If you’d love to create your own WordPress website but all the different terms and lingo make your head buzz (plugins, themes, hosts, domains, aaarghh!) then this is the guide for you. We’ll show you why every digital nomad needs a website and explain all the terms you need to understand to get started.

This post includes some affiliate links to products we love and use <3

 

Today I’m going to talk about something that is really important for any (aspiring) digital nomad girl out there, and that’s: websites!

I know there can be a huge barrier to creating your first own website, and I totally get it as I was there myself, not that long ago.

I remember how hard it was for me when I first started out – the jargon was confusing and the sheer volume of information was overwhelming. So I took it step by step, ended up falling in love with WordPress and now I even design websites for other people sometimes.

My website helped me get great clients, put myself out there and learn great new skills. That’s why I think it’s so important that every digital nomad girl has her own website.

 

Every digital nomad girl, I hear you ask? Yes, each one of you.

Digital nomads are entrepreneurs, freelancers, bloggers and Jills of all Trades, but no matter your background, profession or experience, you should have your own website and here’s why:

Take Control

Ok, so maybe you’re a freelancer and you find all your work on platforms like Upwork or People Per Hour. You might be making a great living, but you have no control over the platform you’re using. One day, Upwork might decide to double its fees (like they did in May 2016), or close down, or get hacked. Then what? As unlikely as it sounds, technology changes quickly and it’s risky to put all your work eggs into one basket. Having your own website means you are in control.

Brand yo’self

Freelancing is becoming increasingly popular. A LinkedIn profile or Facebook page are not enough to really stand out from the crowd. Freelancers are starting to understand the power of personal branding and your website plays an important role in your brand. It is your own little corner of the web that you can make completely yours. Instead of having to please every potential client, you can talk to the audience you want to attract, and be authentic and real, all while remaining professional.

 

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Be found more easily

Whether you’re looking for takeout dinner, cute kittens or a quote about a new kitchen, where do you turn?

Google, that’s right.

And so will your potential clients. Having your own professional website will make it easier for clients to find your services, especially if you’ve positioned yourself as a professional in your niche. You want to be on different platforms, use social networks AND have your own web presence to make it as easy as possible for others to find you.

Collect leads

A website is much more than a business card or portfolio. You can use it to collect leads and grow your email list, which is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to online entrepreneurs and freelancers. Don’t miss out on this chance to grow your list, even if you don’t think you need one yet.

Increase your credibility and showcase your portfolio

Even if you find your work through word of mouth or through freelancing platforms, your own website gives you credibility. And let’s face it, we are digital nomads, not just nomads. Your own website shows you’re serious about your business and a professional. You can showcase past work, share testimonials from past clients who loved working with you and show new clients all you have to offer them.

So you see, having your own website brings huge advantages.

But why do so many digital nomads not have a website yet? Because it’s scary! For non-techies it can be especially daunting. Do I need to learn code? Which platform do I choose? Will I design it myself or do I have to spend a fortune for a web designer? The good news is that over the last years it has become so much easier and intuitive to build your own website, and it doesn’t need cost a ton either. Some of you won’t have the time or patience to create your own websites either, and that’s totally fine as well. But if you are playing with the thought, read on to find out how to get started.

Here’s how you can create your own professional website using WordPress. I will talk you through each step and use super simple language.

 

Which platform?

Well, let’s just say there are MANY platforms out there. Some of the most popular are SquareSpace, Wix, Weebly and WordPress. To make it even more confusing, WordPress has two different versions!

Two different WordPresses??? Why oh why?

There is the free-to-use, but much less powerful WordPress.com, and the fully flexible WordPress.org which requires self-hosting (we’ll talk about what that means in a minute). There are pros and cons to each of these platforms, but today we will only talk about WordPress.org.

The reason I think WordPress is the best option is that it is 100% customisable, it’s affordable and you own all your content. Many other platforms technically own your content (it’s in the footnotes, I checked). And while you will have to pay for your own hosting, and possibly even a theme, with WordPress, it’s still one of the cheapest options.

Ok, so you believe me that WordPress is a great option to get started? Awesome! Here’s what you’ll need to know to create your own WordPress website:

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Domains: your website’s address

The domain name is the name of your website and the address that allows others to find it, like real addresses help people find your house. Every website needs a domain name, so you will have to think of a good one. Many freelancers use their own names (if still available), or you can think of a unique name for your business.

Make sure it’s recognisable, easy to spell and professional. You can register your domain (buy it) from any domain provider or even from your hosting provider (which we’ll talk about next). Depending on the provider and the type of domain (.com, .co.uk, etc.) you will pay around $10 per domain per year. GoDaddy is a good option and you can find a link to them here.

Hosting: a place for your website to live

If you’ve looked into WordPress.com and .org before, you probably came across the word “hosting”. It sounds a bit daunting, like something out of Star Wars, right? That’s how I felt when I first started making sense of WordPress. Basically, a host is like your landlord. Hosting companies own servers, and your website will live on one of these servers. There are many different types of hosting, but a simple plan will be more than enough when you’re just starting out.

I personally use Siteground for all my websites now because they have amazing customer service, are really affordable and are very reliable. You can get hosting for one year from around $4 per month, and they take their customer support very seriously at Siteground (I have spent many a fine hour on their live chat at different times of day and night).

If you’d like to sign up with Siteground you can use this link here (there’s no extra cost to you – DNG will simply get a small commission, which helps us keep our blog live and running. Thanks!).

Ok, so now you have a domain and hosting, your new website has an address for people to find and a place to live. Yippee!

 

Next: WordPress 🙂

The next step is to install WordPress. This was the step that really confused me in the beginning. I didn’t realise I should install WordPress on the hosting, not on my computer! Oh well.

The good news is that many hosts let you install WordPress in just a few simple steps and sometimes they even install it for you if you contact their support desk. For example, Siteground has a quick and easy 1-click WordPress install.

Once that’s done, you can now access the backend of your WordPress website. Yaaay!

It would take waaay too long for me to explain all the ins and outs of the WordPress dashboard here, but I’ll explain a few important things you’ll need to be familiar with:

Most of you will already know about themes and plugins, but maybe you’re not actually sure what they are.

 

Themes

If WordPress is the skeleton of your website, then the theme you use is the skin, or the outfit (less morbid) of your website. Your theme will define what your website will ultimately look like. So how do you find a good theme? That’s the tricky part!

There are soooo many themes available, some free, many paid, and a lot of them look very pretty. A few things you should keep in mind when picking a theme is how flexible it is and whether it’s responsive. Responsive means that it looks good on all devices – mobile, tablet and desktops – this is really important.

My absolute favourite WordPress theme is the Divi Theme by Elegant Themes. I fell in love with it over two years ago and have built all my websites using Divi. It’s not the cheapest, but once you buy it you can use it on as many websites as you like and you get access to all of the Elegant Themes plugins, all their other themes, and all future updates too.

What I love about Divi is that it’s sooo flexible. It uses a super awesome drag-and-drop builder that allows you to move around different modules (like text, images, videos, sign up boxes etc) really easily and you can customise it as much as you like. Because Divi is so popular, there’s a huge community of Divi whizzes out there who are super supportive and who create a ton of content about Divi. Whenever I need help I just pop into one of the Divi Facebook groups and get help.

 

Plugins

Plugins are also really important. They’re like little apps for WordPress that let you add a tonne of functionality to your website. From security to social media buttons, shopfronts to sign-up boxes, all can be achieved with plugins. Loads of them are completely free to use, which helps to keep the budget down.

I really hope you have a little better of an understanding why you should definitely have a website and also how you can get started with WordPress without being totally freaked out by the jargon. Want more WordPress tools? Download our FREE Digital Nomad Toolbox with lots more tools!

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