Note: This post was written years ago and is almost completely out of date. Over the years my recommendations have completely changed as the tech landscape has changed. For example, I emphatically do not recommend GoDaddy anymore. For anything.
So much so, in fact that we now as a company offer both WordPress hosting and domain registrations to people as a sound alternative.
Andrew Cunningham recently asked a good question about getting started using WordPress.
Can any of you guys recommend good, simple resources for learning how to use wordpress?
How do you get started? It’s a great question that deserves some more attention.
Ultimately the best way for you to get started depends on what your overall objectives for you website are. It’s the place I start with all my clients because if you don’t begin with the end in mind you will likely waste a whole lot of time and/or money working on things that don’t move you towards your real goals.
Some possible objectives include
- Raising brand awareness
- Increasing personal profile
- Driving product or service sales
- Improved search engine visibility
- Put a more personal face on your business
- Providing a personal creative outlet
Obviously the possibilities are nearly endless. But until you take the time to work out exactly what you want to achieve with your web site and write it down, you will likely be painting yourself into corners that may be difficult (and expensive) to get out of later.
Get Your Own Domain
Once you’ve got your objectives thought through, you are most likely going to want to get your own web domain. If you are planning to conduct any business via your website having your own domain is a must.
By having your own domain I mean purchasing your own .com name. There are other possibilities besides .com but for most folks, especially in the US, .com is the right way to go.
Having your own domain for your website will do a number of things for you. The biggest ones that come to mind are
- People will take your business more seriously
- You have more control of your site
That second one is huge. Because there is no way to know what the future will bring, you want to give your self the flexibility to make changes later.
Ultimately your web site is yours, right? So you should have as much control over your site as you can.
I get all my domains through GoDaddy.com and I’ve got dozens of domains with them. They are the world’s largest registrar of domain names and for good reason. They are really good at what they do. It is a good idea to register your domain for a minimum of 2 years for better search engine rankings because spammers tend to buy short lived domains and then abandon them quickly. I also recommend most of my clients get GoDaddy’s “Deluxe Registration” because it bundles some features that can be valuable for business owners. One note about GoDaddy. They are a bit aggressive on the up-selling. Just be careful not to add on a whole bunch of stuff that you don’t need and you’ll be fine.
Edit: Over the years I became so disgusted with GoDaddy’s hyper-aggressive marketing practices and their distasteful “GoDaddy Girls” advertisements that I elected to offer our own domain registration service here at SuccessCREEations. We have transferred all of our domains away from GoDaddy to our service. We also put together a simple guide to transfer domains away from GoDaddy.
Another critical piece of the puzzle is good reliable web hosting. And there are a ton of different providers and options out there. It can be a bit overwhelming.
Again, GoDaddy.com provides web hosting that works for many folks. Some find it easier to keep all their web expenses in one place.
Edit: GoDaddy’s hosting is atrocious. Their proprietary hosting control panel is hard to work with and their service has had serious security breaches over the years. We now offer client WordPress website hosting through two of our brands. For business we have WPAnnex and for churches and ministries we offer EmmanuelPress.
Another web host provider that I highly recommend is Host Gator. Their service is reliable, inexpensive and supports WordPress sites just fine.
Personally I use a hosting provider right here in Georgia called A Small Orange. When I was first looking for my own web hosting, top notch customer service was one of my big criteria and A Small Orange got high marks in that department. I’ve been with them for years and am very happy with their customer service.
Note: As our hosting needs have increased over the years we moved all of our hosting to a service called WiredTree. They service more robust needs than the typical beginner starting out requires.
Once you get your domain and web hosting sorted out the next thing you will probably want to do is learn about WordPress. That was Andrew’s original question, after all.
Obviously I prefer people to come to my company for their WordPress needs. Not only do we get WordPress websites up and running for our clients, but we also provide personal training for them. We simplify the learning process by focusing on the important things first and then expanding into more advanced features. Our clients get up and running with their sites quickly.
Of course, not everyone has the budget to tap in to our services here at SuccessCREEations. I get that.
Fortunately, the good folks over at WordPressTutorials.com have put together some great video training aids to get the do-it-yourselfers up to speed quickly with WordPress as well. So if a custom training program isn’t in your budget, go check them out and learn how simple and powerful WordPress can be.
Note: WordPressTutorials.com no longer exists. If you want to do everything yourself WPBeginner is a resource that I can heartily recommend. I met their founder Syed when he was first starting the site and he’s a stand up guy and knows his WordPress. We will be adding our own tutorials here at SuccessCREEations for WordPress users who don’t want to get into any of the coding stuff soon.