I get compliments regularly about my website, G3CFO. I find that interesting because I’ve never been happy about the overall look of the pages, and I’ve never used a designer. I can’t force myself to pony up the funds to do that.
Where does that leave you, especially if you’ve never touched the backend of a WordPress admin area where you create pages and posts and manage other aspects of your website?
Consider Ghost For Your First Website
The advice I give to CFOs starting a practice is to first take a look at Ghost. It’s simple to get started – open an account, pick a theme, and start creating content. You will still need to obtain a domain name first. Here are some of the reasons I like this platform:
- Simple to set up
- Its speed is top-notched
- Most of the design work is already done for your home page, an about page, a contact section
- The service allows you to send a newsletter
A WordPress Strategy
Should you decide to pull the trigger on WordPress but are not sure where to start, then budget $1,000 to get a site set up in 2-3 days. If you are curious, even I can set up a new site in less than ten minutes.
The person you hire to do this work will provide a checklist of what’s needed to get set up:
- As I mentioned earlier, you’ll need a domain name. I get mine at Hover.
- You’ll need a host to set up your site. Don’t let your agency set you up on their service. You want full control. I recommend managed hosting services such as Flywheel or Pressidium. Managed WordPress services cost more than cheaper plans, but the host is managing updates and backups for you. A cheaper alternative is SiteGround. I’ve used all three of these in the past.
- Your agency will probably pick a theme for your site or build it with Divi or Elementor. Don’t let them do that. Go with a theme backed by a firm that’s been around for at least five years. Examples include Astra, Kadence, and numerous others. Plus, you have more control over design changes once you are more comfortable with WordPress.
- While this can wait, if you want to send newsletters to clients and prospects, you’ll want to consider a simple service such as ConverKit, Drip, or Mailchimp. Many other services are available, and your agency can provide a recommendation.
What About Fiverr?
I’ve used Fiverr on a couple of small design projects. I’m sure there are plenty of freelancers in their ecosystem who have created a hundred or more sites for their clients. If you are on a tight budget and need this done fast, then go for it.
I suggest picking a local agency because they can eventually become a referral partner. Agencies work with many small businesses, and with that type of access, they might be able to help you with connections down the road.
You can also step up this tactic by writing your first blog post about your experience with the agency. As a bonus, I’d include several ways to ensure any agency is building a profitable and enduring organization for the long haul. Odds are, they’ll appreciate that article.
Life After The Website Goes Live
Congratulations, and welcome to the digital economy. At this juncture, you probably have a home page, an about page, possibly a page featuring your services, and a contact page.
I don’t have a hard count, but I’m betting at least 50% of CFOs don’t like or don’t want to write articles (blogs in the WordPress world). If you do, consider finding ten topics that resonate with you. Go deep and wide on those articles. There is no hard deadline. Write one per week or one every other week.
Also, you’re not writing for thousands of viewers. Instead, you are only writing for the vital few in your community who may need to read and apply your message.
On my consulting website, every post has been written based on an experience I wanted to share. I can also share my articles with others seeking an answer to a question they are dealing with. My goal is not to land clients; it’s to build authority with existing and future clients. With respect to prospects, many tell me they have read my content, and that enhances the relationship from the get-go.
If you use an email marketing service, don’t forget to get it set up. Will you put out a newsletter? Again, these are activities you’ll have to determine if you want to do. In the early going, the priority and payback on a newsletter will be low.
And Finally …
If you get stuck with a WordPress issue, I’m certain the agency that set up the site can help you. Definitely bookmark WPBeginner, as they are the Wikipedia for WordPress, and their content is easy to understand.
For instance, here are five questions you may have right now, and here are their answers:
- Where should I host my website?
- Should I pay more for managed hosting?
- What theme should I pick?
- What email marketing service should I consider?
- Besides WordPress, what plugins should I install? For a plugin primer, start here.
After reading these posts, you’ll probably find another reason to allow an agency to build your first site. If you do this yourself, you may find yourself going down one too many rabbit holes as the options seem limitless. Regardless of your decision, shoot for a simple solution initially and expand your site as the need and interest grow.