That’s right I am going to show you how you can register a domain, host and then build a website that is going to inform, rank in google and turn visitors into customers for less than $200.
When you first start out in the world of photography you have so many platforms to display your work like a facebook page or an Instagram feed, but all of these Social platforms all need to feed into one main and key location and that’s your own website.
Your website is your online gallery, your showroom where it is open 24/7 and open to customers around the world. Customers can come and visit and tour around, see what you have to offer, your services, check out the quality of your work, view your pricing and hopefully you have your website built so these visitors do one key thing…. they enter your sales funnel or perform a call to action. Whether that be sending you an email or even doing an online purchase. That is the ultimate goal for any prospective or seasoned website to get a sale.
My main website mattlauder.com.au was built on a budget as I built it myself, I didn’t have the technology in it that is available today, it’s wasn’t mobile responsive, it didn’t even run off a content management systems like WordPress, in different browsers like Internet Explorer or Firefox or Google Chrome it looked slightly different and miss aligned, but it didn’t matter, with following some key principles I was bringing in over $200,000 a year through online sales alone.
My website now is state of the art. It has all the bells and whistles, the technology of site design got too much and I needed more time in my day and processes I was doing manually with the site was eating up valuable time and I decided to get it totally redone and updated costing me over $10,000 in custom website design costs.
Though the design all I saw was a $20,000 a year increase in sales which is just standard website growth. It shows that a website is not about bells and whistles, it’s about having a website that works and converts a customer.
So what I am saying is you can build yourself a great website on a budget, showing great images and having great content so you can be found in search engines, informing your visitor, answering their questions with content and then turn that visitor into a customer.
Below I have shown my online sales from my website, just to show that online sales in photography are real. The final figure of $207,758 is low as the updated site launched in late Jul 2016 and missed most of the submitted sales for that first month of the new financial year. This figure is from order customers have placed online, this doesn’t include business the website has brought in where the customer has ordered over the phone or business have paid via an invoice being issued.
mattlauder.com.au sales July 16 – June 17 (July 16 low due to site launch)
When your new to the industry and you have images and or a service to offer the main goal is to enter the industry and manage your financial risk and then grow your business and website as you bring in an income. Pretty much a common sense way to do it. So how do you go about building a low budget website ? Ok let me show you.
HOSTING AND DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION
The first step is to get your website up and running and to do this your going to need two things 1. a domain name and 2. a company to host your website. I have written a whole post on how to pick a good business website domain name that will help you if your stuck, if your not stuck have a quick read anyway and see if your new address has any of the problems I have pointed out.
Now we want to keep our website on a budget so we are going to pick a cheap host that is up to the job, that offers everything all under one roof and that company is Blue Host. Blue Host is a well respected hosting company that offers you the ability to register your domain name with them, add hosting to that domain and then with one click install WordPress which will be structure for your new website. If your new to all this, then this will get you up and running quickly.
I’ll explain the process below.
HOW TO REGISTER A WEB ADDRESS AND PICK A PLAN ON BLUE HOST
With the hosting go “the basic” to start as you can always upgrade. When you look at the options the basic has it all. You have 50 gig of storage which is massive. What you need to look for with hosting is Bandwidth, this is the traffic that goes between your host and your visitors website when their browser is going requests to your host for images and files to make up the pages they are visiting and for us photographers the image files can add up. So using bandwidth is what can blow out a lot of small packages with other hosts and the hidden fees for exceeding your bandwidth is similar to going over your $50 mobile phone plan and getting a $500 bill… remember those. But with all of Blue Hosts plans it is unlimited which is great and perfect for us. So no hidden fees.
You get a free domain registration with your plan, you can host 5 other domains off your account and you can have 25 domains sitting there but not hosted.
You can have 5 email addresses so for example you can have your basic email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and a personal one with your name maybe email@example.com so as you can see 5 email addresses covers all aspects of a business easily.
You get a SSL certificate for free which again is great, as if your website is secure it is not just a ranking factor now for the google search engine it also gives your customers a feeling of security when on your website. My website is secure and I use it as a sales pitch on the checkout page letting customers know they are surfing and purchasing safe while on my site. Builds customer confidence to make them do business with you.
WHAT THE EXTRA’S MEAN ON YOUR HOSTING PLAN
Once you pick your domain and it is available you come to the next window where you can pick your package length and extras. It is really up to you how long you want to host with them for but take the benefit of deals that re presented.
Some of the extra options are:
Domain Privacy – When you register a domain your details are listed with WHOIS which is a legal contact for the domain and it is public information. People knowing this info isn’t bad what is annoying is you get the website building and SEO company Ambulance chasers trying to contact you to use their services. A good idea is when you register, to use a gmail account that you don’t monitor just to register. When you set up your account with Blue Host use a proper monitored address.
Site Backup – Yes it is always good to have a back up plan for your website but with a company like Blue Host they are going to have their own security on the servers to protect against attacks. So I wouldn’t pay for this personally.
Search Engine Jump – No company or program can promise priority with Google. With good site layout, content and SEO tactics you will get your own engine jump of your own. Your presence in search engines will come down to the competitive nature of your industry and people in your local area.
Site Lock Security – With all the badges and banners out these days what are the odds that your customer is going to notice a logo. Seeing your site secure with https:/www. will be enough, though the anti spam will be handy but nothing that can’t be controlled with your own built in website spam plugins and email application.
WHAT IF YOU HAVE A DOMAIN NOT BOUGHT THROUGH BLUE HOST
If you have a domain that you have purchased through another company it is very simple to transfer it too Blue Host. Log into your account where you purchased your domain name and look for where you can change what’s called the name servers.
The name server is your address to where your website is. For Blue Host the name servers are:
So with your nameservers replace the ns1. and ns2. with the exact details given to you by Blue Host and you are now connected to them. If your having trouble finding it with your domain company it is a very common thing to change so they will have details to find them. For those who have domains with Go Daddy here is a link to where to find these details.
NOW INSTALL WORDPRESS
Now you should have your domain and hosting all sorted, your nameservers should be pointing to Blue Host (that’s if you moved a domain name from somewhere outside of Blue Host). Note that you will not see anything on your domain yet as nothing is there. We are now going to get WordPress installed on your server.
1. Log into your Blue Host account.
2. Navigate to cPanel and click on WordPress install.
3. Now click Install.
4. Now select the domain you want to install WordPress on. Select the domain you just registered, leave directory blank and click “Check Domain”.
5. Once the check has been complete agree to the terms and condition and advanced options.
6. Under advanced options this is where you can give your site a name and you will set up your Admin name and Admin Password. Just note that your Admin name cannot be changed once made. You can create other accounts in wordpress but you cannot change the first admin name.
7. Now check “Automatically create database”. You need a database as this is where everything will be stored for your new website.
8. Then click “Install”.
9. You will be told that WordPress is installing and once complete re directed to a page with details regarding your site and admin log in.
The admin login for WordPress is always your web address followed by /wp-admin.
Now log into your new website for the first time. Congratulations you now have a website to call your own. This is a big step and you should be proud to get this far.
FIRST TIME SITE LOG IN HOUSEKEEPING
In the Blue Host set
If you want to change your admin
That’s it for now… on with adding something to this skeleton of a website and get it looking more like a place of business.
INSTALLING A THEME
Your website at the moment is like a gallery that is yet to be fitted out and stocked. Skin and Bones. What you need is a theme for your website. Out there are hundreds and thousands of themes you can buy that have been made for WordPress. Some themes are specific to the kind of website yours is going to be. For us we want a Photography based theme. The most cost effective way to doing this is to buy a premade theme and tweak it for your use.
For beginners I would recommend using a theme that is made by a company where most of it is just drag and drop, all the themes are responsive and because they are a from big companies you know that they will always be updated. Buying a theme from places like Theme Forest some of the themes no longer get updated by the creator to be compatible to new versions of WordPress and the last thing you want when you have a website that is now your online business is it closing due to problems with the theme.
A few of these big companies are:
1. Elegant Themes. (Here is a list of photography websites made with there themes). We will pick one of these for our test.
Some links to smaller companies sold through large template distribution sites. These are good just make sure you get a theme that is popular and they may require you to have a high knowledge of playing around with settings.
These should get you started and give you an idea on what’s out there.
ELEGANT THEMES – DIVI BUILDER
Ok… we are going to choose Elegant Themes as our example to get your website up and running. Check out Jordanna Marston website. This was made with Elegant Themes. At a cost of $89 per year or $249 for lifetime. When you look at her website or any of the others listed in those 16 examples that is an amazing price for a website like that. Sure that is just the financial cost and there is a massive amount of time that goes into refining a website and adding content, but when your starting out your time has no monetary value, where about saving the physical dollars here.
To purchase and install Elegant Themes you simply download the theme or builder you want and then in your WordPress admin go to Appearance > Themes and “Add New” “Upload Theme” and navigate to the .zip file for your downloaded theme install it.
PICK A THEME OR USE THE BUILDER
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