Re-Building my Website using WordPress.org

This site began a few weeks ago when I received notice that a site I had previously purchased was being shut down.  I had not done any work on the site.  It remained a non-site lost in cyber-land. This new site is a resurrection of a past site that some of my friends and followers might remember from years ago. The original site has since disappeared into the ether of cyber-land. I imagine the pixels floating around in a TRON-like world. I wanted to build an efficient, modern and easy to maintain website.  I am now working to that end.  So far, the hardest part of this has been researching to find what I wanted when I did not have any idea of what was available.  I do have a little experience in Web building, enough to know it is not as easy as it should be. This is what I wanted for my website/blog and why:
  1. The cost had to be very reasonable.  Why? This is a hobby, more or less, after all.
  2. It has to be easy to build and maintain. Why? I want control of my site. I don't want to call and pay someone every time I need to add something other than a blog post.
  3. It has to look new, fresh, and up to date.  Why? I want a nice well-rounded site that can sell my business as well as something I can have fun with. I don't like the early 2000's blog look.
  4. It has to have tons of features that are easy to incorporate. Why? It's the features like widgets and add ons  that make your website rock.  If they are hard to do you will end up disappointed and having to hire a web designer.
  5. It has to load fast, be responsive across platforms, and do its job.
I began by looking at the package site builders like Wix or Site Builder.  These companies offer free or low cost sites.  They have templates you can chose from. They allow for very little style variation and they are built with proprietary builders and are not easily moved to another host. In some cases they cannot be moved. They increase price and limit features. You might find that they own your website and domain name if you try to move.  These would not work for me. I knew I wanted a site built on the WordPress platform. WordPress is a leader in blogging software and presently is the platform of choice for 28% of the entire world (blogs and websites).  Being open source, it has a great deal of plug-ins, themes, and widgets being built.  I had used it when I build my other websites years ago.  It is not difficult to learn and there are tons of tutorials on Youtube that will walk you through any process. Finding a host for your WordPress site is your first task. There are managed WordPress sites, which do all updates for you and manage much of the background stuff. They can be pricey and at $29 a month was more than I wanted to pay.  I researched and found that many of the same hosts are recommended often.  I spent way more time on this than I should have. In the end I went for one that seemed reasonable with good reviews.  As to how it will work out, I have yet to see. I am using Inmotion Hosting. It will cost me $154 for two years.  That's about $6.42 a month and with all the add ons I wanted. It will increase to $10 a month when two years expire. A theme is the next step for a website. Themes are coding that make a website work.They are the framework for all your content. The theme will control how your site looks and responds.Free themes for WordPress seemed rather plain and boxy. It seemed that unless I knew code, my design choices were set by the theme. Specific themes can be filled with features that a certain business might want. You can find themes for contractors, hairdressers, spas, lawyers, restaurants, photographers, or almost anything else. Some of these themes can cost anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. Many of the paid themes are one time charges. Others are a subscription. After looking a dozens of sites and demos and testing a few on load speed, I was pretty sure they were not what I wanted. My research turned up something that was not available to WordPress users when I had my previous sites.  Page Builders.  There are a few different ones that seem popular, but the reviews all rated Elementor the best.  And it is free. There are a great many tutorials on Youtube on how to use it. It is upgradeable for a one time fee of $49. Its fairly easy to use and is very powerful.  (I upgraded before finishing my site. The cool slide feature on my front page is one of the reasons.) Learning how to use the software used to be intimidating. Now, however, there is a plethora of tutorials on Youtube and the host sites.  The most comprehensive Youtube Video I have found was made by wpSculptor.  Is long but there is a handy timeline in the comments.  It is easiest if you can work on two screens.  One for the tutorial and one to work on. I found my iPad worked well to follow the video.  I was able to pause when the video got ahead of me. And back it up for when I missed a step. So here is what I chose for my site:
  1. Inmotion Hosting  (WordPress is installed as part of the set-up process)
  2. Theme: Generate Press (Free WordPress Theme. Clean and easily modified by a page builder like Elementor.)
  3. Plug-in: Elementor Page Builder  (Free Plug-in.  Upgradeable) (I chose the upgrade)
  4. Youtube video Making Custom Websites .    (by wpSculptor. Step by Step instruction from installation to finished site.)
When this site is done, let me know what you think. I will keep updating as I make more progress.  Or run into snags. Nancy

3 thoughts on “Re-Building my Website using WordPress.org

  1. Half way into the building process I upgraded to Elementor Pro. I wanted the easy to add slide shows and other cool add on features.
    Nancy

    • You could certainly build a free site on WordPress.com. It will not have all the functionality of a hosted site. But is a good way to start. If you think you might want to go for a more advanced site, you can always go for it later on. If you do build a free site on WordPress.com and you buy your domain name, you can take that with you. But if you know you will want to have a site it is easier to find a host and build it there and not have to go through the bother of moving and re-pointing your domain name.

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