I’m constantly debating with my clients and the visitors here about the nature of a business website. Do you “set it and forget it” like some business-owners would like? Can you just build it in a few minutes like an easy-build website and watch the dollars roll in? Unfortunately not.
I made a few errors in setting up the widgets in this video and had to go back and fix them – but such is the life of a web designer.
I wanted to see how fast I could build a business website to prove how flexible and easy-to-use WordPress is. So I created this fully-functioning business or company site without writing one line of code in 15 minutes. However I wouldn’t recommend you build a website this way for a client. Always stress to a client that a website is a living breathing entity that requires regularly updated quality content to attract visitors and leads.
The tools I’m using are WordPress and the Agency theme on the Genesis theme framework. But I don’t do enough with them! You should always improve and personalise any theme you use – otherwise the website you create will look like thousands of others.
Please note that the links above to the premium theme are affiliate links. I will make a small commission on any sale through one of these links. If you’d like to make a sale through one of these links I’d be very grateful but, if not, that’s OK as well!
This is why I always like to decide upon a website design first by creating mock-ups in Photoshop. This way the client can see the pages and make changes before the website development starts.
But if you want to set up a business website in a few minutes, here’s what I did:
Set up the theme
Upload a logo
Using the Appearance > Header function in WordPress I uploaded a logo. Note: I place the logo in the middle of a 115 pixel tall PNG this made sure that the logo didn’t appear too near the top of the page.
Of course, writing the text of a web page can take longer that a few minutes! In the video I created a few pages which started with a few lines of text, then a paragraph return and then a
<!--more--> tag. Each of the pages had an image size of 450 pixels wide and 291 pixels high. All these details were necessary to get the jQuery slider working.
Create a contact page with a contact form
I usually use Contact Form 7 plugin to create the contact form. Awesomely easy plugin to use – multi-lingual too!
Set up a navigation menu with drop-downs
Go into Appearance > Menu and create a menu (with drop-downs if you wish).
Once saved you can add it to the Header Right image area. The drop-downs work automatically and can be “fancy” (slide down elegantly) or not, as you wish. Drop downs in a top navigation menu do provide an extra bit of impressive functionality to the website that most don’t bother with.
Create a home page with a welcome message
This is a simple matter of adding a text widget to the Home Welcome widget area. It creates a welcome headline and a strapline with a call-to-action:
Create a jQuery slider
The best thing about the Agency theme is a fantastic jQuery slider that adapts to mobiles and other devices. Setting it up is a breeze (although I managed to mess it up!)
First of all you need to load the Genesis Responsive Slider and then drag the Genesis – Responsive Slider widget into the Home Slider widget area. Then all you have to do is go Genesis > Slider Settings to get it to work as you want.
Bear in mind the slider pulls in the first image from the post or page it features. Create all the images the same size to avoid confusion. And remember to add the
<!--more--> tag after a paragraph break.
Create 3 blog posts
Every business in the world will benefit from adding a blog to their website. Blogs are quite simply the best way to add pages to your site that will be indexed by search engines, shared by social networks and attract customers for years and years to come.
If you’re not blogging now you will be in the future so it is quite imperative that you start as soon as possible. Here I quickly added three blog posts with subheadings, photos and bullet points that run to over 500 words in length.
Add three featured post widgets
The home page of the Studiopress theme has space for 3 widgets underneath the jQuery Slider. (By the way, widgets can be anything you want them to be and you can have as many as you want. Their number and position is stipulated in the functions.php of the theme).
Here is the first of the Genesis Featured Posts widgets that I put in to show the most recent blog post (heading, featured image (280 pixels by 100 pixels) and excerpt):
I entered the same widget settings for the Home Left, Home Middle and Home Right widget areas. The only difference was the Number of Posts to Offset option in the Genesis Featured Posts Widget. I offset the posts by 0, 1 and 2 respectively, which meant the three most recent blog posts will be presented on the home page in this attractive way with a featured image, headline and excerpt.
These are highly clickable and can increase visitor engagement.
Create a sidebar
Finally, I add a few widgets to the primary sidebar area, which isn’t visible on the home page but is visible on all the individual posts and pages. I add the list of blog post categories, the 5 most recent blog articles and latest tweets widgets into the sidebar. This is also a great place for an email signup form.
Other things you need to do
This isn’t the end – it’s not even the end of the beginning! There are a host of tasks you need to perform after installing WordPress:
- Create a favicon
- Create a Google XML sitemap
- Register with Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools
- Create a robots.txt
- Install Akismet
- Set up Google Analytics
- Ensure your page titles are working properly
- Register the business with Google+ Local or Google Places or whatever they’re calling it this week
- Add social sharing buttons
- Add a caching plugin
What you can do
Clearly, there’s a whole lot more to creating a website and a business than setting one up in 15 minutes with the Agency theme. But, it’s great to know that we are flexible enough to do this. Knowing that I can perform tasks in 15 minutes that would have taken me weeks or months a few years ago gives me confidence.
The ability and flexibility of these tools can push us to greater and greater challenges. If we can create companies at the drop of a hat, what else can we do?