I often hear other Real Estate Agents talk about how difficult it is to set up a WordPress website. Their troubles are some variation of the following:
- They already have a WordPress website except they’re using WordPress.com instead of WordPress.org (the self-hosted version – this is what you want to be using for your business).
- They don’t know what hosting is, let alone how to get a hosting account and install WordPress.
- They’ve installed WordPress, but it looks boring. They don’t know how to make it look pretty.
- They’re afraid to make changes to their WordPress website for fear of losing something or breaking something.
All very real and very valid challenges. But here’s the solution…
The $100 Sandbox:
For less than $100, you can set up your own sandbox – a testing environment for playing with WordPress. To see what works and what doesn’t. Make changes, break stuff, practice learning new code, etc.
Here’s what you do…
Go to Bluehost.com and purchase a hosting account. You can purchase a hosting account for less than $100 per year (that’s cheap). During the sign-up process, they’ll ask you if you need a domain or if you already have a domain name that you want to use. It doesn’t matter what domain name you pick at this point, you’re simply setting up a site for testing purposes. A playground of sorts. For example, I use mywpplayground.com to test new themes, and test new theme changes before implementing them here on [RicardoBueno.com].
Once you’ve purchased your hosting account, scroll down to where it says “Software/Services” in the control panel. There, you’ll see a WordPress icon – click on it, and you’ll be able to do a one-click install to set up WordPress on your new hosting account.
Now you can:
- Learn WordPress by clicking through the dashboard to see what’s what.
- Practice writing a post or creating a landing page.
- Practice changing the color scheme of your website by editing the CSS.
- Implement changes in your new sandbox before deploying those changes on your live site. This way, if something doesn’t work out the way you intended it too, you’re not breaking stuff on your primary domain.
Your sandbox is literally your playground for learning, testing, and tweaking new stuff on WordPress. All without worrying that you’re going to break stuff (that’s sorta the point here). Pretty cool, right?
Here are some excellent (free) resources to help you get started with WordPress…
- WPBeginner – this website is full of great resources to help you get started with WordPress.
- Getting Started with WordPress – this one is straight from the WordPress codex and has tutorials for both beginners and intermediates.
- Introduction to Blogging – this is a great resource if you’re still having some trouble wrapping your head around how the WordPress CMS (content management system) works.
- The Genesis Guide for Absolute Beginners – this is an excellent, comprehensive resource if you’re using the Genesis Framework on your WordPress website.
- More Genesis Tutorials – if you want to learn more about the Genesis Framework and child themes, you’ll learn most of what you need to know here. This covers everything from the Genesis basics like understanding Child Themes to in-post SEO settings, lay-out settings, and much more.
- Don’t Fear the Internet – this website has some excellent video tutorials on understanding basic HTML and CSS. This series of video tutorials are great whether you’re a beginner or intermediate. Watch, take notes, practice in your new sandbox environment and get wicked good at understanding HTML and CSS.
There’s more than enough content there to help you get started. The rest is really up to you to get your hands dirty. Set up your sandbox, test new stuff, break stuff and get movin’ on building your real estate website!
[PHOTO CREDIT: Jon L. Clark]