Building Your Own Website Safely and Smoothly

Five things I have learned over the past few years.

I wish I had learned them earlier!

Build Website Safely So much has been written about building your own website that I hesitate to add to the collection. But if you’re a marketer today, you must have a website (if not more than one) and that means either you build it yourself, or you hire someone else to do the job. The goal, of course, is to have that building process go smoothly, with as few interruptions as possible.

The headline above tells you I’m a relative beginner. Certainly, most of the people I work with have been doing business online for years and years. (That usually translates to something like 12 years, at the most!) What I have discovered, though, is that these “experts” have to keep changing their websites, too – simply because the whole online world keeps shifting and developing!

So, don’t feel intimidated about being a “newbie,” since a lot of people are in that same boat with you. Here is some of what I have discovered about building a website. I hope you’ll find it instructive. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

1. Start with WordPress.

Even a few years ago, there seemed to be a number of competing platforms for websites. These days, the leader, and growing bigger every day, is WordPress. Don’t waste any more time deciding — start with WordPress (.org, not .com), where you’ll get the most training, the most enhancements, the most support. And WordPress is free.

2. Invest in paid instruction.

You can get hours and hours of free online WordPress training – articles, illustrations, videos. The problem with free assistance? Time! You may spend hours, even days, searching for the answer to your simple question, and even then, it may not work because the source you’re using was created 18 months ago and is now completely outdated. Buy a course. Depending on what is included, you may pay from $50 to $350 for it. See if you can find one that has a private Facebook user’s group affiliated with it. You’ll get answers to the things that are stumping you. (Groups are amazingly generous.) You may make some new friends, as I have. And you’ll have a place to come when you start looking for private “tech support,” a little later down the road.

3. Figure out what security plug-ins you need, and get them installed. From the get-go.

Several excellent security plug-ins are free, like Wordfence Security and iThemesSecurity. You need one or more. Understand the settings. (Unfortunately, they are complicated for the uninitiated.) Run the scans. Don’t think that because you’ve got “just a couple of pages up,” that you’re immune from hackers. Opening your web page and seeing a message like the red one above is a terrible way to start a day!

4. Back up your work.

As you build your website, back up, back up, back up. In three different places: on your computer, on an external drive, in the cloud. Again, there are free and paid back-up programs. Your Facebook user’s group or your website course leader will be able to suggest which is best for you.

5. Keep everything up to date.

Hackers and scam artists and whatever other bad people are out there focus on WordPress, just because it IS so popular. And every time WordPress updates, all the ancillary programs and plug-ins that connect to it have to be sure they still work. I update something every single week. I’ve even had to make a chart with my sites down the left column, and check every update off as I complete it, otherwise I can’t keep track. (There are programs that let you update everything from one place.)

What happened to me.

Four years ago I started building my own website following suggestions 1 and 2 above. I got to the rest of them as I got hacked, locked out of my own sites, and repeatedly warned. When YOU start, see if you can start with all 5 of the above recommendations in mind and in place. The ride will be a lot smoother!

Virginia Nicols
The Marketing Machine®


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