Fortunately these days, a professional website can be a lot more affordable than you think, in terms of both money and time.
WordPress is the platform of choice for millions of websites worldwide, including this one. It’s a program that lets even non-technical people build attractive and effective websites.
WordPress is what’s known as a Content Management System or CMS, and it’s the most popular CMS on the planet. Did I mention it’s free?
When you create a site with WordPress, it’s not at all like putting words and pictures on a printed page. Back in the day when I started building websites we created individual pages to mimic print publishing. It was a big pain in the you-know-what.
Today with WordPress, you create units of content known as posts and pages, and WordPress serves them up to site visitors.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about, from the site visitor’s point of view.
- Scroll up to the top of this page and hover your mouse over the Portable Careers menu item
- Click the first link underneath it, th eone that says Blogging
- It should take you to this page. Scroll down a bit and look around.
- Now scroll back up to the top of the page. See the Search box in the upper right? Type the word Blogging there and press enter. Now scroll down that page and look around. Everything looks pretty much the same, except, at the top of this page, is the notice Search Results for: blogging
That’s the beauty of a CMS. No, those aren’t duplicate pages. Depending on the instructions you send by clicking a button or link or entering a search term, WordPress serves up those pieces of content.
Once WordPress is installed and set up properly, anyone who can handle a word processor can create content. They don’t have to worry about where it’ll go on the page, or how to format it. WordPress takes care of all that.
Before you can start putting your WordPress site together, you need two things:
- Domain name
Your domain name is the web address people type into their browser to find you. Here, it’s FutureExpats.com. Domains can end in .com, .net, .org and a variety of other endings. The .com extension is the most popular. Most domains cost around $10/year.
You get hosting from a company that runs computer servers that take your information and make it available on the web. Hosting prices can vary widely, but it’s easy to find good hosts for $100/year or less.
Once you’ve bought your domain name and arranged your hosting, you’re ready to install WordPress.
After that, it’s a matter of setting it up to look the way you want. Most of us purchase a theme — it’s like a premade design for your website, but one that you can alter and modify to make the site truly your own.
This site uses the Prose theme [aff] from StudioPress.
If you’d like detailed, step-by-step instructions for setting up a WordPress website, take a look at my other site. It’s called WordPress Building Blocks and it’ll take you through the process in detail.