Once you have registered a domain name and directed it to your new web host, your site is ready to start serving up your content to users who request it. Unfortunately your site is likely still blank – this is where content management comes in.
To manage your content you have a few options. You can do it the old fashioned way and program your own HTML or other code, you can use desktop publishing software, or you can go with a content management system. I recommend using a content management system because it is quick, efficient, and usually free.
What is a Content Management System?
Content management systems are typically used to collaborate content submissions from several different users. Right now, I am the only person managing content here at AndrewCMacDonald.com, but over at BiggerPockets I am just one of many contributors. A CMS like WordPress which we use on both of these sites makes it easy for users to submit or edit content, and for the webmaster or editor to coordinate all of this content.
Even as a real estate investor where you may be the only person editing the content of your website, a CMS makes it easy to create, edit and update. If you like the idea of being able to easily edit your own content at any time, a CMS is your best bet.
There are many content management systems out there. Some are paid, and some are free. After using several of these in the past, the one I prefer and recommend is called WordPress.
Here are the 3 main reasons I recommend WordPress as a content management system:
1. It’s easy to install
WordPress is very easy to install. Most good web hosting providers even have some form of automated installation which will have your site up and running in less than 5 minutes.
2. It’s easy to use
If you can use email, you can use WordPress. It is one of the simplest CMS systems I have found, and is very easy to learn. Using a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) style editor, it’s very easy to create and edit your content.
3. It has lots of support
Most content management systems offer themes, plugins, and some sort of community, but I have found WordPress to have the most abundance in all three of these support categories. There are tons of themes to customize the look of your site, lots of useful plug-ins to add functionality, and a great community to fall back on if you have any sort of problem with your site.
Setting It Up
To install WordPress, look for the automated installation through your web host. Once you find this automated installation, it’ll look something like the image above. Just follow the directions, click next a few times, and you’ll soon have a site up and running on the world wide web.
If your host does not offer automated installation of WordPress or you’d like a little more customization right off the bat, check out Installing WordPress for a more detailed guide on manual installation.
Once your installation is complete, your first order of business is to login to your account and start creating some content. You can create content under 2 main sections; pages or posts.
Pages are the static pages on your website that won’t change. For example, your “About Us” or “Contact” pages.
Posts are the new content you add on a regular basis (such as blog articles if you so choose). These posts will be published in your RSS feed, and will show up on your home page by default.
For more details on getting started with WordPress, here is a great guide: First Steps With WordPress.
In the next article I’ll cover some basics on styling and customizing your site to make it your own through the use of themes and plug-ins, so stay tuned!
photo credit: NicoleAbalde
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