Quite often I get emails from trainers that don’t have a website. This seems crazy to me.
A website is the postal address of your business online. Now most bootcamps don’t have a postal address because we run them in parks. So, if you don’t have a postal address or a web address, how on earth do you expect people to find you?
And I’m sorry guys, a Facebook page does not cut it as a website. A Facebook page is too limiting and is also owned by Facebook so they can do whatever they like to it without ever asking you.
Now before you get stressed out and you start telling me that website stuff is too complicated and that you don’t have enough money for a web designer just relax. I’m going to break it all down for you into a simple step by step process that you can do yourself.
When I started meddling around with websites in 2009, I had no previous experience with doing anything web technical.
In fact I was so oblivious to the online world that I had no idea that the average Joe could just go and by his own web domain! I thought you had to be a big fancy company or something.
Learning about websites was quite daunting, even for a Gen Y guy like me who feels pretty comfortable on a computer. Luckily, in recent years the web building and blogging world has developed along with the rest of the tech world making it much much more user friendly then it was even just 5 short years ago when I started meddling.
I was fortunate enough to find a guide like this when I started so I hope this gives you the same confidence that I got.
In this little manual I will teach you how to register and create your own beautiful looking site that you can use as a full blown website for your business or just an online advert and homebase for your bootcamp (or both!).
Step 0. Preparation
Before we get started there are a few things you will need for this journey.
You will need:
- A credit or debit card – this will cost money
- A desktop computer or laptop – this might be a little awkward on your tablet or phone
- An hour of time
We are going to be setting up a website using WordPress.
Why’s that I hear you ask?
There are many website builder kits out there, but I can tell you now they are crap and Google doesn’t like them very much because they use outdated programming techniques.
There are also many other CMS (Content Management Systems – a fancy way to say website organizer) and blogging platforms out there like Blogger and Tumblr but WordPress has really shone as being the most flexible and least restrictive (and fun).
(If none of the above made sense, just ignore it haha)
Now that’s cleared up lets get started on this thing.
Step 1. Domain Name
Your domain name is the phrase that someone types into their address bar to reach your website.
For example the domain name for this site is bootcampideas.com.
The domain name for you might be ralphiesbootcamp.com.
Different domain name suffix’s
You may have noticed that some domain names end in something like .co.uk or .com.au or .ca. These are country specific domain names, if you want one of these for your site, check out this domain name set up guide I’ve written up.
If you are happy with a .com or .net suffix, keep following this guide.
Some tips for domain name choice:
- Pick your business name. Example: theawesomemelbournept.com
- If your business name domain name is already being used by someone consider adding ‘bootcamp’ or ‘pt’ or ‘fitness’ to the end
- If your business name is really long consider abbreviating it or using an acronym to save people typing in a really long web address. Example: awesomemelbpt.com
For this guide I’m going to go with awesomemelbpt.com.
Ok, so now you have your domain name in mind lets move onto step 2.
If your domain name is kind of like the name of your business than your hosting is where it’s physically located.
I use two companies to host my websites, BlueHost and HostGator. Both are very reliable, I am going to recommend to you HostGator and here’s why:
- HostGator’s online customer service is fast and extremely helpful which is fantastic for someone who lives in a different country (like me).
- Their prices are very reasonable. In fact they have given me a special coupon for you to use that will get you 25% off whatever plan you choose. Just pop in ‘bootcampgator’ (no apostrophes) in the coupon section. I am an affiliate partner of Hostgator, so I get a commission for referring new customers. I would still recommend them though even if I didn’t.
- HostGator are very transparent. They offer an easy to claim your money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.
- I am not the only person I know who uses HostGator. All of my friends who use them have had good experiences.
- HostGator is a fairly large company. Like I hear good stories from people who have used HostGator, I have also heard many horror stories where friends have used expensive, small hosting companies. Normally I like to support smaller companies, but in this case a bigger hosting company means more reliability for a lower cost.
- Easy to move. At some point you may find another hosting company that you like better. HostGator’s wizards makes it easy for you to move your stuff.
- Unlimited disk space. This means you can upload videos, PDFs, images and whatever else you feel like to your website without worrying about inuring extra costs or penalties.
The first thing you do is go to HostGator.com and click View Web Hosting Plans.
Click Order Now under the Hatchling Plan option.
Type in the domain name you have decided on. If you already have a domain you will need to select ‘I already own this domain’. Select your term, I recommend 12 or 24 months because you will get a substantially lower rate.
Fill out your details and select your payment method.
Scroll down and choose any add ons you might want. You may want domain privacy if you are using your personal address. It isn’t really needed if you will be using your business details. I am not familiar with site lock so I can’t recommend it.
The website back up feature looks pretty cool and seeing as this is your business site it might come in handy if you get hacked or stuff something up. Again though this wasn’t available when I registered so I use a 3rd party to back up my sites (which is more expensive!).
Don’t forget to add the coupon ‘bootcampgator’ for 25% off your initial order.
Click Create Account and wait while things process. Once it’s completed your hosting account should be ready to go!
Step 3. Install WordPress
WordPress is a piece of software that runs your website just like Windows or OSX runs your computer. So we need to install it to get things going.
Luckily, HostGator makes this super simple by using Fantastico De Luxe (sounds pretty darn awesome doesn’t it?).
How to install WordPress
Log into HostGator using the email they sent you. You will arrive at a place called cPanel (how to log into Hostgator).
From here you can manage all your of website files, email addresses (I may teach you how to do this another time) and things like WordPress installations.
Scroll down all of the icons until you find Fantastico De Luxe under Software/Services. Click on it.
Click WordPress in the sidebar. Then click New Installation.
Fill out the details for your site. You will need an email, a login and a strong password.
Your Nickname is what you will appear as when you post blogs on your website.
You can also type in a name for your site (eg. Awesome Melbourne Personal Training) along with a short description. Don’t worry if you can’t think of anything yet, you can always change this later.
Hit Install WordPress.
Hit Finish installation.
Wait a moment and then ta da your website is nearly ready to go. Make a mental or physical note of the highlighted line below.
Step 4. Your Theme
Design is really important for your website.
I’m no expert but I have picked up a few things as I’ve trundled along. So here are some things you might want to think about before digging into design.
Even if you decide not to design yourself but to hire someone, these points will help you convey to a designer what you want.
- What do you want to use your website for? This will effect what content you put on it.
- What will potential visitors/customers want to use your website for? You will want to make this easy and obvious to find.
- What colours do you want your website to represent? Different colours impact the way we feel about things. Check out this in-depth colour guide.
Spend a few minutes trying to answer these questions before you move to the next bit.
In WordPress, the layout and look of the website is governed by your theme.
WordPress comes with a few themes for you to play around with but if you want your site to stand out you will want to think about purchasing a theme from a designer.
This site runs on a theme from StudioPress. I’ve been using their themes for around 3 years and they are just awesome. The back end is mostly drop down boxes or drag and drop set ups so you don’t need to know anything about coding.
And at $79 to $99 they are much cheaper then hiring a web designer.
StudioPress themes come in two parts. The Framework Theme, called Genesis, which is kind of like the engine, transmission and chassis of a car and the Child Theme which is the paint, 18″ mag wheels, leather seats and wooden finish dashboard.
This site’s child theme is called Balance. I chose it because of it’s minimalist design allowing me to draw attention to the things I think are important.
I would recommend one of their business themes for your business site. If you want more of a fitness blog with your Bootcamp services attached then you could pretty much pick any theme you feel represents your business.
If you don’t have enough choices at the StudioPress website then check out some more at BYLT, a website for third party child themes of Genesis.
Spend a bit of time browsing these bad boys and once you have selected one, purchase it and download the theme to your hard drive. Make sure your purchase includes Genesis AND a child theme (the engine plus chassis).
How to actually install your theme now you have it
I need you to cast your mind back a step now. When you finished your WordPress install you should have been given an admin link.
It would have looked something like awesomemelbpt.com/wp-admin/ only your site inplace of mine.
Got it? Ok go there.
Type in your website username and password and log in. You should now be presented with a screen that looks like this.
- Go to Appearance -> Themes.
- Click Add New at the top of the page.
- Click Upload and than select the downloaded zip file.
- Hit Install Now.
Wait for the them to install. Do NOT click Activate yet.
Repeat steps 1 to 4 with the child theme you purchased. This time when it is complete click the word Activate.
You are now rocking your theme. Sweet!
Each theme is a little different so spend a bit of time playing around with the colour schemes, widget placement and . If that doesn’t make any sense check out this guide from StudioPress (PDF download).
If the theme doesn’t look like the pictures you saw of it, it’s just because we haven’t added any content yet. Let’s look at how to do that now.
Step 5. Add Content
Content is a fancy word that web people use for ‘useful stuff that is displayed on your website’.
Some examples are:
- About me section
- Services description
- Blog posts
- Pictures of your bootcamp
- Pictures of you
In your dashboard you will see options on your sidebar. Pages and Posts.
Pages are where you put all the useful information that doesn’t change very often. Think of we pages like About, Contact, Prices, etc. These are usually accessible via a menu along the top or down the side of the website.
Posts are where we put news, blogs and articles that we write. When you add a new one of these it will be automatically added to the top of your blog section. All of the workouts you see on Bootcamp Ideas are Posts. This article is a Post.
How to use these tools
Let me help you get started by adding an About Me page.
Second to the contact page this is in my opinion one of the most important pages on your site. Think about it, what page do you go to when you visit someone else site?
So let’s create one and I’ll give you a few tips on making a really good one.
But first, a detour to make your site more SEO friendly.
Go to Settings -> Permalinks and change the setting to Post name as shown in this image.
This will give your page and post URLs a nice name rather then a number.
Back to it.
Click Pages -> Add New. This will bring up a new screen like the one below.
Add your title (About/About Me/About Kyle). Then go to big white box below. This is where you will write what you want to be displayed. You can also add images using this button:
Using the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor takes a bit of practice. It’s different from using Pages for Mac or MS Word so don’t expect it to act the same. It is it’s on beast with it’s own good bit and annoying bits.
What to write
So let’s fill out that About Me section now.
As I mentioned earlier, your About page is one of the most visited pages on a website. It is also unique, because on an About page people want to read all about you so it is the perfect opportuunity to tell them why you are so awesome and why your bootcamp is the best without coming off as a sleazebag.
Derek Halpern from Social Triggers (arguably one of the best sites for learning about how to make an effective website) wrote a great article in which he glossed over how to write an awesome About page.
I’m going to change it a little bit for our uses as a bootcamp/fitbiz website.
How to write a great bootcamp About page
- Start with Why. Why does your business exist and what problem are you going to solve for your potential customer.
- Contact us page link/button
- Testimonials. Add 2 or 3 decent sized testimonials or client stories here.
- Contact us page link/button
- Tell the person about you individually. Were you once unfit? Do you have some crazy training? Are you here to cut through all the fitness fads and BS? Get personal and let your customer know who you are. Don’t forget to include a photo of yourself here.
- Final contact us page link/button
Now you have written your awesome About page it’s time to see what it actually looks like in your theme.
Click preview in the upper right corner and a preview window should open in a new tab.
Keep tweaking and previewing and once you are happy with how it looks click publish!
You have just created your first page! Now you can repeat that with the other pages you will need.
Some recommended pages for your site:
- Contact us
- Other trainer pages
Step 6. Personalise and Play
Now that the main chunk of your website content is up you can start playing around with the finer details:
- Again, I really recommend you grab the manual to the Genesis theme. It explains Menu’s, Widgets and how to change the look of your homepage. All of which are important in customizing your new site.
- Also in the above manual is how to install your logo into the header of your theme. I bought my first business logo (and the logo for Bootcamp Ideas) from LogoNerds. You might have more skill then me and will be able to do one yourself.
- The beauty of WordPress is the ability to be able to ‘plug in’ extra features to your site by using Plugins. Want extra functionality? There is probably a plug in that will do it. Here are my favourites:
- Akisimet. This should already be installed. Set it up to stop spamming on your site.
- All In One SEO Pack. If you want to start optimizing your site more.
- Contact Form 7. Use this to set up a contact form. With a bit of playing around you can create a very detailed form. There are better one’s out there, but they aren’t free.
- Facebook Like Box. This plugin makes it easy to put one of those cool Facebook Page boxes in your sidebar.
- Start playing around with the Blog function. This is after all how WordPress started and is a very powerful way for you to communicate with your clients. Posts can be linked to an email newsletter so clients get the news as soon as you post it. Very cool.
- A great site for getting simple design modifications (logo sizes, colour, image tweaking etc) is Swiftly. They promise a 1 hour turn around for $15.
Step 7. Share Your Website
You’re done! Woooo! Now it’s time to tell everyone about it!
Send out an email to your clients. Post it on Facebook. Start getting feedback in case something is broken or you forgot something.
Here is a checklist of profiles you should update with your new website address:
Setting up a WordPress site may feel overwhelming at first so give it some time. It will become more and more second nature as you continue to use it.
Enjoy it as a challenge just like a challenging workout. It will make you stronger and will give you a brand new skill.
Send me an email or ask me a question in the comments below if you have any issues.
I am working this out just like you. If you have any problems ask me in the comments and I will do my best to answer but I am by no means a trained technical specialist.
I’m just really enjoy working this stuff out.
All this information is free, however I do recieve a commission from HostGator, StudioPress and others if you choose to sign up with them after clicking one of my links. This is awesome because it allows me to be paid and you to get this information for free.
That said, I do use both of these products and stand by them working very well for me. I wouldn’t recommend a crappy product to you because, well, that would just be a crappy thing to do.