Holy shit, you’re starting a copywriting business? That’s badass. AND TERRIFYING. If technology is not your forte, you might think you’re not capable of setting up your own website. BUT YOU ARE. Honest. I’ve helped tons of people – many self-proclaimed technophobes – set up their own websites with the instructions below.
That’s not to say all of them found it easy – but they got there in the end, and then they had a solid foundation to grow their business from, and a way of getting found on the web, which is kind of important when you consider which millennium we’re living in.
I’m going to show you how to set up a WordPress website, which means you’ll easily be able to start a blog if you want to, and I’m going to show you how to do it using an affordable but GOOD host that’ll set you back less than £100 for an entire year of hosting. So let’s get to it, shall we?
How to Set Up Your Business’s Website
Once you’ve decided what you want your website address (aka domain name) to be you’ll need to put your technology hat on and follow the steps below. If your target audience is global, by the way, you’ll want to get something ending in .com.
Purchase Your Domain Name and Hosting
This is where your website will live. Personally, I use SiteGround and find it to be excellent, which is why the links you’ll find in this post are affiliate links, meaning I get a cut (at no extra cost to you) if you sign up after clicking one of them – though if you have another host you’d rather use, go for it.
All you need for this part is your business name and your credit card – then follow these instructions:
- Go to SiteGround.com
- Click ‘SIGN UP’
- Hit ‘ORDER NOW’ on the StartUp package (this will be fine for you at this stage)
- Enter your chosen domain name and click ‘PROCEED’
- Enter your account and payment information
- Click ‘PAY NOW’
Don’t worry about signing up for the additional extras, either, except maybe the domain privacy thing, which will hide your home address from the whole internet.
Okay, so to add WordPress to your website, which is what you’ll use to add pages and blog posts and change the website’s appearance, you need to follow these instructions:
- Log into your hosting account by clicking in the top right corner of SiteGround’s home page and entering your details (which should’ve been emailed to you)
- Click through to the ‘My Accounts’ tab
- Click the red button near the top that says ‘Go to cPanel’
- Scroll down to the ‘WordPress Tools’ section and click ‘WordPress Installer’
- Click the blue ‘Install’ button, make sure your domain name is selected (you may not
need to change anything) then enter all your other details
- Click ‘Install’ at the bottom of the page (don’t worry about the advanced settings)
If you struggle, get on a live chat session with a member of the SiteGround team. They’re
incredibly helpful. You can do this by clicking the Live Chat button at the top of SiteGround’s home page.
Install a WordPress Theme
This is the part where you decide what you want your website to look like. The important thing to remember here is not to spend all fucking week on it. After all, you can always change it later. Essentially, you want something simple, clean and professional.
Alright, time for another list. Here’s how to install a theme:
- You’ll need to log into your WordPress dashboard first. You should have been emailed information on how to do this when you installed WordPress, and you may have chosen your username and password then, too. You’ll probably need to go to http://YOURDOMAINNAME.COM/wp-admin to log in.
- In the menu on the left of your dashboard, scroll down to ‘Appearance’ and select ‘Themes’.
- Click ‘Add New Theme’ and browse the themes until you find one that takes your fancy. If you don’t like the look of any of the free themes, or just want to get your hands on something you know will work and don’t mind spending a bit of money to do so, you can buy a premium theme. StudioPress has a good selection.
Aaaaaand, you’re done. Your website is now waiting for you to add content to it.
How to Add Pages to Your Website
On your WordPress dashboard, scroll down to ‘Pages’ and click ‘Add New’. Some of the main pages you might want to add are: About, Services/Hire Me/Work With Me, Shop/Products/Courses/Books, Contact. You might also want to create Home and Blog (more on these shortly).
Type the titles in the box at the top, and then write your copy for them in the larger box below, then click ‘Publish’ (near the top right of the page).
After you’ve done that, go back to the dashboard, scroll all the way down to ‘Settings’ and click ‘Reading’. The top option on this page allows you to choose what’s displayed on the home page of your website. The default setting is your blog (‘your latest posts’), but if you’re not planning to start a blog yet, or if you want it to be displayed on a page other than the home page, you can change it: select ‘A static page’ and choose ‘Home’ for your front page. Then either leave the ‘Posts’ page blank or set it to ‘Blog’.
How to Write the Content for Your Pages
Writing the copy for your business’s website is a huge task, so you might not want to do it all straight away, and you might want to get some help with it. For now, you might find these posts I wrote useful:
- 10 Super Easy Ways to Improve Your Website’s Copy
- How to Make Your Writing Slick as Fuck
- How to Write Conversationally
- How to Write Sales Copy That Will Make You Feel Really, REALLY Awful About Yourself
- How to Write with Personality
- Should You Refer to Yourself as ‘We’ On Your Website?
- Should You Write About Yourself in the Third Person on Your Website?
When you’re ready to write (or want to edit) your copy, go back to the ‘Pages’ section of your dashboard and select ‘All Pages’, then hover over the page you want to edit and select ‘Edit’ (not to be confused with ‘Quick Edit’).
How to Start a Blog
If you want to start a blog for your business, the process for creating new posts is almost exactly the same as that for creating new pages – only you do it under the Posts section of your dashboard rather than the Pages section. Crazy, I know.
You might find these ones useful to begin with:
- How to Write Quickly: My Writing Process
- How to Write in a Consistent Tone of Voice When Your Mood Changes ALL THE GOD DAMN TIME
- Why You Need to Blog About Shit That Matters to You
Remember, starting a business doesn’t just happen. There will be plenty of hiccups along the way. And by hiccups, I mean OH GOD WHAT AM I DOING I CAN’T POSSIBLY MAKE THIS WORK moments of crushing anguish. But starting a website – and possibly even a blog if you’re feeling ambitious – is a solid step towards actually fucking doing this, you know? It doesn’t have to be perfect yet (or ever, since perfection is not really a thing). You just need to do it.