I’ll show you step by step how to set up a WordPress website for your insurance agency.
This guide explains how to set up a website from scratch. It can also be used to replace your current site with a new WordPress website.
In the first two sections, I will cover a couple of things that you may already have. Domain registration and hosting.
Their sections are still worth reading even if you do have them. I’ll explain a little bit about each one and which companies I currently recommend for each. Make sure the companies you are using are quality and if not, change them now.
Registering Your Domain
Your domain name or URL is unique to your business’s website. It’s like a street address for your site. If we didn’t use them, visitors who wanted to find you online would have to remember and type in a series of numbers.
That would be less than ideal and pretty frustrating.
There are different trustworthy domain registration companies out there. You’re most likely already familiar with GoDaddy but here are a few more that you may want to consider:
- GoDaddy (www.godaddy.com)
- Dreamhost (www.dreamhost.com)
- 1and1 (1and1.com)
- NameCheap (www.namecheap.com)
- Hover (www.hover.com)
Domain registration usually cost 12 to 15 dollars a year per URL. This is for your basic .com or .net.
There are also vanity addresses but they cost a bit more. These are specific to the audience or industry you want to reach.
There are more options that the registrar offers along with your domain. Things like WHOIS privacy and an SSL certificate.
These things are beyond the scope of this post but are still recommended. You can learn more about the domain add-ons in our article here.
If you already have a domain registered:
You are one step ahead. You will just need to make sure your domain is pointed to where your new site is hosted.
Finding Suitable Hosting
A WordPress website (or any website for that matter) consists of files, code, and images. They are together in a folder and stored on your hosting company’s server.
Every time someone visits your domain from their computer or phone they are actually viewing a copy of the website from the server through their web browser (Chrome, Edge, Firefox…)
Like domain registrars, there are quite a few reputable hosting companies out there. Most of them also sell domain names and some even specialize in WordPress websites.
Here are a few that we recommend that play well with WordPress:
Hosting can cost as little as few bucks a month for a single business and a basic hosting plan.
If you don’t want to take care of the technical side of your WordPress website yourself, you may want to consider a managed WordPress hosting.
Managed WordPress hosting is the same as regular hosting but with added benefits.
The hosting company would take care of things like your sites updating and security.
If you already have a hosting account:
You will need to create a separate folder or subdomain on your hosting to be able to work on your site without overwriting your current one.
So now that we have our domain registered and our hosting secured it’s time to install WordPress.
So I’ll do my best to explain what WordPress is without getting too technical.
WordPress is a folder full of text files. These text files are full of code. That code is instructions on how everything within the site should behave. It’s always telling itself what to do next. This code creates the underlying framework that we build our site on.
The good news is you shouldn’t have to worry too much about this framework once it’s installed.
Most of the hosting companies we’ve mentioned have a one-click installation for WordPress.
This takes a lot of the guesswork out of it.
Once you get WordPress installed at your host you will also have a login.
You will end up at a login page like this (It’s usually your domain name /wp-login.php):
Then once you log in there you will be the WordPress dashboard. It looks like this. It’s where you will interact with your WordPress website going forward.
The next step will determine the look of your site.
Choosing a Theme
If you were to think of your WordPress website as a new car then the theme is the paint job and trim package. You can pick a theme that you like the look of and there are a ton of different ones out there.
Once you decide on a theme, download the zip file to your computer. You can then install it right through your WordPress dashboard. Simple as that.
On the left side of your dashboard is the Appearance section. that when you hover over will bring up more options, the top one being themes and you will click on that.
Once there you will see all the current themes you have installed. There will be one that is currently set to “active”. Click add new, choose the file you downloaded, and then click Activate.
Now when you visit your site it will look a lot different. Like if you brought your car to Maaco and got it painted bright purple with a white racing stripe. If you decide that was a horrible mistake, you can change the theme in the future and pretend it never happened.
When you change the theme of your WordPress website, the content you have created on your site may need adjusting.
Choosing The Right Plugins
If Themes are the fancy paint jobs of WordPress than Plugins are the functional options.
You can pick and choose the Plugins that make your website function the way you want it to. There is currently a repository at WordPress that contains 54,434 different plugins. These are all free to use.
Plugins help integrate functional things like contact forms, event calendars or image sliders.
But they also can help with more backend things like site security and backups.
Again there is a plugin for about everything.
Here are some common plugins that you can use to cover the most common of website functionality:
Gravity Forms, Ninja Forms / Contact Form 7: These handle your standard contact forms.
Wordfence / Securi / iThemes Security: Having one of these is a must for your website security.
Backup Buddy: Have a plugin that automatically creates backups of your website in case something happens and you need to replace it.
A few things to note about Themes and Plugins:
- WordPress comes with a few basic Themes and Plugins included when you install it. They may not all be ones that you need or end up using but they are available.
- Some plugins do things that WordPress already does but better. For example, WordPress comes with contact forms already, a lot of plugins can do them better and more.
- Not all Themes and Plugins are free. There are a lot of free options out there but people dedicate their lives to creating Themes and Plugins. As a result, they need to make a living as well. So expect to have to pay if you want quality Themes and Plugins that fit a specific bill.
Making The Website Yours
So now you have WordPress installed along with your preferred theme and a handful of plugins you need.
It’s a good time to poke around your site as it stands. This gives you something to compare to as you start to make changes.
On the left-hand menu of the dashboard, there are two options you would use when you create content. The Pages and Posts options.
Pages are to create and edit individual pages of your WordPress website.
Posts are to create and publish blog posts that will be included on your site’s blog page.Looking for an easy way to design your pages?
A few different Page Builders are available.
I highly recommended if you are just starting out with WordPress.
The three top page builders are :
- Beaver Builder — www.beaverbuilder.com
- Elementor — www.elementor.com
- Divi — www.divi.com
These will allow you to design and plug in your content in a really easy to use way.
Two things to note about these page builders:
- The creators of these page builders also have their own themes. They are optimized for their respective page builders. You don’t have to use them. They will let you know all the themes that are compatible to use with their particular builder.
- Page builders and their associated themes have both free and paid versions. The free versions should be good enough to do what you want when you are starting out. As you go deeper into it you can look at putting out a few bucks.
Getting your Pictures into The Site
You no doubt have a bunch of good words you want to use to describe your business and its services. But we all know a picture is worth a thousand by itself.
To use your images on the website you need to first upload them to the WordPress “Media Library”. This is where all your images and logos are stored until you want to use them on a page or a post.
On the left-hand menu, you will want to hover over Media and then click add new. This will allow you to then upload the images from a location on your computer. You can also drag and drop them from the folder to the library.
Once you’ve done that you will see in every page and post editor an “add media” option. Viola! you did it. Now you can click on the image and decide things like if you want to position it left or right, etc.
So let’s look back on all we have learned.
So let’s recap!
There are 3 main steps to getting a WordPress website online for your insurance agency.
- Register a domain name — Your domain is the address or URL of your site. It’s usually about 12 to 5 bucks per year. There are other things that you may want to get with it such as Whois privacy an SSL Certificate.
- Sign Up for WordPress website hosting — A hosting plan stores the actual files of your website. They are then accessed by your customers or visitors from their browser. Managed WordPress hosting is the same as regular hosting. It comes with the added benefit of the more common technical things taken care of by the hosting company.
- Install WordPress and create and publish your site — Once you have your hosting set up you need to install WordPress. You then need to pick a Theme and some common plugins. You can then create pages and fill them with images and content. Don’t forget to create a blog page and start setting yourself apart from other local agencies. Once you are ready, hit “Publish”!!
I hope you have learned enough from this post to feel confident enough to start the process of creating a new WordPress website. Or redoing the one that your insurance agency already has.