Home Staging Business Website Setup
Build Your Website
Just like with the business cards, if you have the budget to hire a designer, that’s great! Please vet them carefully and make sure you look at websites that they’ve built recently. Also, make sure they are responsive and easy to get in touch with. You don’t need any kind of elaborate functionality for your home staging business website so don’t let them oversell you.
If you’re going to put your own website together, you have some excellent options available. Back when I started out teaching, options were extremely limited and DIY websites were a bit on the rustic side. Thankfully things have evolved and you can now choose from a range of very slick, professional DIY options.
The first way to go is to get a domain name and use a platform like WordPress. If you’re not familiar with the platform, you can take a look at the WordPress home page right here.
Please note that there are two versions of WordPress. One is WordPress.com, where you can set up a free site but you will NOT be able to use your own domain name. The one you want is WordPress.org, which has the custom domain capability.
WordPress is definitely a viable option, however it will require you to learn a few things. You need to know how to buy a hosting plan, configure your domain name DNS settings, and install WordPress.
Then you will need to learn how to use the WordPress platform, which I would equate to learning intermediate Word skills. It’s not difficult, and there are tutorials online for everything you could ever want to do with WordPress.
As far as the domain and DNS setup, I’m including a WordPress tutorial at the end of this section.
Another option is to use a proprietary website builder such as Wix. From my experience, Wix is the best way to go for a home staging business website since you don’t need the ecommerce capabilities of other web builder platforms like Squarespace or Big Cartel.
I believe Wix is more user friendly, and you can get a plan for $5 to $15 per month. Currently they also give you a free domain name for the first year, which is worth about ten dollars. Here’s an example of a template you can use on Wix that’s geared toward interior designers that would work well for staging. You can play around with it for free to see if you like the platform.
Again, you don’t need a website to do anything very fancy, but you do want it to be responsive. Responsive means it will adapt to the viewer’s device, so it will look good on phones, tablets, and computers.
You also want a nice gallery section for your portfolio.
Other information that needs to be on your site is your contact information, business hours, services offered, and a bio or about page. People like to know who they’re doing business with, so don’t hesitate to talk a bit about how you became a home stager, what your hobbies are, how long you’ve lived in your area, etc. Two things you need to know about are basic search engine optimization and copywriting.
Here is the WordPress setup tutorial:
WordPress Site Setup
An easy way to start a website is by setting up a WordPress site. This is the platform of choice for some of the internet’s most popular sites, and once you have your own WordPress site you will understand why it is so popular.
Just follow these steps to get your new site set up:
First, you will need a domain name and a web hosting package for your website. A domain name will cost you about ten dollars per year and the web hosting will cost less than ten dollars per month. When choosing a domain name, think carefully about the image you want to convey. It is also advisable to get a dot-com name rather than any of the other extensions such as dot-net or dot-biz.
Once you have purchased your domain name you can move on to shopping for a web hosting package. You are looking for what’s known as a shared hosting plan. A shared hosting plan simply means that your website files are stored on a server that also stores the files for other websites.
Just do a search for web hosting and all of your best bets will be right up front in the search results. Hostgator has a plan called “Hatchling” that is an appropriate place to start for a new website.
Bluehost is another company to consider — you’ll get a nice secure and fast-loading site for a few dollars per month with them.
You are just looking for the least expensive option from the company you decide to go with. When your site starts getting lots of traffic you can always upgrade your plan.
After you purchase the hosting package, you will receive an email from your new hosting provider that will give you the necessary account details including your sign-in information and your nameserver settings.
Go back to your domain name account and look for a link that allows you to modify nameservers. The site may use the wording “DNS settings.” You will be able to enter two nameserver settings in the blank spaces provided; copy and paste them from the email you received from the hosting company. Be sure to save your settings before you leave the page.
Finally, sign in to the cPanel portion of your website.
Just type www.yourdomainname.com/cpanel into your address bar and you will arrive at a log-in screen. Once you are in, you will see a screen full of different icons much like the ones on your computer’s desktop.
This is the back end of the site where you will be able to set up email addresses, check traffic, and a lot more. For now, scroll down the page until you find the Fantastico or Softalicious icon and click on it. You’ll see WordPress listed on the left side of the screen. Click on WordPress and then go ahead and do a new installation.
The WordPress installation process is self-explanatory. Pay attention to the prompts and make sure you remember your user name and password. The installation only takes a minute or two. Once this is completed, your new site is ready to go.
Domain names are important because that’s going to be how your home staging business website gets found.
Ideally, you want a domain name that short and easy to remember. Think about how it will sound when you mention it in conversation. You want something easy to say and easy to spell. Not that you’d use a name like this, but just to illustrate:
Your domain name is KatesKuteDesigns.com. I mean, it’s cute… but when you want to tell someone how to look you up, you have to say “It’s KatesKuteDesigns.com, Kute with a K not a C.” It’s a nice (corny?) idea on paper but a little awkward to deal with in practice.
Try to keep it short and sweet. I am still a purist when it comes to domain extensions, and even though endings like “dot io” or “dot design” are gaining ground, nothing beats a good old dot com.
It’s true that it can be tough to find the ideal dot com. Names are taken, and plenty of great names are being held, unused, by domain collectors. If that’s the case with the name you want, you can always look up the owner and make an offer.
You can also add your city name/nickname to the dot com to find one that’s available. Around here, people add Portland’s airport code PDX, so you get HomeStagingPDX.com. I know that’s not done everywhere, but it works here. (I have no idea who owns that domain name.)
Personally, I’d rather use something like “ElegantStagingMiami.com” than “ElegantStaging.design” but you may see it differently. I think I’d avoid anything over about 20 letters; again, the shorter the better.
If you’re using a website builder like Wix, be sure to have your name ready. Check it first on a site like Google Domains to make sure it’s available.
If you’re buying your domain name separately, I would go with Namecheap. I’ve used them for years and the service is excellent if you ever have a question on your account (they have live chat help, no waiting for days for an answer). The domain name with cost about $10 per year.