Nothing happens in a vacuum.
Nobody sits in the corner of a room meditating, blinds closed, lights off, and actually finds their next big business idea. Poof – there’s nothing there.
Share your new business idea with the world
The best ideas come from real life, and once you find the right one, you can test it before investing all of your cash, using all of the resources around you. Even your family and friends can come in handy.
Don’t listen to those that say “everything’s been done.” There’s still plenty more to do, and why not do it yourself. It’s time to get started by testing your new business idea. It’s time to share it with the world.
Research your niche carefully to find what makes you different
And speaking of vacuums. James Dyson invented a vacuum cleaner that used a ball to turn, rather than mimicking the same square design throughout the vacuum industry. He looked at his target market, saw a gap, and filled it. Either that, or he tried turning a vacuum one time and said, “this is ridiculous, there has to be a better way.” You can do the same with your business, and you may have even had a similar moment.
Make a list of potential competitors for your products or services. What are they doing, and how would you do it differently? Where did they start and where are they headed? Even if you can’t reinvent the industry, your original idea can still stand out with the right execution: by showing off how you’re different.
Share the idea with people you trust and respect
Sometimes ideas sound really cool until you see them out in the world for the first time, untested. That’s why it helps to have a few trusted friends or family members with whom you can share your ideas. It’s important to get honest feedback though, and not a sweet, “how nice of you to try,” response. You’ll want that honest aunt who can hit you right between the eyes with the truth.
It helps to present your idea properly. Three beers in at the bar with a buddy is not the time to bring it up. Instead, make it professional and set a meeting. Explain your product or service as simply and quickly as possible. State the problem, then offer the solution. If you can’t explain the business or product to your six-year-old nephew, the idea might not be ready.
Get your idea in front of beta testers
The best way to see if your new business idea can appeal to customers is to show it to potential customers. Create a website with WordPress and a professional domain name. It should be simple, and present the same problem/solution, explanation that you used with your friends. Only your website should then go one step further and convince website visitors to buy.
Depending on your product or service, you may be able to produce a limited run series as a beta test. Explain clearly that it’s a beta test, as early adopters can offer criticism that helps you get better. They’re also more likely to forgive mistakes, as they accept that the product is still in development. Or, try using a crowdsourcing option that lets customers put down their money, and then wait for the product to be created after you’ve hit your fundraising goal.
It all comes down to you and your gut
Even if your family and friends, trusted business partners, and the market all tell you to go for it, or even if they tell you you’re crazy (maybe especially then), you’ll have to trust your gut to make the final call. Would you buy this with your own money? Does it solve a problem that no other business cares to solve?
Now that you’ve decided to create a website with your products, and gauge interest before investing too much in a single idea, that risk is somewhat lower. Rather than setting up an expensive brick and mortar storefront, you can create a virtual one, or a few, and listen to what your customers actually need before investing.
Clean out your self doubts and share your new idea
If you talk about vacuums long enough, someone is going to make a cleaning pun; it sucks, but it happens (yikes). Rather than trying to test your new business idea inside your head with your superior logic skills, share your new idea with the people you trust, research the market, and then put it out into the world with your new domain name and WordPress website.
Now let’s find out what it means to build a WordPress website!
What is a WordPress website?
WordPress is a simple and extendable package of software for creating and managing websites of all kinds.
When launching a WordPress website, it can be used to create a single landing page or a complex site that handles all the functions of a large enterprise, and it can be downloaded and installed by anyone, at any time, for free. WordPress websites are sites that are created using the free WordPress software, a piece of PHP code that can be installed on any web hosting platform and completely customized to suit individual needs.
WordPress sites are developed either by working directly with the platform’s code or by installing and customizing an existing WordPress theme. Most web hosting services include WordPress as a site building option in their hosting plans, and some also offer dedicated hosting support exclusively for WordPress users.
The creators of WordPress intend for the program to be accessible to anyone, anywhere, regardless of experience working with web design. For that reason, WordPress is a multi-layered platform, with features that appeal to advanced users with plenty of site design experience as well as beginners who are just starting a personal blog with little or no knowledge of code and FTP clients.
The essentials for making a WordPress website
In order to start making a WordPress website, you need to perform the following steps:
- Correctly download and install WordPress
- Setup your WordPress settings
- Fill your WordPress website with content
- Publish your website to the world!
Let’s start by checking that you have WordPress installed.
Download and install WordPress
WordPress can be installed manually to any hosting account, and it’s available free of charge from WordPress.org, the parent organization that oversees the ongoing development of WordPress by its large and growing community of designers and developers who work on an ongoing basis to keep WordPress functioning smoothly.
To get a copy, simply click to download. WordPress is licensed under General Public License so that anyone is free to use, modify, or share it at any time. The WordPress package includes all files needed to set up a new site, delivered immediately as a ZIP file.
How to use WordPress homepage settings
Along with the customization options that come with WordPress theme settings, you can also change the look and functionality of any WordPress site by adjusting its extensive array of built-in settings and layout options.
General settings for global aspects of the WordPress site can be controlled from the Settings tab in the site’s Admin dashboard. This allows users – even those with no site development or coding experience – to set custom preferences for a function, such as managing comments, custom permalinks, and how content is created and displayed.
When a WordPress plugin is installed, its settings can also be managed from the Settings tab. Although it may not be readily apparent, the Settings panel can also be used to manage other aspects of the site, including setting a custom homepage of your choice.
Customizing WordPress homepage settings
Although it is used to create websites of all kinds today, WordPress was originally conceived as a tool for bloggers – and some of its functionality still reflects that intent. Most WordPress themes for general use are designed to showcase the site’s blog posts as the front, or home, page. But not all users choose to have a blog, and for many, it is more important to present other kinds of content to visitors on the homepage. Making the switch from a blog page to a static homepage of another kind can be done using your site’s Reading Settings and the Pages editor.
Designate a new static homepage
To change the site’s WordPress homepage settings, you’ll need to designate a page as the desired homepage, which will be displayed as a static or unchanging page whenever your site opens. To do this, select Pages>Add New from the dashboard. Name the new page “Home,” or any name you choose and add the content you want to display on the homepage. When it looks just right, Publish the page.
If you already have a page with existing content that you’d like to designate as the homepage, you can edit that page to rename it “Home,” and publish it again, or simply continue to use its current name.
Create a blog post page
Since blog posts will not be displayed by default as the front page of the site, they’ll need a place to appear as well. To designate a placeholder page for blog posts, create another new page from the Pages tab and give it a name that describes your blog content, such as “Blog,” “Posts,” or “Articles.” There is no need to add content to this page because only the title is relevant. Publish this page too, even though it’s blank.
Customize the reading settings
Once you’ve created these two pages and published them, navigate back to the Admin Settings panel and select settings for Reading. Under “Front Page Displays,” settings options, select “A Static Page.” Dropdown menus allow you to select from the available pages for both the Front Page and the Posts Page.
For the Front Page display, select the name of the page you want to use as a homepage – either the new “Home,” page you created or another of your choice. For the Posts page, select the blog post page you just created, or simply leave it blank if your site doesn’t have a blog. Then click Save Changes. The new homepage should appear as a static front page and in your site menus.
Customize the permalinks
By default, WordPress displays links to a site’s pages as a series of numbers and letters, but creating custom permalinks can help your site’s searchability and ensure that your homepage is clearly designated as such. From the Admin dashboard, navigate to Permalink Settings. Under Common Settings, choose “Post Name,” so that the name of every page or post appears in its unique URL. Then click Save Changes.
Adjust the menus
It is also important to make sure the site’s menus correctly display the new front page and blog page changes. From Settings, select Appearance>Menus. Select “Create a New Menu,” from the available options, which can vary by theme. From all available pages, select the ones that should display in the site’s menus, including the new homepage and the blog or post page that were just created. Click Save Menu to update menu settings to reflect the new structure.
Working with WordPress themes
Some themes, both free and premium, don’t allow the option to override the theme’s core settings to create a static homepage that is different from the post page. Themes that are specifically designed for blogging or other specific purposes like the magazine WordPress theme may not include the Front Page Display settings in the Reading tab.
To be sure that a theme includes the option for setting a custom homepage, check the theme’s list of included features. It is also possible to force this change by creating a child theme from your site’s existing “parent” theme, then making alterations on the code level.
Although WordPress hosting was designed to make online publishing a reality for everyone, it can power sites ranging from small personal blogs to large e-commerce concerns thanks to its versatility and flexibility. The WordPress Settings panel on your WordPress dashboard offers both new and experienced users an array of options for customizing a site’s appearance and functions, including setting the homepage that reflects your brand and the goals of your WordPress site.
- WordPress is highly customizable to suit your business website needs
- The tool was first designed for blogs, so start talking to your new audience with content
- It’s likely that there’s a WordPress theme designed for your specific industry
Now that you understand the basics of WordPress, and how the tools can be customized to suit your needs, let’s start filling your website with content that attracts an audience.
What kind of content can you use with WordPress?
WordPress was originally designed for bloggers, so the content window is text-based. Users can insert not only text, but also images and video of all kinds, with options for repositioning and resizing images right in the content editor.
WordPress also makes it easy to embed video or other kinds of content from external sites, with options for placing these items on their own page or post or inserting them into widgets for site-wide use. WordPress installations include a media gallery where images and other kinds of visual assets can be uploaded and stored.
WordPress is flexible and scalable so that once a site is set up, it can virtually be extended indefinitely, with no limits on the number of blog posts or pages a user can create. With hundreds of themes and plugins available from WordPress itself and third-party developers around the world, it’s possible to change a site’s look and style with the click of a mouse.
A plugin can be added or deleted at any time and its functions customized, as well, in order to stay current with a site’s changing focus and needs. Whether you’re installing WordPress yourself or using your web hosting provider’s tools to do it, you can use WordPress to make a website—no web design experience needed.
Now fill your WordPress website with the right content
The trick is to fill your website with content that supports your brand image, or brand identity. A brand image can resonate with your audience, and keep them coming back to your business for more.
Just be careful not to overdo it.
You can ruin a brand image the same way you can ruin a road trip: overplanning.
A good road trip should have the right crew, a destination, and a loose plan to get there. They also have a mind of their own; with a plan that allows the road to take the reins once the trip has started.
Crafting your brand image, or brand identity, is the same way. You should know your target audience, know the channels your customers prefer, and have a loose plan for what to say when you start talking.
Like a road trip, don’t overthink your brand image. You know your business, and you have the confidence to let it grow into whatever brand it needs to be to speak to your customers.
Who do you want to talk with every day?
A good business interacts with their customers, building relationships instead of transactions or revenue. If you love your products, and could speak about your products for hours, find the customers that want to talk for hours about your products with you.
If you haven’t started selling anything yet, write down the characteristics of your dream customer. Be as specific as possible. What do they like, what don’t they like, what problems do they have, and how do they spend their time? If you have customers, talk to them. Find out why they purchased from your business or like your products. Chances are, your ideal customers may think a lot like you.
Where are you going to go with these customers?
Your ideal audience is somewhere on the internet, having conversations. Your goal is to find out where most customers are talking, and where they’re looking for solutions to their problems. Your products are the solution, so you need to start involving yourself in these conversations to help customers solve their problem faster.
There’s a good chance your customers are spending a majority of their time online reading blogs, or on social media. Secure a professional domain and build a website to house content that helps customers solve their problems. Build social media profiles and start talking to potential customers. Keep the focus off your business, and on helping your customer.
Speak to your target audience like a friend
The most common hang up about reaching out to customers, or starting a blog and writing content, is the fear of what to say once you get there. It depends on your target audience. Be respectful, inviting, and when possible, let the customer do most of the talking. It’s alright for your business to stand for something, and if it does have a perspective, share it.
If you want to dial up the personality, then match it to your audience. If your business is serious and no-nonsense, like a law firm, speak in a more academic tone. If you’re designing craft brews or brewing high-end artisanal coffee, you can take a more creative approach. When using humor, make sure to keep it respectful and helpful. Be yourself and let it come naturally.
Focus on your customer, not your brand image
Like letting the road take control, your brand image can develop naturally as you focus on helping your customers. Once you have the right target audience for your business, and you’re using the right channels to speak to those customers, the rest is about the customer.
No matter what kind of brand image you’re creating, trust is the most important metric. Trust is what turns website visitors into customers, and customers into loyal, repeat customers. A trusted brand means the audience knows you’re there to help them with their problems, and not focused on yourself. A high level of trust can even lead to a higher frequency of referrals, spreading your business across the internet without any extra work, or budget, on your part.
Where we’re going we don’t need roads
You could map out an exact brand image that attempts to present your business as the perfect solution to your customer problems. There’s only one problem: nobody’s perfect. Instead, plan ahead so you know the target audience, the channels to use, and an idea of what to say, but stay focused on helping your customers. If your main focus is helping your customers, your brand builds trust – naturally.
- You can fill your WordPress website with any kind of content
- Speak to your audience like a friend to craft the right brand image
- Focus on helping your audience and customers are more likely to keep coming back
Alright, so now you know what a WordPress website is, you know how it works, and you know how to craft a brand image that attracts the right audience. Now, find out the essential pages you need to get your website ready to publish.
Get your new WordPress website ready to publish
The hardest part about designing your own website is getting enough courage to hit that scary “Publish” button. Once you do that, your business is out there for the world to see–which is a great thing–but you need to know that your site is ready.
Don’t just cover your eyes and hope for the best. With these three important pages, a homepage, an about page and a contact page, there should be no doubt in your mind that you’re ready to start bringing in clients; if you can click that button.
An effective homepage
Your homepage has to do more than just look pretty, it has to answer four important questions, and look good doing it. This is going to be the first impression, the first handshake, for a new customer visiting your site. The only way to convince them to take a chance on you is to answer these questions:
- What Is Your Product Or Service?
- Who Is It For?
- So What?
- What Should Visitors Do Next?
You may know what your product or service is when you look at your site, but a website visitor might not. Make sure that at first glance your homepage clearly explains exactly what you do. At the same time, it should also explain who your product or service is trying to help. That way, if the website visitor matches your target audience, they’ll immediately identify with your homepage and dive deeper.
The hardest question to answer of course is the, “So What?” Your homepage needs to quickly answer any objection a potential customer might have and at the same time show why your product is unique to the rest of the industry. What can they get from you that they won’t find anywhere else?
After you’ve given all of this information to your visitor, next you have to get them to do something. If you don’t, a potential customer may take in the information and then click the back button. You need to tell them what to do to next, with a clear call to action button like shop now or learn more, displayed directly where they will see it.
A useful about page
The About page is your chance to show customers that you’ve already solved their problem in the past. Visitors of your About page are likely looking for a reason to buy a product or service from you, the validation that you’re experienced and the kind of help they need. Help them reach that conclusion.
If your brand has a sense of humor, this is where you can show it off. If you’re in an industry that’s all about getting things done, no funny business, then use the About page to convey your professionalism and competence. Share how you’ve overcome obstacles and how that will help the customers visiting your website.
A clear contact page
Website visitors go to your contact page for one thing: to get in touch with you. Whether it’s a problem you need to fix or a potential sale, you want to make it as easy as possible for a visitor to find your contact info or they’ll leave to find someone else.
Before you list your contact info you should briefly remind them what you do, with just three sentences or less. Then clearly list all of your contact details to answer the following customer questions:
- Where can I find you?
- When Can I find you?
- How can I contact you?
How to know if you’ve succeeded
You’ve probably been telling everyone you know, and some you don’t, that you’re building your own website and launching a brand. There’s bound to be at least a few people that still know nothing about your business. Sit these people down over a coffee and watch them go to your website, and click through the pages. Listen to their feedback.
Take careful notes when your test website visitors go through your website. If there are any points where they paused too long to read something confusing, or didn’t understand where to click next, that’s where to start.
Make sure to keep checking that people who are fresh to your site know exactly what it is you do from your homepage, how your experience is going to solve their problem on your about page and how to easily contact you from your contact page. If you get it right, your website will debut and start building the kind of traffic you had dreamed about before starting to build your site.
It’s time to get your business online with WordPress and Domain.com
Your new business idea deserves to be seen by the rest of the world.
Create a website with Domain.com and WordPress to start growing your business and find the customers that want to buy from you. Before you go, double check that you’ve followed all of the right steps to build the best WordPress website for your business:
- Correctly download and install WordPress
- Setup your WordPress settings
- Fill your WordPress website with content
- Publish your website to the world!
Rather than trying to test your new business idea with the powers of imagination, get it in front of target customers with the power of the internet.
It’s time to get your business online. It’s time to publish your website. It all starts with the right domain from Domain.com, and the tools from WordPress.