So it turns out that a little time, energy and trial and error DOES in fact pay dividends. This week, I’ll be sending off a commission check for close to $4,500, an amount of money large enough to buy one of you a very nice car. I’m happy as can be about sending that payment off too. I’ve made some serious money in the past two months (grossing over 5 figures). The majority of that money was made by selling my expertise, much of which I didn’t have just a year ago.
Yes, you heard me right. One year ago, I didn’t have 80% of the knowledge and expertise I have today on WordPress, CSS, HTML, Online Payment Processing, Email List Building, Webinars, Landing Page Conversions, etc.
So, you might be asking “Kraig, how did you learn it all so quickly?” The not-so-secret reality is, I replaced all the time I WAS spending at my full-time job and put it into learning and building things online. We’re talking thousands of hours in the past year alone (the average person spends over 2,000 hours at his or her job in a year).
Lucky for you, I’m not a hoarder of my knowledge. I didn’t learn how to create kick-butt websites just for my own selfish reasons (okay maybe a lot of it was for that), but I also did it so I could teach others what I learned as well.
I’ve created a lot of really nice sites throughout the past year, many of which people paid me big money to build. Here’s the best of the best of what I’ve learned:
First, Build Your Site on WordPress
WordPress is BY FAR the best software platform to use for the majority of website builders out there. It’s open source, so it’s free for all of us to use (HUGE WIN). Unlike other free software, WordPress (the self hosted version, also known as WordPress.org) is NOT HOSTED for you, which means you have to install the software on your own web server.
This may sound like a disadvantage, but being able to install the software on your own server is a HUGE advantage. This gives you FULL CONTROL over everything. You own the site. You own all the code. You can edit any part of the code you want. Finally, you can do anything you want with your site.
The other free platforms out there like Blogger, Tumblr, Typepad and even WordPress.com (the hosted version), are also free, but they do not give you the software to install on your own server. Instead, they allow you to set up a site on their platform, not unlike setting up a Facebook profile. Do you own your Facebook profile? No. Can you add any feature you want to it? No. Same thing with the blogging/website platforms I just mentioned. You want to stay away from them and go with WordPress.org if you’re serious about creating a kick-butt website.
Second, Host Your Site with Bluehost
Look, you could literally spend 30 hours researching hosting providers and talking to your brother-in-law or friend’s cousin to figure out where to host your site. That’s a complete waste of time. I have a proposal for you. How about if you only spent 15 seconds deciding where to host your site and in the process, choose one of your absolute best options?
Here’s the answer: Go with Bluehost. Yes, I do have an affiliate relationship with Bluehost. I’m not hiding that. But, even if I didn’t, I’d still recommend them to you as the place to start hosting your first site with.
Why? Well, let’s take a look.
Here are Three Reasons to Use Bluehost to Host Your WordPress Site:
- It’s EXTREMELY well priced. You can pick up an account for $4.95 per month (Note: You’ll be paying for 1-3 years up-front, so the monthly figure is actually an average per month). If you can’t afford to get a Bluehost account, something is seriously wrong with either your finances or your priorities in life. Additionally, with your Bluehost account, you’ll get one year of a domain name included.
- You can install an UNLIMITED number of websites on your account: Yes, unlike other hosting services, you can install as many sites as you want to. I’ve got somewhere around 10 websites hosted on my account and can add as many as I want. They all work great too.
- It’s EASY AS CAN BE to install WordPress. I’ve used other services. I’ve got clients who have everything from GoDaddy to InMotion to everything else that exists. Not one of them has been easier to use than Bluehost. In fact, they are all much more complicated to use. Installing WordPress in many cases takes a 30 minute phone call to their technician. What a pain. Installing WordPress on Bluehost is a 5 minute DO IT YOURSELF job. And yes, even people who have no clue can do it.
Here is How to Set Up a Bluehost Account and Install WordPress:
Here’s my Bluehost affiliate link, which will get you a great price on a Bluehost account, if you’re interested.
Third, Install the Genesis Platform and a Kick-Butt StudioPress Theme
Look, I struggled for YEARS (literally) trying to find good themes for my WordPress sites. I finally settled on one called WP-Clear for this site. Out of the box, it looked like crap, so I did a ton of customization to it to get to what you’re looking at now.
For all the sites I’ve made since my Mathias Media site, I’ve been using StudioPress themes running on the Genesis framework. What is a “framework” and all that? Who really knows and who cares. The point is, it ROCKS.
So, you’ll need to buy them together (Genesis framework + a StudioPress theme). Genesis has all the code for SEO and the responsive design, etc. And the StudioPress theme gives you the really polished look.
Here are the steps to set this up:
- Go to StudioPress.com (*Affiliate link) and click “Themes” at the top
- Find one that you like (Warning: Finding only one you like will be hard to do)
- Buy both the theme and the framework (It’s $99 or so combined.)
- Install them
A quick note on installing them. Once purchased, they will give you a username and password to the StudioPress site. Log in (obviously), then download the files. They will both be .zip files.
Next, install them on your WordPress site like you would any other theme and do Genesis first. Note: Do not activate Genesis, just upload it. Next, install (and activate) the StudioPress theme.
Finally, you’ll want to go through the set up directions for the theme you purchased. It doesn’t come out of the box like it looks, but it does give you directions to help you recreate the demo look. Use them.
This is a proven way to build great sites. Just ask my clients. These sites are good enough to sell. I’ve made several thousand dollars in the past few months building these sites for clients.