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Create a business website

This section is for you if you are at the stage of building your website.  Below are a number of resources you’ll need to do this. Some of these are affiliate links, which means I receive a referral fee at no added cost to yourself. These are marked with an asterisk (*).

Hosting and Domain Names

TSO Host (*)

I recommend TSO Host for self-hosted websites.  There hosting packages are reasonable and their customer support is very helpful whenever there is a problem.  They now have a live chat facility too to help deal with issues more quickly.  The domain names are one of the cheapest around as well.  They have a one-click install for WordPress and you can also create your own professional email address, which is a must for being in business. I’ve used them for about 18 months now and I am very happy with their service.

Website and Web Design

To build a website you need website software to do this.  For this, I recommend WordPress.  It can be a learning curve for the uninitiated, but there are lots of themes out there that make the customisation of your theme to your business brand colours and adding things like your logo, easy.

WordPress Themes

There are many, many good themes out there.  When choosing a theme you need to take the following into consideration:

  1. Responsiveness – is the theme mobile and other device friendly? In other words, can you read your website on your mobile phone or tablet?
  2. Customisation features – can you add your business logo? Can you choose which fonts and colours to use?
  3. Layout feature – how much control do you have over the layout?
  4. If applicable, is it e-commerce ready? Such as does it integrate with Woo-Commerce?
  5. Is it easy to use?
  6. Does it come with a child version of theme – so you can customise it without losing your changes when the theme updates? (Ask the theme designer or search for “[ name of your chosen theme ] child”.

Free Themes

There are lots of wonderful, free themes out there.  Usually the company that designs and builds the theme will provide a free version, with the option to upgrade to their premium version.  Here’s my list of recommended:

Make by Theme Foundry

I’ve used this theme on many websites and love Make’s simplicity from the layout to the customisation features. It’s minimal style means you can create a professional, clean looking business website from the off.

Customizr by PressCustomizr

This website is created using the free version of this theme and I’m blown away with customisation features available for a free theme!

Premium Themes

Premium themes are ones that you pay for. Payment can either be a one-off fee or annual fee.  Make sure you are clear on this before you buy.  After you have bought the theme, you also need to check to see if auto-renew is switched on for the annual renewal fee.  If you like to control what is taken out of your bank, then it is worth turning this feature off. However, if you’re happy for the service to renew, you can make sure the auto-renew is turned on.

Here are a list of premium WordPress themes I recommend:

Make Plus by Theme Foundry

The premium version of this theme is wonderful.  It gives you more control over the layout, as well as being Woo-Commerce ready.

Annual renewal fee is $99 a year.

Divi –  Elegant Themes (*)

Super powerful theme that can super charge the look and feel of your website.  I found it to be a bit of a learning curve, though others have found easy to grasp once you get over the initial overwhelm of the interface.  Using this theme delivers an incredibly power and professional looking website from the off.

Annual Fee: $89 a year.

TIP: If available, install the free version of the theme you like and test-drive i

Simple Business Theme by Nimbus Themes

I’ve not used this theme, however, I love the look and the simple layout of this theme. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

€49 – one off fee.

Plug-ins

WordPress Plugins enable you to customise and keep your website secure.  Here are a list of WordPress plugins you’ll need for your website?

  1. Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights – you need this plugin to be able to record the number of visitors and learn which are the most popular pages been viewed on your website.  You must set-up a Google Analytics account and website profile first.  Make sure you sign-up with your business email address!
  2. MailChimp for WordPress and MailChimp for WordPress – Top Bar
  3. Revive Old Post (Former Tweet Old Post)
  4. WPForms (*) – the best contact form plugin I have used in WordPress! You need to set-up a recaptcha account to install Google’s I Am Not A Robot service.
  5. Yoast SEO – Helps to optimise your pages and blog posts for SEO purposes.  You’ll need to make sure you have already registered your website with Google Webmaster – Search Console account.
  6. WordFence – keep your website safe from hackers. WordFence is one of the leading security plugins for WordPress.

Mailing List

You’ll want to be able to keep in touch with visitors to your website. Setting up a newsletter and mailing list is a must. You can do this by signing up to a mailing list software that provides the tools to be able to create a newsletter and store the email addresses of people who have signed-up from your website.

MailChimp

MailChimp - mailing list provider

To get started, especially for those on a budget, I recommend using MailChimp.  You get a whole host of features for free and can send up to 12,00 emails and have up to 2000 subscribers on the FREE plan.  They’ve recently enabled automation – which is handy for sales funnels, creating mini courses and following up with your subscribers.