Without a decent web presence, you’ve got very little opportunity to show potential clients what sort of magic you can work with wood. It’s the spot for a portfolio of your work, the place to showcase recommendations and a way to display your contact information and availability and it’s the best place for your blog. One of the simplest setups you can work with is WordPress.
WordPress.com Vs. WordPress.Org
If you’re striving for a professional-looking site using WordPress, skip the options offered by WordPress.com and go with the ones offered by WordPress.org. The former is an all-in-one hosting, domain, and design service. The latter allows you to take your site to the host of your choice and register the domain on your own dime — potentially saving you big bucks.
WordPress.org’s ability to tinker with the bones of the format means you can customize things endlessly to meet your needs, beef up security and add extra features that WordPress.com would charge extra for — like setting up an online shop or booking application.
What You Need to Set Up a WordPress Site
You need hosting. This is the space you use to store your website. Much like your workshop takes up space in the real world, every photo, text post and page you set up has a space requirement. The more storage space you have, the more you can create and show off.
Hosting also gives you bandwidth — think of it like virtual appointment slots. The more bandwidth you have, the more customers can access your pages. While free hosting is available, it almost always comes with tons of ads. Skip the free hosting and opt for a trusted, paid host.
You’ll also need to register a domain name. If you don’t, you’ll be stuck with a bulky web address that no one can remember. Keep it short, simple and to the point and expect to pay an annual fee for use. This is the Internet equivalent of paying for a shop on main street versus a backwoods address that doesn’t even register on a GPS.
You’ve Got the Host and Domain — Now What?
Now you’ll need to go to WordPress.org and download the platform coding. This is the “raw material,” if you will, that builds your WordPress site. Most hosts offer easy one-click installation of WordPress coding: it’s that ubiquitous. If not, WordPress offers a handy installation guide to get you up and running in about five minutes.
Once you’ve installed WordPress, it’s all personal preference. Set your site to have a static home page instead of the default “blog only” setup. Pick a theme you find visually pleasing, input your color choices and business details. Don’t be afraid to play with the options given: there’s very little you can do that can’t be undone if you don’t like it, and WordPress.org and its forums are full of tutorials and people who will gladly help you out if you need it.
What’s a Plugin?
When setting up your site you probably noticed the option for Plugins — these are aftermarket add-ons to WordPress. They aren’t created by WordPress proper, and anyone can make one, so read reviews of them before installing one. Of them all, the most essential ones to install right away pertain to security: Akismet protects your blog from spammers, keeping it free from unnecessary traffic and those who would do your site cyber harm. Wordfence is a security plugin that most pros trust to keep out attackers and keep your data safe.
WordPress for Woodworkers
If you’re looking for an easy to setup website and blog, WordPress.org is the way to go. Buy some hosting and a relevant domain name, download the code, upload it to your host and get ready to rock the Internet.