How to build a WordPress site – where do I start?

I have a special guest post to share today from my go to girl, Madeleine. I have worked with her for over a year now and I couldn’t imagine her not being an extended part of my team. She helps me and quite a few other photographers and wedding suppliers I know with SEO, social media strategy, copywriting and WordPress website design. Her passion for what she does and her attention to detail along with her sense of fun forms a package that will make you wonder how you did things before she came along! Nicknamed a unicorn by some, a guru by others, she is always helpful and always smiling. Without further ado…

How to build a WordPress site – where do I start?

First of all, I’m thrilled to be asked to write for so many photographers who are keen to learn how to build a WordPress website. I know it can be quite daunting, so rather than gorging on all the WordPress articles in the world, like I did a few years ago, you can read this one and receive all the information you need to know! I’m not going to advocate that you go to Wix or any site builder like that, simply because they have limited functionality. When it’s time for your business to grow and therefore your business website to do more, it’s a challenge to transfer over your content. Squarespace is a cool tool, but I do find it has limitations, and my heart is personally set on WordPress, so I’ll be talking to you about that today.

First up, there are two versions of WordPress. WordPress.com is the free version that has limited functionality (good for your couples to create wedding websites on actually) but not a professional site. The second version is WordPress.org where you pay for external hosting and you can make into an all singing all dancing website. Or, you know, one that shows off your photos beautifully and will make your couples want to book!

So, here’s how to start:

Sit down with a cuppa and get your notebook, a pen and your wallet out; you’ll need your card to pay for a couple of things.

Do you own a domain name?

Firstly you need to purchase your domain name.

I like to use http://www.namecheap.com (although there are others out there such as GoDaddy or 123reg) because it’s super simple and easy to use. Plus they have great live support.

So, to see if your desired domain is available, type your desired domain into the search bar.

If it’s available, there will be a number of options available to purchase it such as .com, .co.uk, and many others

The industry standard for commercial businesses is – .com or .co.uk

If that’s not available then .co is contemporary and trendy at the moment, or you could try a different combination, so you could add wedding photography to the domain or fineartphotography instead of just your name e.g. fionasweddingphotography.co.uk rather than fionakelly.co.uk

The domains are cheap to buy per year, but Google loves you and respects your site more if you buy for several years at a time, so if you’ve got the cash upgrade to purchase for 5 years, that is best.

Do you have a host?

Next, you need somewhere to host your website, your own corner of the internet on which to build your own home i.e. your website.

I recommend Siteground – I increasingly move clients to this space and many experts who have been around a lot longer than me recommend it too. They’re also brilliant at live support. Go for the basic package to begin with as you don’t need anything more. Logging into Siteground you’ll be asked to hook up your domain name with your hosting. They’ll walk you through this but they also have an online tutorial and even better, name cheap also have live chat now so if you do get stuck you can go back to them and ask for help there. If you want to go cheaper and also eco-friendly then I hear great things about EcoHost.

Now it’s time to install WordPress.

Assuming you’re using Siteground, go to cPanel and under Installers, select WordPress.

Here’s a full guide on how to install WordPress on Siteground – don’t be scared, it’s really not as complicated as it sounds. Like I say, Siteground are very helpful and will walk you through the process. (I don’t mean to make this sound like a Siteground sponsored post because it’s not, I just really like them)

Do you have a look in mind?

Once WordPress is installed, you need to choose a look. I imagine you may have heard of various themes you can purchase like ProPhoto and more. I would personally start off with something cheaper, ideally free as you’re starting out.

Here’s a great range of options: http://themeforest.net/tags/photography

Be sure to look for the following points

– Fully responsive (not just mobile friendly, like ProPhoto has two versions of your site, one for desktop and one for mobile)

– Great reviews

– Good support system

– Clean design

– How the theme lays out the images

Here are some more themes to look at:

https://colorlib.com/wp/photography-wordpress-themes/

http://enviragallery.com/best-free-photography-themes-for-wordpress/

http://www.nimbusthemes.com/free-photography-wordpress-themes/

http://athemes.com/collections/best-photography-wordpress-themes/

My advice to you – don’t get too hung up on this part. I know plenty of creatives get stuck on how the template looks, but actually further down the line you can work with a developer (or learn how to do it yourself) to create the look you really want. Also, please read the documentation that comes with any theme you purchase.

You can download your selected theme by doing this:

  • Log in WordPress admin.
  • Select the Appearance panel, then themes.
  • Select Add New.
  • Find the theme that you downloaded just now
  • Use Upload link in the top links row to upload a zipped copy of the theme.

Plenty to be getting on with there. In the next post I’ll be talking about which pages you should be considering on your website.

Huge thanks to Maddy for this great advice. I hope you find it useful. If you know anyone this will help please do share this with them and if you want to leave a comment I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for popping by

Fiona x

 

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how to keep your head in business

general blog images-0002It’s tough to run your own business. I know, I really do! Knowing how to keep your head in business when you are faced with a daily barrage of things you should be doing can be difficult. Your day to day life can be crazy; to do lists, signing up to the newest ‘must have’ social media account, doing the latest ‘must do’ course, not missing out on advertising here, not missing out on marketing there, your accounts, your insurance, your website, your blog and all the time trying SO HARD to develop your skills and improve at the ACTUAL thing you are doing as a business! No wonder half the time we run around like a headless chicken, worrying about too much and not achieving anything.

Time to stop, breathe and take a moment. First thing you need to do is congratulate yourself on getting to this point. For many people that idea to do something never goes any further than being a dream. You have done something and that’s amazing to start with. The fact that you are the kind of person to  act and follow those dreams and goals means that underneath it all you can cope.

When self doubt pops its head up, remember, we all get the uncertainty. It’s bubbling away under most of us a lot of the time. There are times when I question everything. When I wonder if I have made the right choices, if I can do the things I have committed myself to doing. I have self doubt the same as everyone else. But, no matter how many times this happens I know that I will make it work. I can’t not, because doing what I do is the only thing I want to do. For those of us who have chosen to furrow our own path and have our own business the alternative just doesn’t seem like an option anymore. Would you really choose to give up your own dream and your own goals to go back to a 9-5 job working for someone else?

The reason why we chose to take this route is because we weren’t satisfied with the 9-5. We didn’t want to settle for OK. We wanted to do something we loved, something that drove us, something we took pleasure in and enjoyed so much we couldn’t imagine NOT doing it. Yes, there will be tricky times. Yes, there will be times when you really do question whether your decision was right. But, you know what? The universe has a funny old way of making it work out. If you are open to change and embrace opportunity (no matter how scary it seems) something positive will always be found.

So how do you keep your head in business? How do you manage when it all seems too much? What do you do when you can’t see the end of your to do list or even know where to begin?

1. Remember what’s important.

Why did you start your business? What was it that drove you in the first place? Was it the need to create? To have financial freedom? To do something for yourself? Whatever that starting place was you need to remember it. This is the reason you started your own business. When it all seems a bit too much remember the why and remember what is important to you.

2. Listen to yourself

This is a big one! In a world full of information it is so easy to get overload. Being able to learn is the most wonderful thing in the world. I love to learn new things, to embrace knowledge. But when there is information everywhere how do we choose? So many people giving so much advice. Who do you listen to? Who do you follow? Where do you find the information you need? Agh! I find it too much sometimes and in the past often felt like I was drowning. It’s very easy to take on so much information that you then can’t do anything. You are paralysed by overload. Maybe you have gotten into the bad habit of signing up for so many courses that you do a lot of planning but never actually get round to doing any of the things you have learnt. This is where you need to listen to yourself. Go with your gut instinct and find the voices that most resonate with you. The ones that reflect the passions you have, the outlook you have. Find one or two places of knowledge and learning, commit to those and make sure you follow through and implement what you are learning.

3. Don’t be scared

If you want a business that will be a success (in whatever shape or form that is for you), then you will need to do things that will put you outside of your comfort zone. That’s a good thing! It might be you are worried about making a mistake or concerned that you aren’t good enough. It sounds crazy, but the idea of making your business a success might make you scared. With a successful business comes responsibility, to yourself, to your clients, to others you work with. These can all be daunting things. When the only other option is to not do it at all, then it isn’t really an option. There will always be times when you have to do things that worry you or make you anxious. You have to be brave, face those things and know that in order to make something worthwhile and positive you have to take a risk now and again. The rewards are definitely worth it.

4. Roll with the punches

You won’t always make the right decisions. You might sometimes mess up. You will probably do things that in hindsight you wish you hadn’t! This is all part of the ride. It’s the way you learn and the way you grow. I made daft decisions in the early days of my business. I spent money I shouldn’t have spent on things that did nothing for my business. I worked with clients who were lovely, but really not the right fit for me. But I learned! When something isn’t working, do something different. If something goes wrong, fix it as best you can and make sure it never happens again. We are all human, we are fallible and we learn as we go. Roll with the punches, take the great things and celebrate them. Take the bad things, learn from them and let them go.

5. Be invested

This doesn’t just mean financially. Be invested in your business. Be prepared to do what you need to do to make it work. You don’t necessarily have to give up your life to your business (although, this does often happen in the early days if you aren’t careful), but you need to commit yourself to it. If you aren’t invested it’s too easy to walk away. In that case, what’s the point? If you spend your time copying others and doing it half heartedly then just stop now. Your dream isn’t to be a second rate version of someone else, your dream is to have something that is yours…heart, soul and passion. If you really are serious about making your business work then you need to feel like you have devoted time, effort and your very being into it. When you commit that much (and then commit financially too) it would be very hard to quit. When it gets tough you need to have that investment in yourself more than ever. When you have a self doubt wobble and wonder if it’s all worth it. When you are trying to keep your head and it seems tricky, this commitment you have made will help drive you through.

 

So, there you go. A few ways to help you keep your head in business. Another really great way to help you when you feel overwhelmed and a lost is to set yourself some goals. This is not a case of adding more to an already busy workload. It gives you something to aim for, reminds you of where you want to be and helps with the tasks you need to do to get there.

Set your big goal, where you want to be ultimately. Then set a number of smaller goals that you can do over the next year to aim towards the big goal. Break those smaller goals down into monthly tasks. Each month choose one of those tasks to do. Slowly you will see yourself achieving the things you really want to that will get you towards your big goal. It’s always easier to do the small tasks one at a time than to try to think of the big goal!

Do share your thoughts. If you have any other questions leave a comment or get in touch on fiona@fionakellyphotography.com

Thanks for popping by

Fiona x