button, right below the title? There should be an icon to right of it – click that little icon.
  • This is where you’ll setup the contact form. You can add or delete areas, or just leave it alone.
  • But first, click the “email notifications” link, at the top. Add in your email address – the one you set up previously. Click the “save and go back” button.
  • Save the form after you’ve got it like you want it.
  • You CAN go back later and make changes if you’d like to, so you are NOT stuck with what you have right now!

…and then one more setting:

  • Settings–>Reading
  • Front Page Displays: –> You want this set to your “Home” page.
  • You can also play around with Appearance –> Menus – that’s how you set the menus in your website.

A couple more quick notes:

  • The “Add media” button is how you add pictures, audio, and video to your posts and pages.
  • You can add tons of free and paid plugins that add features to your site. I in particular am fond of “Ultimate Tiny MCE”, which adds a lot of word processing type buttons for use when you are adding content to your posts and pages.
  • You can also download different themes – activate a new theme and the whole LOOK of the site changes, but NOT the content.
  • WARNING: this can be a time sinkhole, though! It can also be a lot of fun, watching how things change.

 


 

 

So if you’ve read all the way down to the bottom of this article, congratulations and thank you!

I’d like to offer you a special deal as a bonus:

I will setup your three-page website for the special price of $75 [US].

This limited time offer  expires 6/30/13 at 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time.

This offer includes:

  • Installing WordPress and updating it to the latest version
  • Creating your WordPress.com account [if you don’t already have one]
  • Installing Jetpack and Advanced TinyMCE plugins
  • Uploading and configuring your logo to the site
  • Getting the basic text on the three pages
  • ONE set of revisions

What YOU would have to do:

  • Setup a hosting account over at MidGaHosting.com
  • Contact Me about the offer
  • Pay for the offer HERE using paypal
  • Email me the business logo, and the information that you’d like to go on the pages.
  • ..there will be additional details I’ll need later [preferred usernames, email addresses, etc.]. I’ll ask for them, though!

I will then

  • Setup the site
  • Let you know when things are ready for your review, and ask for any changes you’d like to make.
  • Once you let me know, make the changes.
  • Once this part is done, I’ll send you a pdf file of all the login information you’d need – how to get into your website, the WordPress.com account info, etc.

Let’s get started!

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