Build Your Own Business Website

The Definitive Guide for 2020

This guide to build your own business website includes instructional content, videos, downloads and plenty of shortcuts to keep you engaged and moving forward. To ensure you don’t get stuck, I’ve set up a Facebook support group where I’ll answer all of your questions.

It’s all free, by the way. I don’t charge anything to teach you how to build this simple business website. The tools you’ll need aren’t free and unfortunately I can’t give them to you. BUT they’re inexpensive and more than worth every penny. Need proof? This website and every website I build is done this exact way.

In this comprehensive guide to build your own business website I’ll cover:

  • Where to acquire professional tools and resources without overpaying
  • How to properly setup and use your new tools and resources
  • How to create & gather high-quality content and graphics including logos & eye-catching visuals
  • How to correctly setup WordPress & your theme
  • How to design & build engaging web pages
  • How to extend your site’s functionality with contact forms
  • How to optimize your website for mobile and speed

So, if you want a professionally designed website for about what you’d pay for a nice dinner out, you’ll love this guide.

Let’s get started.

Build Your Own Website Like a Pro - The Definitive Guide

Contents

How to Build Your Own Website Chapter 1: Project Kickoff

Chapter 1: Acquire

How to Build Your Own Website Chapter 2: Setting Up Technology

Chapter 2: Install

How to Build Your Own Website Chapter 3: Gather & Create Content

Chapter 3: Build

How to Build Your Own Website Chapter 4: Design & Build

Chapter 4: Extend

How to Build Your Own Website Chapter 5: QA Testing

Chapter 5: Launch

How to Build Your Own Website Chapter 6: Optimize & Launch

Chapter 6: Grow

CHAPTER 1:

Acquire

How to Build Your Own Business Website Chapter 1: Acquire

In this chapter we’ll start the same way I start all projects, with a kickoff to focus us on what we have and what we need. In order to do that we need to understand what the moving parts are, where to get them, what to spend money on, and how much to spend. We’ll go over:

  • What the Moving Parts are and the Three Buckets They Fit In
  • What is Needed, What It Costs and Where To Get It
  • Gathering, Creating and Developing Content
  • Gathering and Creating Art

Understanding the Moving Parts

A website is simply defined as an internet destination made up of one or more pages under a common domain name published on at least one web server. That means in order to have a website you need to have:

  • a domain name
  • a web page with content
  • a web server to host and serve your web pages

That’s at the very least. We’re not doing the very least though. We’re going to give this real effort using professional tools so there are a couple more things to add to that list.

  • A Content Management System (CMS)
  • Professional Design Tools
  • High Quality Images and Graphics
  • Advanced Knowledge and Expertise

I’m going to walk you through exactly how I design and develop websites every time I do it. Doing it the same way every time helps me produce websites quickly without sacrificing quality.

This is the process and products I use for this website and all the ones I design.

What You’ll Need & How Much it Costs

All the things you need can be acquired in a few places for about what you ‘d pay for a nice dinner out. There are thousands of places across the web where you can get what you need but quality and price varies greatly. Fear not! I’m going to save you a lot of trial and error.

Over the years I’ve tried a bunch of different combinations. The services that I’ve found that provide the most return for the price are:

Item

Cost

Domain Name Registration (Per year)$15.95
Siteground’s Startup Hosting (Use My Link & Only Pay $3.95/month. Regularly $11.95/month.)$47.40
Avada Premium WordPress Theme (One-time licensing fee)$60.00
WordPress Content Management System (CMS)FREE
Premium FunctionalityFREE
Stock Photography, Video, GraphicsFREE
Total$123.35

That’s it. $123.35 and a few hours worth of work and you can have a professional quality website!

ACTIVITY – Get What Your Need

In a perfect world everyone starts from scratch so we’re all on the same page all the way through. Unfortunately the world isn’t perfect. So choose the combination of products from the box below that best describes your situation and then proceed to the next section.

I’m starting from scratch.

You’ll need to get a Domain Name & Hosting from Siteground and then get a license for Avada.

I already have a Domain Name.

Get Hosting from Siteground and then get a licensed copy of Avada.

I already have a
Domain Name & Hosting.

Get a licensed copy of Avada.

Note that this guide doesn’t cover other hosts or registrars so setting up WordPress and Name Servers will be up to you.

Content & Design Resources

Part of the acquisition phase is gathering up all of the content and art that you’ll need to build your website. The website you’re building comes with some images but you’ll want to change them to make it your own. If you need help in any of those areas, there are a few resources below to help you get there.

Tutorial: How to Design a Simple Logo Yourself

Article: Planning Content for Your Website

List: Best Free Design Resources

ACTIVITY – Resize your Logo

Step 1: Upload your logo here: https://onlinepngtools.com/resize-png (Visual Instructions)

Step 2: Change the dimensions to 150px x 50 px (or whatever half your original file is)

Step 3: Press “Save As” and download your logo to your computer.

Now you have 2 different sizes for your logo.

Logo sizing examples for website design.

After you resize your logo you’ll have a regular size (1X) for normal monitors and a Retina version (2X) at twice the size for higher resolution monitors. This graphic is for illustrative purposes only.

CHAPTER 2:

Install

How to Build Your Own Website Chapter 2: Setting Up Technology

At this point you should have all the tools you need to build your website. Everything doesn’t have to be 100% written and every picture doesn’t have to be selected and downloaded. However, you should have an idea of what pages will need to say and where you can get art to fill the gaps.

Now we’re going to move to the hosting account and get everything installed and ready to build.

In this chapter I’ll cover the basics:

Inside Siteground

  • How to Setup your SSL Certificate
  • How to Create Email Accounts
  • How to Install WordPress

Inside WordPress

  • Setup WordPress
  • How to Install, Update  & Register Your Theme
  • How to Import WordPress Content

Inside Avada

  • How to Import Theme Styles & Settings
  • How to Customize the Theme to Fit Your Brand

It is important that you perform the steps in this chapter in the order they are listed. If you try to import the WordPress XML file I’m giving you with this guide BEFORE you install the theme and corresponding plugins, it will fail. Then when you do it the second time you’ll have duplicate pages and content. It isn’t the end of the world but it’ll slow you down.

Inside Siteground

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How do I set up Siteground?

We’re going to get everything we can out of the way now so we don’t have to come back for awhile. To do that we need to get to the account’s dashboard. (Example)

Step 1: Login to Siteground and if you haven’t already, install WordPress.

Step 2: Click “Websites” at the top and then click the “Site Tools” button. (Your Destination)

This is your hosting account dashboard for your domain name. You can find everything you need here to manage your domain name and the most important things for you right now are found in the side menu.

  • Name Servers – if you need to know what your Name Servers are, this is where you find them.
  • SSL Certificates – this is where you set up your SSL certificate.
  • Email – This is where you create email accounts.

Setup Your SSL Certificate

Step 1: Click on ‘Security > SSL Manager’

Step 2: In the Install area make sure your domain name is selected in the Select Domain drop down.

Step 3: Select ‘Let’s Encrypt’ in the Select SSL dropdown. (NOT Let’s Encrypt Wildcard)

Step 4: Press the orange Get button.

That’s it. Your SSL Certificate is now installed.

Setup Email Accounts for your Website

Step 1: Click ‘Email > Accounts’ in the left side menu

Step 2: Create as many email accounts as you like in the ‘Create New Email Account’ area

It’s really that simple.

Manage Your Email Account

You’ve got an account and now you either need to know how to check it or how to forward it to an account you will check, right? Right.

On the main ”Email Accounts’ page there will now be a a ‘Manage Email Accounts’ section below the ‘Create New Email Account’ section that you just used. One the right hand side is a menu accessed by clicking the three stacked dots. You can check your email there and also get the information needed to set up your phone or email software.

If you want to forward the email, there you can do that by going to ‘Email Accounts > Forwarders.’

Inside WordPress

In this section we’re venturing inside WordPress where we’re going to perform a quick first pass on the settings. Then we’re going to install and setup the theme before moving on to importing our working content.

The video reviews the process that is outlines in the toggles below.

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How do I Setup WordPress?

Watch the extended video.

WordPress should already installed so now you need to run through some basic settings to make sure everything you do from here on out is done right. There are a few settings that we need to take a quick look at especially if you’re starting from scratch or you’re new to WordPress. These are the bare minimum. You should read through all of the settings but. for the sake of time, these three are the ones you should pay the most attention to.

Login to WordPress: Login to your WordPress admin area by going to “yourdomainname.com/login” (obviously replace yourdomainname.com with whatever your domain name is) (WordPress Login Screen)

Admin Menu: After logging in to the WordPress Admin area, you should see a vertical menu on the left side of your screen that looks like this.

Scroll towards the bottom until you see Settings (as shown).

Step 1: ‘Settings > Reading > Search Engine Visibility’ make sure “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” is NOT CHECKED if you want to be found by search engines.

Step 2: ‘Settings > Discussion’ make sure you uncheck the top three boxes unless you want to deal with a ton of spam comments. The top two are providing any benefit to you and the third one will keep spam comments off of your website. Only turn that on if you are serious about managing comments and discussion.

Step 3: ‘Settings > Permalinks’ make sure you select Postname. It is better for your SEO when URLs are short and descriptive. SEO structure should be intentionally inserted in the title, hierarchy and architecture.

Thats it for WordPress first pass. Pretty simple huh?

How do I install my theme?

When you purchased Avada, you should have been prompted to download it to your computer. If you haven’t done that yet, go to themeforest.net and download the file called Installable WordPress file. (Example) You can download all of them but we’ll only use that one.

Installation Steps

Step 1. Navigate to ‘Appearance > Themes’

Step 2. Press the ‘Add New’ button towards the top left.

Step 3. When the button changes to ‘Upload Theme’, click it again.

Step 4. A new area should appear below that button. Click ‘Choose File’ and navigate to the folder where you downloaded your zipped Avada theme file containing ONLY the Installable WordPress files.

Step 5. Select it and press Open or Enter.

Step 6. Press Install Now.

Step 7. On the next screen Activate the theme.

Note: If you run into trouble and get an error it is probably because you’re either trying to upload the wrong zip file OR you aren’t uploading a zip file at all. Remember, you only want to upload the zip file that contains “Installable WordPress Files Only.”

Your Theme is now activated but there are a few steps to take to get it ready to style. Your version may be slightly different depending on when you purchased it, but the process is the same. You’ll notice there is a new navigation item at the top of the black WordPress administration menu labeled Avada. The items listed under Avada correspond to the tabs above the video on the Avada welcome page except for the last two: Fusion Patcher and Theme Options. We’ll get to those in a minute. The areas where we’re going to spend our time right now are Registration, Plugins, and Fusion Patcher.

Register Your Theme

Step 1. Navigate to ‘Avada > Register’

Step 2. Click the ‘Generate A Personal Token’ link.

Step 3. Name Your Token – It’s handy to name it after the website

Step 4. The required fields should already be checked but you should still verify them.

Step 5. Agree to the terms.

Step 6. Press Create Token Button

Step 7. Copy the Token & Paste it into the box provided on your site and press Submit.

Congratulations, you’re legal now.

Apply any Patches or Updates

  1. Go to ‘Avada > Fusion Patcher‘ and click the blue ‘Apply Patch’ button next to each update.
  2. Go to ‘Dashboard > Updates‘ and apply any updates.

Import WordPress Content

  1. Download This File named WP-Export.xml_.zip and unzip it. Keep it handy because you’re about to upload it.
  2. Navigate to ‘Tool