Redesigning a Business Web Site in Eight Hours, Using WordPress – Hour One

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Some people consider web design to be a daunting task. I would definitely agree that it was quite tough to write HTML code in Notepad and wait to view the page using your browser. Those days are long gone, though.

In this series of blogs, we will go through the process beginning with registering a new domain name with your selected host and ending with a complete, search-optimized, web site based on a WordPress theme. Along the way, we will make suggestions of plugins that you may want to add to your new site for incorporating social media, WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editing, viewing visitor statistics and many more features.

Let’s start at the beginning – registering a new domain name. You may have a preferred web host and know that the company will give you the best deal on domain registration and hosting. Then again, you may not be so certain of the deal that you have been offered. My experience with Godaddy has been great. In addition to the excellent service and support, I appreciate their economical pricing. I registered my new domain, ncwebdesignprogramming.com, with them and received a year of hosting, as of August 2014, for only $41.88. Yes, that is the price for one year including the domain name registration. To make this deal even better, it can be extended for up to three years at the same annual price.

Have you had experiences of spending hours on the phone and waiting days for a new domain to be active and available? Yes, I have experienced that also – years ago. Keep in mind that this entry carries the phrase “Hour One” in the title. Domain registration did not take an hour – it was closer to ten minutes, if even that long. During that ten minutes, I selected the $3.49 per month hosting account, searched and verified my domain name, submitted payment and received setup verification. Depending on your advanced preparation, your time frame for these processes may vary.

Now we can cover another subject mentioned in the title – WordPress. Due to the ease of setting up a site, my currently chosen CMS (Content Management System) is WordPress. As of this writing, the latest version available is 3.9.1. Other than username, password and email address, all other options were left at default settings. The best part is that, using the GoDaddy “Installatron” Control Panel, you can have the base WordPress installation in place over the next 15 minutes.

Have you kept track of the time? We have less than a half hour into the process so far. With that minimal time invested, we have a new domain name registered and have a very basic site in place. Yes, anyone who visits your new domain name will see the default WordPress template (shown below) instead of an “under construction” page.

Default WP Theme and SiteHave you called a friend across the country or in another part of the world, and they can’t access your new site? This is not your fault, or your host’s. It may take a few hours for updating the DNS (Domain Name Server) entries across all servers of the World Wide Web. This is expected, but complete replication will eventually happen. Depending on the DNS settings on your computer, it could take a few hours for you to access the new site,

A positive side effect is that you have a few hours to improve the site before everyone will be able to view it. With WordPress, you can accomplish quite a bit in a few hours. Since this post covers the first hour, we have 35 minutes to sample and select a WordPress theme that works best for our specific purpose. This process could take hours of installing and activating new, free, themes or it could take a few minutes if you have already selected, and paid for, the theme for your new site. The final section of this article will cover the themes that I have used and the specific application they were applied to.

blog linkemup us siteYou may be thinking to yourself, “This looks a bit familiar.” It should, since that is the site where this blog series is being posted – blog.linkemup.us. This was chosen because of the responsive nature and unique blog design. There are no pages here, only a single blog page. Links are included to outside LinkEmUp entities. These are in the upper right of the page, but they are not shown in this screen shot.

ncwebdesignprogramming.com screen shotThe name of this theme is “spacious.” It was used to design my latest site – ncwebdesignprogramming. Notice the background picture selected. That is actually a composite of two screens selected from the NetBeans programming environment. This background is quite fitting for the focus of the site.

Plain blog test screenshotNext we will look at a blog site that has been heavily customized to display only a few functions. The name of this theme is “Accesspress Lite.” This is a site that functions merely as a messaging front-end before redirecting to a main web site. Functions such as featured section, sliders and social have been turned off to provide the minimized effect shown here.

Winery screen shotThe final theme that we will illustrate is is called “iFeature.” Redesigning an older, but complete, site based on this theme was accomplished within an eight hour working day. The site was designed for a winery and the grape vines in the background picture fit beautifully. What you see in this screen shot is a “shout out” to LinkEmUp for designing their new web site, which will go live in late August, 2014.

You have completed your first hour, or so, of redesigning your business web site using WordPress. The time frame for this, as previously noted, is variable depending on the amount of preparation dedicated  before you begin. The next posts will cover the remainder of an average workday and we will customize the selected theme, apply some add-ins, implement search engine optimization and much more. As they are made available, links between the articles will be posted in each article.

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