Training Provider’s Website Guide Part 4: A Business Card Website

Aug 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Starting a Training Business

This is part of a series of posts we’ll be doing about “Starting a Training Business“.  We want this series to be as helpful as possible to all of our readers, so if you have any questions/comments/clarifications/ideas on how we can improve, don’t hesitate to get in touch! 

The second strategy for setting up a great website for your training business is a standard business card website.  You’ll want to follow the same tips for acquiring a domain that we covered in Part 1 for registering your own domain name.

What is a Business Card Website?

A “Business Card Website” is a website that functions like the digital equivalent of a business card.  You’ll want to make sure your logo, company details, and contact information are presented, and optionally may want to include a short narrative about what your training business does.  Training companies should also include details on certifications, accrediting bodies, and courses offered.  We don’t recommend spending much time on individual event listings as there are more elegant ways to address this than manually updating your site every time you add or remove a course, but we’ll cover these later.

There are plenty of ways to attack a simple business card website, but we recommend using tools that will afford you the option to grow in the future.  That way, if you find yourself with free time or the resources to enhance and extend your training website, you won’t have to throw away your work and start over.

Website Framework / Platform / Contement Management SystemWordpress is the number one content management system in the world.

There are lots of great frameworks (sometimes referred to as website content management systems) out there, but our recommendation is to use WordPress.  First released in 2003, WordPress now powers an astonishing 22% of all new websites and has been downloaded over 65 million times.  While it originated as a classic blogging platform, WordPress now powers some of the largest and most complicated websites in the world and handles everything from E-Commerce operations to the humble blog.  Even thetrainingbusiness.com runs on WordPress!

Advantages of WordPress:

  • Massive user base
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to theme or “skin” the look and feel
  • Familiar to most web designers and techies
  • Easy to find a host
  • Easy to extend with thousands of plugins
  • Millions of “how to” and other blog articles in case you need help

Finding a WordPress Host

WordPress can be a bit beyond the reach of most non-technical people to configure and install, so we recommend choosing a web host that will handle these details for you.  Once WordPress is configured and setup, you’ll be able to do everything you need via the graphical control panel.

WordPress Hosts We Recommend

  • WPEngine – the fastest, easiest to use WordPress host out there, and what we use here at TheTrainingBusiness.com.  They are more expensive than other options but are well worth it!  Plans start from $29 per month and you can try them for 60 days.
  • WordPress.com – the commercial arm of the group that originally created the WordPress software.  They offer plans starting from free, with additional small fees if you want to use your own domain name.
  • Page.ly – another good option that provides you premium WordPress hosting with plans starting from $24 per month.

How are these hosts different from the myriad of $3 per month hosts out there?  First, they take away the headache of installing, upgrading, securing, and maintaining your WordPress installation which can take quite a bit of effort.  Second, they’ll provide support if something breaks.  Lastly, you get what you pay for!  Other cheap hosts generally have really poor track records for uptime, security, and support.

Designing Your Default WordPress Install

When you receive your default WordPress install, you’ll notice it lacks character and you’ll want to replace this with something that is a little easier on the eyes.

Try a Free Theme First

It’s always best to try a free WordPress theme if it’s your first time using the engine.  There are plenty to choose from here: http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/ and you can’t go wrong.  If you don’t like a theme, simply revert it.  You can also search for wordpress themes and find thousands of really high quality themes available.

(Optionally) Purchase a Theme

If you’d like to see what’s available for purchase, head over to ThemeForest and look within their WordPress category. (http://themeforest.net/category/wordpress)  There are hundreds and thousands of WordPress themes you can buy for very low cost.  Just make sure whatever themes you buy is WordPress compatible, and it’s smart to check the reviews for details of user experiences prior to purchasing.

Use WordPress to Fill Out Your New Theme

Now that you have your theme selected and installed, fill out the default content with your own.  There are great wordpress tutorials and howtos available here: http://wordpress.org/support/

Quick Tips Before You’re Done

  1. Make sure you hook up your social media pages (most themes have icons where you just put in the link to your social media pages)
  2. Test your site by running through and clicking on every link.

Coming Up Next – Optimising Your WordPress Install!

We’ll help you optimise your WordPress site with some of our favourite plugins and metrics gathering tools!

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