There are a many companies that issue SSL certificates and the products are essentially the same, but the price varies dramatically. Why would anyone pay more for the same product? The only valid reason is that one company may have better support in the event that you have a problem installing the certificate. Some of the companies offering cheap certificates do not have good reputations, but whether this justifies triple the price (or more) is questionable. You can check out the reviews for companies that issue SSL certificates by doing a Google search, or compare SSL prices here.
A theme provides a template for your website that you can customize, to make your website look the way you want. Themes contain a lot of code and it is very important that it be well written and maintained for security and bug fixes. There are 3 options when choosing a theme:
- A free theme: There are many free themes available and some look really nice, however, I would only recommend using the free themes provided by WordPress (see below). If you use a free theme (other than one from WordPress) there are no guarantees that the theme will be maintained in the future and there is less technical support available in the event that you need help. Of course you can always access free forums, but this is obviously not as good as having paid access to support that you get when you buy a theme.
- A free theme from WordPress: WordPress provides several free themes that are packaged with your WordPress software when you download it. They will be fully supported, but may not match your tastes. Free themes provided by WordPress can be found here.
- A premium theme: If you go to Themeforest, you will find hundreds of premium themes. The prices are variable, but most are around $60 (one-time fee). There are many advantages to using a premium theme, especially if you use one of the top 10 (or so) of the most popular themes. They will be supported for life, they usually have free software added into the package (for example Avada provides Fusion builder and X-Theme provides Cornerstone and several other plugins, such as revolution slider), and they offer technical support, which is extremely useful if you’re a beginner. Premium themes are only $60 and well worth it. For comparison: Avada, the top selling premium theme comes pre-packaged with it’s own builder (called Fusion builder). If you were to buy a similar builder on it’s own (like Beaver Builder) it would cost you $99. Avada also comes with several plugins and features, such as revolution slider, which by themselves justify the full price of the theme. Premium themes are sometimes criticized because they do not undergo an official review process, some may have code bloat and the theme could be discontinued at some point in the future. These concerns can be minimized (except for the code bloat problem), by choosing one of the most popular themes. The code bloat may admittedly be an issue (though I don’t know to what extent), but unless you want to use the Gantry framework (less user friendly than themes), or learn to code yourself, you’ll have to live with it. I do not know what if any problems code bloat causes – the Avada theme is very stable and appears to run fast. At the time of writing, Avada and X Theme are the two most popular themes respectively and are used on hundreds of thousands of websites. A list of the best selling themes with ratings and other information can be found on the themeforest website. I have used Avada and X Theme. Each theme has its own eccentricities that may take some time to get familiar with, but you will figure it out if you stick with it. Tip: if you see a website you like and you want to know what theme they are using and/or what plugins they used to help generate their content, you can copy and paste the URL of that website into a theme detector such as the WP Theme Detector. Go ahead and try it with my website. There are lots of other theme detectors, just search Google with something like: œfind out what theme a website is using. If you decide to hire me to help you build your website, I’m really only familiar with Avada, it is the number 1 top selling premium theme and if you are a beginner, I’d recommend you use it. I have also used X-Theme to a limited extent. Having experience with Avada and X-Theme will allow me to pick up on using the other themes a lot faster, but there will still be a learning curve. Since you can customize a theme to achieve virtually any look, there are few reasons to venture away from Avada, or one of the other top themes, if this is your first website.
Page builders are used to insert and format content for your webpages. For example: when you design a page, you will need to organize the layout. If you want to display a picture on your website, you’ll want to choose how big it is and where it will appear on the page. In addition, you may wish add functionality such as a zoom in effect when you hover over the picture. It is the advent of page builders that has made this process accessible to the average person who does not have computer programming knowledge. Before page builders and themes, this process required a person to write code, which takes a lot of learning and effort. Page builders are software programs that make the process of building webpages intuitive, by providing an interface with click and drag functionality and dropdown style menus, that most of us are accustomed to using. Each page builder comes with its own features and some are more intuitive and useful than others. If you end up purchasing a page builder separately, Beaver Builder appears to be a good choice, based the reviews I’ve read, though I haven’t tried it myself. It is $99 for the standalone page builder, but you can pay more and get a theme with it. I have used themes that come pre-packaged with their own page builders: X-theme comes with a page builder called Cornerstone and Avada comes with Fusion Builder. I have used both and found them to be reasonably good, once you get the hang of them. One drawback of using Cornerstone is that once you start using it, you have to continue to use it. You cannot make a change to your website using any other means; for example, if you edit some text using the default WordPress editor, you can no longer use Cornerstone to edit that page. Since Cornerstone is a good page builder, this isn’t usually a big problem, but it is something to note. Fusion builder does not have this limitation. Some of the other top rated page builders include: Velocity and Visual Composer. My preference is for the Avada theme and their Fusion builder.
1. Do you really need a WordPress website?
- WordPress is a great option for most people, however, if your purpose for having a website is to sell something online, you might want to try ebay, or Amazon, etc. first. Alternatively, consider using an eCommerce platform, such as Shopify.
2. Should you try to build a website yourself?
Sure go for it! If you are comfortable using software such as Microsoft word, or even if you just use a computer to surf the net and check email, you’ll do fine. There’ll be a few frustrating moments, but if you stick with it, you’ll figure it out.
3. Why use WordPress?
WordPress is very versatile, good for search engine optimization, relatively easy to use and by far the most widely used platform for building websites.
4. What you need to know about WordPress: WordPress.com versus WordPress.org
WordPress.org provides the WordPress software for free, but everything else is up to you (web hosting, theme and all the set up). This option provides the greatest flexibility. WordPress.com is basically a web hosting company. They provide a very secure platform, but it is a little more expensive and you will be limited in how you can customize your site and in what plugins you can use. You also won’t be able to use a page builder, which is a big negative if you are a beginner. WordPress.com does have a free option that may be suitable for bloggers who just want a simple website to share their blog with the world.
5. How to Perform Market Research and Design a Strategy to Attract People to Your Website
There are a number of free, partially free, or paid tools that allow you to spy on your competition. These tools will tell you things such as: the keywords they score well in, demographics of their viewers, websites that have backlinked their site and many other things. It is important that you to learn about your competition and think about these things before you start generating content for your website.
6. How to choose a domain name
Purchase your domain name from your web hosting company, or NameCheap. If the .com you want is taken, consider using on of the hundreds of alternative top level domains such as: .tech, .me and .io, etc. Some people will argue that these are not good domains for businesses, but in my opinion, these are perfectly acceptable alternatives to .com.
7. What is the best web hosting provider?
SiteGround! Bluehost is also highly rated but I have not tried it.
8. What is an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate?
An SSL certificate allows you to encrypt data transfer between the host computer (the computer your website is stored on) and the client (the person looking at your website). If you do not use https encryption, data transferred between host and client computers is vulnerable to hackers. If you have an SSL certificate installed, your web address will change from http to https. Google gives a small boost in ranking to websites that are encrypted. Everyone should use encryption.
9. What is a theme and what one should you choose?
A theme is software package that you add to your website that allows you to create the look you want quickly and easily. I recommend using Avada, it is the top selling theme. I do not recommend using any theme that is not in the top 5 or so of the all time best sellers because you will want your theme to be maintained for life. The free themes provided by WordPress are also acceptable.
10. What is a page builder and what one should you choose?
A page builder is a software package that lets you add content to your website without the need to write any code. If you use the Avada theme, it will come pre-packaged with their own builder – called the fusion builder.