Your website is the central hub for your online business. How you build it and set it up is important because it has the power to make or break your online business efforts. For this reason, I’m going to walk you step-by-step through the build process to make sure you get off on the right foot.
I’ve been building websites for online businesses since 2005. I’ve been around the block and I’ve used all the various tools and frameworks that are available.
What I’m going to lay out in this guide is just one process, but it’s the process I currently recommend. If my recommendations change, I will update this article to reflect those changes.
If you follow my suggestions step-by-step, you can avoid a lot of that lost time and the frustration that comes with this process.
With that said, let’s get started…
Step #1: Download My Basic Website Buildout Checklist
Grab my handy checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Step #2: Register Your Domain Name, Purchase Website Hosting, & Install WordPress (With Just a Few Clicks)
The first thing you should do is secure your domain name. Do not build a website on a free domain, temporary domain, or “Web 2.0” domain.
For example, when some people hear, “you should build your website on WordPress,” they head over to wordpress.com and register their site and they end up having something like mysite.wordpress.com.
That’s not what you want. You want to build your site using the self-hosted version of WordPress and you want to use your own custom domain name.
What’s a domain name?
For those of you who are super new to all this, you can think of a domain name simply as an address. It’s an address on the internet that’s easy for people to remember.
It’s not the final address, though. What a domain name actually does is it redirects people to the digital address of a server.
When someone travels to your address (by typing your domain name into their browser), it sends you to the server associated with that address, and the browser downloads the content (your website) from that server.
This is important because the server where your website files are hosted might change. You might move your site to a different server at some point. But your redirect address (your domain name) won’t change when that happens.
This allows your website to live anywhere in the digital world without your digital address changing.
A domain name is an asset. It can have and build real value. It’s basically digital real estate and can have value even if nothing is built on it.
How do I register a domain name (and purchase website hosting)?
To make this step as easy as possible (so there are no backend tech shenanigans necessary), I would recommend registering your domain name with the same company you’re going to be hosting your website with.
Head over to SiteGround, click “Signup” and then choose the “GrowBig” package (you need this package at minimum because you need caching and automatic backups and recovery so your website can be fast and safe).
On the next screen, choose “Register a New Domain” and then enter your desired website URL. Click “Proceed” and then follow the rest of the signup instructions.
Once you login to your Customer Area for the first time, you will see a pop-up asking you if you want to Start a new website on your account. Select that option and click on the WordPress button.
Fill out the information and click “Confirm.” On the next screen, click “Complete Setup.”
Congratulations! You now have a real online property – a domain, hosting, and a blank WordPress website.
Step #4: Purchase the Divi Theme & Divi Builder from Elegant Themes
WordPress is a “content management system.” It’s a giant database with an interface that allows you to create posts, pages, etc.
However, it’s not a full-fledged website builder out of the box (like Squarespace or Wix).
Don’t freak out, though. It’s very easy to install an add-on and turn it into a full-fledged website builder (and it’ll be way better than Squarespace or Wix).
Before we get there, though, we have to purchase a license for the website builder and its associated “theme” (a blank skin to build on).
Note: If you’re not willing to spend some scratch, you’re not going to get very far in this game. And trying to do this with free tools is going to make your life miserable. Trust me on this, invest in the right tools. Don’t be penny rich and pound foolish.
There are a gazillion themes for WordPress and a dozen or so website builders. I’ve used all of them and none of them can touch Divi from Elegant Themes.
Purchase Divi (I recommend the lifetime license, but do whatever you want) and then download it to your computer. It’ll be a .zip file.
Step #5: Install the Divi Theme & Divi Builder
Once you’ve downloaded the Divi .zip file, login to your WordPress admin (go to yourdomain.com/wp-admin/ in your browser) and install the theme by choosing the zip file in the upload theme section…
Once the theme is installed, click the “Activate” button to make it the active theme.
Your website is now using the Divi theme and Divi page builder. Easy, right? Oh, and since you’re using the Divi framework, your site will automatically be mobile responsive (which both your visitors and Google will love).
Step #6: Upload Your Logo
Divi comes with its own default logo. Before you go any further, you can quickly drop your own logo into the logo area.
I’m not going to show you how to use every aspect of Divi, but this is one of the things you’ll want to know how to change to brand the site properly.
Changing the logo is simple. Log in to your WordPress Dashboard, click “Divi” in the left admin bar, and then click “Theme Options.”
Click the upload button for the logo area, upload your logo, and then click “Save Changes.”
Now if you navigate to the front-end, you’ll see your logo.
The size and orientation of the logo, along with many other Divi appearance settings, can be changed via the front-end customizer (Appearance > Customize).
Step #7: Create 3 Core Pages
Now that Divi is installed and activated, you can start to build out your site.
Start this process by creating pages.
For now, here’s the page tree I recommend you start with…
- Home (will double as your article/blog feed).
The pages themselves are created via the WordPress admin and then you can style the pages using the Divi page builder.
Here’s the fastest way to create your pages and navigation simultaneously in WordPress…
Login to your WordPress admin and click “Appearance” and then “Customize.” This will open your website and launch the WordPress front-end customizer.
From the menu that opens on the left choose “Menus” and then click the “Create New Menu” button.
Name the menu “Navigation” and click the “Primary Menu” checkbox. That checkbox tells WordPress to put this menu in Divi’s primary navigation spot in your website’s header.
Once you’ve done that, click “Next.”
From here, you can add pages that don’t yet exist in your navigation. This means that you’ll be creating your navigation and the pages all in one step, which is nice and efficient.
Click “Add Items.” A new menu of choices will fly out. In the “Add New Page” type the name of the page you want to add. Start with “Home” and then click the “Add” button next to that input box.
When you click “Add” it will create the page in WordPress and add the link to that page in the primary navigation (you’ll see it added in the primary left-hand column of the customizer).
Repeat the process until all three core pages I mentioned earlier are created and then click the “Publish” button at the top to publish your changes.
That’s it. Your pages and your primary navigation are finished and live on the site.
If you go to your site in your browser and click on each page in the navigation, you’ll be taken to each page.
The only problem is that all the pages you just created are blank. So, now we need to…
Step #8: Build Out Each Core Page
Don’t worry, you don’t have to build this entire site from scratch.
Divi comes with basic pre-made page layouts already installed that you can use to create each page.
All we have to do is edit each page, turn on the Divi page builder, choose a pre-made layout, make a few necessary edits, and then publish the changes.
Edit your “Home” page.
Instead of screenshots, I made a video walkthrough for you so you can follow along while I show you how to create your home page with an easy pre-made Divi layout.
This will teach you most of what you need to know to create your other pages as well.
Edit your “About” page.
Now that your “Home” page is done, you can move on to your “About” page.
I like to keep “About” pages very simple. As your site develops, you can start to turn your “About” page into more of a “Start Here” page with links to very specific things you want a new visitor to see.
For now, all we need is a page that tells the visitor exactly what you can do for them and why you exist.
A common mistake is to make this page about you. The “About” page should really be about your target market. It’s a chance for you to let a visitor from your target market know that you’re keying in on their pain points, their desires, and their wants and needs.
After you’ve made that connection, you can talk about yourself to add a little personality and to highlight your proficiency and expertise.
Whatever you do, though, don’t start out by talking about yourself. Use this article to help you create a killer about page.
In Divi, choose the “Page (Full Width)” template…
Next, delete the two bottom rows. They’re set to display text in columns, which you won’t need for this page.
You can delete a row by clicking the “X” icon in the row’s options sidebar…
Just like you did with the home page, you can now publish the page and then edit it with the visual builder to fill in your content.
Create your “Contact” page.
Once again, use the full-width page layout as you’ve done for the “About” and “Home” pages.
This time, instead of adding a button module below your text, add a contact form.
Fill out all the relevant fields and then click “Save & Exit.” It’s pretty intuitive.
The only thing I would recommend doing is to turn off the “display captcha” setting. It’s turned on by default and in my experience isn’t necessary, especially on newer websites.
Once your “Contact” page is finished, publish it and then test your contact form by filling it out and seeing if it actually sends you an email. If it does, you’re all good!
Congratulations, this is a huge step toward building your six-figure online lifestyle business! Your website is your central hub and a true asset and you’ve built it on land you own (versus using a closed system you don’t own such as Squarespace or Wix).
Please understand, though, that people aren’t going to come to your website simply because you built it. Your goal now is to get people to find it. That starts with setting your website up with a solid SEO (search engine optimization) framework. I have instructions for prepping your site for sound SEO principles that you should check out next.
Once your site is prepped for SEO, you should take the next step and join my Six-Figure SEO course that shows you step-by-step how to take your site from zero traffic to 1000 free organic visitors per day and beyond.
Oh, and in order to track the traffic you’re getting to your website (and use that data to optimize your website going forward), you’ll want to install Google Analytics as soon as possible.
If you have any questions, the comments section is open below!
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