**Note from Brandon, co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast: The following is a guest post from my friend Shawn. Shawn is my go-to web guy when I need stuff done for my real estate company. I asked him to write up this guide to help the BiggerPockets audience in case you want to build your own website – and he didn’t disappoint. The following guide is epic! I don’t get any money for saying this – but if you need web design, hosting, or something else.. talk to Shawn!**
I get it.
You need a website for your real estate company, but don’t know where to start.
I mean, do you just search Google and pick a rabbit out of a hat? And what’s it going to cost? We’re bootstrapping, right? Let’s use the one resource we have at our disposal — time!
If you follow this guide, in less than two hours you’ll have your very own WordPress website out for the world to see.
Are we going to be coding? Nope! We’re going to stay away from any code and anything technical. Let’s keep it simple.
If this seems outside of your comfort level, just follow this guide. I promise you’ll figure this out easily. That’s why I created this guide, to walk you through it, step by step.
So, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get this show on the road!
First, Why You Need a WordPress Website
If you want to be taken seriously and not look like a fly-by-night operation, you need a professional website that you can keep up to date.
If someone researches your company and all they find is a random business listing on Google linking to your personal address, that doesn’t exactly scream, “I’m a professional.”
Now, why WordPress?
It’s a content management system that’s been around for 13 years and was used by more than 26.4% of the top 10 million websites as of April 2016. If that doesn’t sell you, what if I told you that you can manage all of your content easily without having to know a lick of code? Yep, no code wranglers needed.
WordPress is also great in how it organizes content for the search engines. Search engines love the organizational structure and index these websites better and more quickly than static websites.
OK, for real, let’s get started!
Step One: Purchase Your Domain Name
I know, domain name, what in the world is that? You said this wouldn’t be technical!
Don’t let the term confuse you. It’s easy, it’s just the address you type in to visit a website like BiggerPockets.com.
That domain name needs to be registered so we can use it for our website.
You can purchase a domain name from thousands of providers online, but we’re going to go with NameCheap.com because of the platform’s ease of use and the simplicity of their process.
Head on over to https://www.namecheap.com/domains/registration.aspx.
Now, type in the domain name you’d like to register.
In this case, I’ve typed “graticle.design” simply because I needed to register that domain name anyhow for our company. It’s available, as you can see in the screenshot below.
Now, what if your domain name isn’t available?
Bummer! Time to get creative.
I won’t be able to help you come up with a unique name, but I can show you how to search tons of names at once, rather than trying domain names one at a time.
You see that “Bulk Options” link? Click it.
Now, enter all of the domain name ideas you have (I sure hope you have more and better ideas than I did!)
Now, click the “Search” button.
Voila! Like magic, I found two sure things! 🙂
Now that you know how that whole process works, let’s purchase our golden ticket.
Click the cart icon for the domain name you want to use:
A cart will pop up. Click the “View Cart” button:
2. Add Hosting
Now, two easy steps — disable domain privacy (unless you want that, of course!) and add hosting to the order. Yup, NameCheap makes this super simple to handle right now!
Wait, hosting? What’s that?
I’ll keep this simple. Every website online has to have hosting. It’s where your website files are stored. Feel free to Google “What is hosting” if you’d like to know more on it. Remember, I promised to make this non-technical!
When you add hosting to your account, it will show the screen below. Select USA or UK (depending on if the majority of your customers will be in the USA or UK) and click the “Add to Cart” button.
Now, we just need to review our order and then click “Confirm Order.” Almost finished with the order!
If you already have an account, you log in, and if you don’t, go ahead and create an account. This step is foolproof, so I’m not going to outline those steps now. If I could recommend one thing, don’t list your home address. Use a PO Box or your office location. You don’t want any of your website information tied into your home address, right? 😉
Continue checking out until your order is complete and paid.
3. Following Instructions to Access Your New Hosting Account
Our next step is to check our email for the instructions to access our new hosting account.
The most important aspect of this email is the cPanel Access. This is where we’ll be going to install WordPress.
- cPanel URL (where we will login)
- cPanel Username
- cPanel Password
Once logged in, you’ll see the cPanel in all of its glory!
Don’t get intimidated. We’re ignoring 99% of what you see here!
4. Install WordPress
Since we’re setting up WordPress, let’s dive right in and get that going.
Scroll down to the heading “Softaculous Apps Installer” and click on WordPress.
On the next screen, click the “Install Now” button!
The next screen looks tricky, but don’t fret. It’s actually quite simple, and we’re going to walk through it together.
- Choose Protocol: Leave this as the default “https://”
- Choose Domain: Your domain will be listed, but if you already own multiple domain names with NameCheap, then just make sure the correct domain name is listed where you want WordPress installed.
- In Directory: Leave blank
- Site Name: Type in your company name or whatever name you want!
- Site Description: Describe what the website is about (you can change this later, so it’s not a big deal right now to get it 100%).
- DO NOT enable multisite!
- Admin Username: Don’t use “admin”! It’s predictable, and hackers love it because they can start guessing your password. Use something like your first initial and last name, or you can even use your email address — anything but “admin”! (Jot this down, we’ll need it later!)
- Admin Password: Get the strength bar to say “Strong 100/100” — this will make it less likely someone can guess your password in the future. Remember, you’re going to put a lot of work into this website, and the last thing you want is for someone to get in and erase all of those hours you’ll put in. (Jot this down as well — we’ll need it for later!)
- Admin Email: Make sure this is an email you can access. If you forget your password in the future, this is the email you’ll use to reset it.
- Select Language: Obvious. 🙂
- Limit Login Attempts (Loginizer): Check this.
- Advanced Settings: Skip!
- Select Theme: Select a theme that you like. There are many, so keep hitting the arrow until you find the one you like and then click the “Select” button underneath it.
- Email installation details to: Enter in your email address again.
- Click the “Install” button!
You may get an error on the following screen like this one:
Since this is a brand new hosting account, we’re going to click that box in the screenshot. I’m not going to explain that error since it’d put you to sleep even faster, so let’s move on!
Scroll back to the bottom and click the “Install” button again.
Whew! Now we’re talking!
You see the “Administrative URL” on the next screen?
5. Log in to WordPress
Click that link. That will always be our WordPress login address. You’ll want to jot that down as well.
Type in your username that you jotted down earlier.
Type in your password. Click “Log In.” And…
We’re logged in to WordPress!
6. Choose a Theme
The last step is picking out a theme for our website. Although I selected a theme during the installation, for some reason or another, it wasn’t actually installed. No worries — we’ll handle that real quick!
Hover over “Appearance” in the sidebar and click “Themes.”
Click the “Add New Theme” box at the bottom:
Now it’s just a matter of searching for the theme you like and installing it. You can click “Preview” to preview a theme so you can get a good idea of how it will look.
Once you’ve found a theme you like, click the “Install” button!
Once it’s installed, click “Activate” and you’re ready to go!
You can actually install a variety of themes and go back to the “Themes” tab to activate other themes if you change your mind. So, don’t feel like you’re stuck with the first theme you install.
Now you’ve got your very own WordPress website, and you did it yourself! You deserve a pat on the back if you made it this far. Oh yeah, I should probably mention: You may or may not want to let anyone know you did this yourself. Why? Because you’re going to get calls from everyone asking you to do the same for them! If I were you, I’d just share this article with them. 🙂
I hope that helped you and that you didn’t run into any snags throughout the process. If you did, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help you!
Leave all your questions and comments below!