How to Build a Startup Website

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When you are trying to get your new business off the ground with little to no funds available, it can be a very daunting experience when you find out how much it will actually cost you to hire a professional web developer to design and build a site for you. But do not fear, there are a lot of options available to you which will allow you to build your own startup website for very little.

Firstly you need to know what a CMS is. The acronym stands for Central Management System and what that means is you can log into an admin backend or dashboard where you can control all of the content on your site. Adding pages becomes easy as all you need to do is write the content for the page in a text editor and publish it. The frontend (which is what you are viewing now) is a template which has a structure and layout. The content you write is then inserted into that structure.

There are a lot of CMS options. Wix seems to have become quite popular, probably due to their excellent marketing, but in all honesty, having been a web developer for several years, I would suggest steering clear of Wix. I find too many sites created by people for their own businesses that firstly don’t look professional, and secondly are not mobile responsive.

My suggestion, as so many other’s will tell you, is to use WordPress. Don’t however confuse WordPress.com which is a free blogging platform, with WordPress.org being a self-hosted platform. But before we get into WordPress, you will need hosting and a domain.

When it comes to hosting, shop around and read reviews. Some things to look out for would be a good control panel. If they have cPanel all the better (maybe its a personal preference but I’ve worked with a lot of hosting control panels and I still find cPanel to be the most user friendly). You will also need to make sure the hosting package you buy has a MySQL database (at least one), and look for One-Click Installs (Worpdress should be in there, but just double check). In cPanel it is under the Softaculous section and although every host using cPanel usually has Softaculous as default, I did come across one in the past that had removed. Heaven knows why.

Now, if you are in South Africa as I am, my personal suggestion is axxess.co.za. I have been using them for years and have no complaints whatsoever. If you are in the USA then I have always found bluehost.com to be the best. as I said, shop around, read reviews, ask your friends and colleagues.

Now that you have your domain name registered and hosting for your website, go to your hosting control panel and do a one-click install of WordPress. No matter what hosting provider you choose they will have plenty of help documents, so just do a Google search for {host name} install WordPress or something similar. Make sure you install it in the root folder (if it automatically fills something in for the folder such as ‘wp’ then just delete it so it is blank).

Once it has installed it will give you two links. One is to the frontend, the other to admin backend. You need to go to the backend which is YOURDOMAIN/wp-admin and then login using the username and password you entered during the setup.

Welcome to your website. First thing you will want to do is choose and install a theme. Go to Appearance in the left menu bar and click the Add New button. You will be presented with hundreds of free themes to choose from. If you choose Feature Filter you can filter the selection down.

Once you have found a theme you like, simply press the Install button and then you need to run through setting it up. Most themes will have documentation on what to do in order to setup each page and element. Some themes will have demo content that you can install. There are far too many to go through here so you will need to just work through the theme to set everything up. If you do find a theme demo content, this makes life a lot easier because you can then simply replace the content and it is all set up for you.

And there you have it, your very own startup website for your very own startup business.

Lee is Owner of WebLeeDev (WebLee Development). He is passionate about Digital and Social Media Marketing. The aim of WebLeeDev is to provide companies with a complete internet solution, from company branding to website design and development to online advertising and lead generation.

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