In this epic tutorial I will show you exactly how I create an authoritative wordpress website built to make money. Typically I outsource this process using the instructions below but for this site since I will be investing so much of myself into this project I want to build it myself.
Photo from – dawniecakes
Here’s what we’ll cover…
- Part 1 – How to Select and Validate a Topic in 4 Steps
- Part 2 – How to Make a Website (in under 5 minutes – seriously set a 5 minute timer for this section!)
- Part 3 – How to Grow Your Website (Easy Option and Advanced Option)
How to Select and Validate a Topic in 4 Steps
The objective here is to identify your topic and “blue-ocean” for your website. What is a Blue Ocean strategy? It’s pursuing and capturing an uncontested market space in order to give yourself an unfair advantage and dominate your niche.
Step 1: Write down a list of problems/passions/knowledge areas/fears you have. If you are struggling to identify some of these aspects, try browsing through your internet history and your Amazon shopping history. Pick 1 or 2 that jump out at you and continue working through the next modules until you have validated your idea. Expect this process to take a couple of iterations!
Personal Example: For this post, I’ll use my own case study “idea” (which still needs to be validated) of wanting to build a website around one of my staff’s passions … nails and cool nail designs.
Step 2: Identify similar sites. In this step, find a list of sites that are along the lines of what you want to create.
Step 3: Define Your Blue Ocean. This step helps you define your unique “angle” where you’ll combine 2-3 sites that show what your website will be about. In the book, “Made To Stick,” the authors use the analogy of pitching Hollywood movies as an example of how to define your angle. For example, the movie Aliens was pitched as “Jaws in outer space”.
My Case Study Example: The site will be a combination of a beauty blogger, Amazon Associate site, and consumer reports site specifically focused on the topic of nails.
Identifying the potential gap in the market was the central theme of Blue Ocean Strategy. In it, the authors discussed case studies where entrepreneurs identified the under-served intersection of 2 existing markets. This strategy was described in the offline world but is just as applicable online.
Step 4: Validate your idea with keyword research: At this point we don’t want you to spend TOO much time doing keyword research. It is more important to have a topic and lock down our Blue Ocean Strategy than it is to have identified the “perfect” keyword.
However, we do need to verify that people are also interested in the topic. If your goal is to build a website for profit, then doing some basic keyword research will verify that there is a market. Below I’ll outline a couple of quick and easy ways to do this.
The key is to identify competitors who are beatable.
- they are generating over 5,000 monthly visitors, and
- the estimated cost of traffic (which is just a measure of how valuable the traffic is) is over $1,000.
Note: if you don’t have an SEMRush account, you can set up a free account (with limited use and features). I do recommend getting a paid account once you get your site running and are serious about making money online.
Although you want to hit an untapped market, you don’t want to build a site in a space where no one has been able to be successful marketing it. So seeing that both the keywords get some decent traffic AND there are successful other sites in the space is a great sign we have a niche worth pursuing.
Now that you have an idea of what your focus area is going to be, it is time to identify a domain!
How to make a website
Over the last decade I have been making websites, starting blogs from scratch and running them. I have come across different problems and platforms (Joomla, HTML, Shopify, Wix, Squarespace) this guide is the simplest path to setting up a site for success.
I have decided to write this post to give beginners a fast, easy-to-follow guide to starting a website or blog, without having to learn HTML or waste your time reading long, boring tutorials.
This step-by-step guide with videos will show you how to set up a good site, as well as avoid making expensive mistakes. Today, I am going to be taking you from start to end on creating a wordpress website which will work for your business and grow your online presence.
The goal of this post is to not only help you grow your business but to do it the right way. I have had lots of experience and I’ve seen many people make mistakes when starting their blogs. I am here to help so that does not happen.
Take the time and read this post thoroughly. By the end, I hope you are confident in your ability to create a successful site. I am going to walk you through the entire process, one step at a time, so you get it right the first time.
- Pick out and register your website address
- Get started with WordPress
- Get your website online to be viewed by visitors on the internet
WordPress is used by millions of people all over the world, including some of the biggest companies such as Forbes, Sony, Mashable, and many famous celebrities. You can easily grow your website using WordPress and in time, gain thousands of visitors. Why use WordPress?
- Highly Customizable
- Designed for everyone, not just developers
- Hundreds of themes and plugins to make your website the best
- It’s FREE for everyone to use.
- Safe and Secure
Before we get started with WordPress, we will have to pick out and register a website address (aka domain name).
Step 1: Pick out and register your website address
There are a few key points to hit on when choosing a successful domain name:
1. Easy to Remember, type and pronounce
3. Unique and Descriptive
When finding a domain name I recommend a very cool, free tool from Shopify: NameGenerator.
Here you can go to the site, enter a query that suits your business and it will generate ideas for you to use as a website domain.
What is Web Hosting and Why Do You Need it?
Web Hosting is the service that keeps your site available for all to see. It displays and stores all the files, images and content that your site has. You need a web host in order to use your own domain name and allow your visitors to access the site or blog.
There are hundreds of different web hosting providers. They all offer you a similar service (domain + hosting) with a similar price, but after many years of experimenting and creating hundreds of sites, I definitely recommend using SiteGround as your web hosting provider. Once you have a set domain name for your site in mind, head to SiteGround to officially get started.
NOTE – I Highly recommend not using BlueHost or HostGator… these 2 hosts are most commonly recommended but the reason they are so prominently recommended is because of their affiliate commissions! They offer up to $200 affiliate commissions so be wary of any guide that is recommending them!
So what host do I recommend for your business?
SiteGround support is great, price to value is the best amongst other competitors, and it is the EASIEST to get a site setup with! You can have a domain bought, account created and WordPress installed in under 5 minutes. Trust me… set a timer here for 5 min and go through the next steps!
The first thing you will have to do is choose a blog hosting plan. There are three to choose from:
- 1. StartUp
- 2. GrowBig
- 3. GoGeek
The StartUp plan is the best choice for one site, especially if you are new to website building. However the other available options are good if you want to have more than one site.
After choosing a plan, click “Get Started”. If you found a domain that interests you on NameGenerator then you can insert it and click “Register a New Domain”.
If you already have a domain and you are just looking to create a website you can click “I already have a Domain” and proceed. Once you have chosen your plan and found a name you like that’s available, you’ll need to register it by putting in your contact and billing information.
At Checkout, I recommend adding the Domain Privacy service so you know you are protected and all of your information is not posted to a public database.
The other extra services are not necessary.
Complete your registration and go to your email to verify your account and get started with the link. You will also get an email that shares your login information, including an Admin URL.
Software Installation will automatically create a WordPress site for you and have it installed. All of your details are located here, and your website is set. Login to your ‘Admin URL’ and get started. If you ever forget this URL, it’s easy to remember. Just add “/wp-admin” to the end of your domain. For example: www.yourblog.com/wp-admin (where “yourblog” is your domain name).
This is the easiest way to go. You are now done and WordPress is installed in no time at all! No need to worry about a download and having to find it in your files.
Did you do it? Were you able to setup your site in under 5 minutes?
Step 2: Getting Started with WordPress
Congratulations! You have now set up your website and it is live on the internet. As you can see, it was easy and straightforward to create a website from scratch.
You will first reach your WordPress dashboard in your web browser where you will have a toolbar on the left with lots of different options such as posts, pages, comments, appearances, plugins and settings. All of these will be useful and I will tell you how they work.
Next, you’ll want to set up your site. Here is a video walkthrough we created to help you see over our shoulder as we setup a brand new website… Before you start adding content to your new site, you will want to create the infrastructure for your site in “General Settings”.
Here’s what you’ll need to set up under General Settings:
- Site title: Enter the Title you want your site to be called (usually similar to the domain name).
- Tagline: Enter the tagline you want for your site (note this is usually not the same, as it was in this case)
- Site address (URL): 99% of the time keep this the same as the WordPress address URL
- Email address: Contact email address; used for admin purposes
- Choose your site language
Be sure to SAVE CHANGES before leaving General Settings to move onto the next step of building your site.
Configuring your URL Structure
No one wants an ugly URL, but sometimes WordPress will have a default that sets it. So when you create a new Page or Post, the URL will include the date as well as the name of the post (http://mynailguru.com/2017/07/26/sample-post/).
A much better way is to use: http://mynailguru.com/sample-post/. See the difference? One is filled with irrelevant date information and the other one is short, clean and neat. In order to change your links to a more cleaner look, click on the Settings > Permalinks and use the following settings:
Step 4: Choosing a theme and logo for your blog
After installing WordPress, it comes with a default theme. From the dashboard, hover over the home icon at the top-left of the page and click view website. This is what your WordPress website looks like straight out of the box. We are going to transform this in the next steps.
Installing your website theme
Next you have to install your website theme. Your theme is the design of your website. I recommend using ThriveThemes and getting the entire Thrive Membership (or you can use the WordPress free themes).
It has great themes and easy-to-use plugins to make your blog awesome. It is a very useful tool and if you’re going to spend a bit of cash on your site, spending it on your sites theme is a good idea.
Many of the tools that come with the membership will be invaluable to help grow your site/business! Again you can use a free theme but if you have the budget I strongly recommend getting setup with a ThriveThemes membership to access their awesome tool kit!
Here you will also find the themes templates. You can download and try different ones depending on the style you are aiming for. You may also use a free WordPress theme for your personal website. I recommend the Thrive templates because they work very well and look nice on all types of sites.
After downloading a theme you can add a “New Theme” on WordPress (Appearance > Themes) and choose the file to upload from your downloads. Click “Activate”, and it is ready to go.
In my example, I used the Thrive Theme “Luxe”. Now I am going to activate my theme and start making changes to Customize it. Simply click Appearance > Customize for these next steps.
Here you can change your font, the size, the colours of your site, the tag and many other things, which I’ll go over. You can also change the background of your site to a colour or pattern.
To show you an example, I will pick a pattern by going to Colours > Background pattern, then hitting “Save & Publish”.
Choosing your logo
You will need a custom logo created for your website. I recommend using Upwork to get a good logo created for as cheap as $10. On Upwork there are many prices and people to choose from to accommodate what you are looking for. I bought my logo off of Upwork and they also provided me with 4 different logo options to choose from for my site.
To add your logo to your site, go to your Thrive Dashboard. Here, in “General Settings”, you can upload your logo and choose its position. Be sure to “Save All Changes” at the bottom before viewing your site.
In my Thrive settings here, I chose the “Side Of Menu” as my logo position but the “Top Of Menu” is a great location too. Logo placement is important, but ultimately depends on your sites look and theme. This is what my header looked like after uploading the picture and saving all changes.
Before moving on, I want to make my logo slightly larger so it’s more visible to my visitors. To do this, I am going to go back to Appearance > Customize > Header, and change the logo width to make it bigger. Hit “Save & Publish”.
Great job! Your theme is all setup and you have a logo. Now you are ready to start adding content and making it your own.
Step 5: Site Set up – Customizing & Adding Content
In this section, I will show you…
- 1) How to create a page and post
- 2) How to create a menu for your site
- 3) How to write a post inside WordPress
- 4) How to add images, links and format text
- 5) Some quick tips and tricks for writing great content
I put together this video walkthrough that you can check out for Creating Pages.
Or just continue reading below!
- Title area: This is where you write the title of your post.
- Content area: This is where the body text of your post goes. Here, you can type or paste your content.
- Standard editing tools: Here are options like bold, italic, lists, paragraphs, and headlines.
- Publishing tools: You can save your draft or publish your content live by using the publishing tools on the far right menu of the page. You can even schedule the page to be published later – or make the page private so only certain people can see it.
- Featured image: You can select an image to be the header of your content on your page or post.
First of all, we need to set up our front page so it is a static page. To do this go to “Pages” and “Add New”.
You can name this page anything you want; something like ‘Home’ is fine. And click “Publish”.
Now go to Appearance > Customize > Static Front Page. Here we’re setting up our front page as a static page to the front page we just created. Under “Front Page”, select ‘Home’ (or whatever you named your page previously) then click on “Save & Publish”.
These are the Pages I have created for my site.
You can start with creating a title for your Page and then add content when you are ready. With these pages we want to make a menu to be seen at the top of the site. Go to Appearance > Menus.
Name it anything you would like and then click “Create Menu”. Next, you will choose the pages you want to be seen in the menu. For mine, I clicked “Select All” which will allow me to have Home, About, and Blog in the menu.
Now your menu will appear at the top of your site like this.
This is how you can create a menu that consists of different pages. There are also posts you can create that will be in a page. For instance, I can create different posts to be published on my blog page.
Creating a Post
Creating a post is the same process as creating a page. It is just the location of your content that is different. Post can be published and viewed on any of the pages you create. A page is on its own, visible in the menu bar (if you wish), and a post is the content that can be added to a page.
Once published, your new post can be found in the “All Posts” section of the “Posts” tab, so you can edit it at any time.
To add them to your blog page, go to Settings > Reading and select Blog for “Post Page”. Hit “Save Changes”.
Now each time a new “Post” is created and published, it will appear on the blog page.
Many people choose to write their own articles for their sites or personal blogs. Because I have so much on the go and many sites I am working on, I get my articles written for me.
If you are also interested in doing this, I recommend using UpWork. On UpWork you will be able to post a job and find many qualified and talented writers from all over the world who will write for you while staying on a budget. I have been using UpWork for over 10 years and have come across lots of talent that has really helped my sites and grow my business.
If you need some help on how to hire writers for your site/blog, check out this article by Content Refined on Things To Look For When Hiring a Writer.
Headings help you structure your content and make it easier for people to read. Headings are best to add for titles and for each of your main points.
To add a heading, scroll up to the “Paragraph” drop-down menu. Select the heading you’d like to use. Note that “Heading 1” is usually reserved for the post’s title and the others are all different sizes you can choose from for the body of your content.
To add an image to a post as a header, click “Set a Featured Image” on the right side of your screen, select or upload your image, and update post.
You can also add an image to your post. Just click the “Add Media” button under the title of the post. Tip: Before you click “Add Media”, be sure you’ve left your cursor inside of your blog post where you want the image to show up. Otherwise, you’ll have to move it later on.
Next, click the “Upload Files” tab on the screen that pops up, then click “Select Files”.
Once you’ve found the file, double click it and WordPress will upload it automatically.
When the upload is finished, make sure the image you want is selected, then click the “Insert into post” button to add the image to the post.
Adding a Link
To add a link to another website, highlight the word or phrase you want to link and click on the link icon in the toolbar.
You can paste the URL you want to link, or search for it. For this example, I will simply link to Google. I will type it in the box and the word will be linked so when it is clicked, the person will be brought to that page.
If you are interested in adding a sidebar menu to your new site, go to Appearance > Widgets. Here you will have many options to choose from depending on what you would like your viewers to see. There are “Available Widgets” that can be dragged over and put in “Main Sidebar” (or you can create Footers if you wish). On my site, I decided to put “Search” and “Recent Posts” for now. I will also be adding a photo of myself (Image) and a summarized biography (Text). Your site is looking great by now and hopefully, you’re feeling good up to this point. We have covered the basics and you can stop here if you are happy with your site. I will go a bit more into detail in terms of what else can be added to your site to make it the best one out there.
To add plugins simply click “Plugins”, “Add New” and Search.
The Plugins I always add are:
- – Analytics
- – Contact Form 7
- Tip: use Thrive Content Architect to make it look even better.
In order to use the Analytics plugin effectively, you will first have to sign your site up for analytics. Once you have the tracking ID, download this plugin and insert the tracking ID.
The hit Install Now > Ok > Activate
Add a Contact Form
To add a contact form to your site you will need to add a new plugin. For this, search Contact Form 7. All contact form plugins are similar so it really does not matter what one you use, however I am most familiar with this one.
Hit Install Now > Activate.
You will now notice a Contact section in your sidebar.
Click it and open the contact form.
Here you are going to copy the shortcode and paste it into the page you want the Contact Form to appear on your site. Then hit “Update” to apply the changes.
Paste into the page text where you want it to appear (Contact Page).
Thrive Architect Plugin
Thrive Architect (formerly known as Thrive Content Builder) is a great tool to help build a site and make it look good. After you download it from your Thrive Member Dashboard simply go to Plugins > Add New > Upload File and select it from your computer files.
Then hit “Activate Plugin”.
Now, when you view your site, there will be another option to edit the page in the top bar called “Edit with Thrive Content Builder”. When you click this, you will stay on the page but be able to edit it from there.
Add a Favicon
Adding a favicon is simple. Before we set it up on your WordPress, find an image you want to use (Clipart looks best) and save it so it is easily accessible.
Now go to Appearance > Customize, then go to the “Site Identity” section.
Under “Site Icon” you are going to “Select Image” and upload and crop the image of your choice. It will show you what your Favicon will look like. When you are happy with it, click “Save & Publish”.
There you have it! Your site is done and it looks amazing. You can add more content and change your settings any time you want.
Play around with what you have just learned and make your new website exactly how you want it.