In this guide, we are going to show you how to create a website that is geared towards promoting your legal services. A lot of people feel intimidated by the thought of building a website. They think that you have to be some kind of computer expert, but with new software like WordPress, even the most novice users can build a fully functional website.
First things first, you must select and purchase a domain that suits your operation. A domain is the website’s address, for example, www.google.com. The most popular domain registrar is a website called GoDaddy. On the homepage, you will notice a search bar towards the top, Here is where you will enter a domain that you feel represents your business. There are some things to keep in mind when choosing a domain;
Once you find a domain that you are comfortable with (in terms of name and price), add it to your cart. You will be asked if you want to add some extra features to the purchase, this is completely up to you. Remember, if you would like to hold off on the extra features now, you can always add them later. You will then arrive at the checkout and if you don’t already have an account, you will have to create a profile with GoDaddy. Once you are signed into your account you may purchase the domain.
The second element needed to launch your website is a hosting plan. This may also be purchased on GoDaddy. For a beginner, I would suggest either the regular ‘Web Hosting‘ or ‘WordPress Hosting‘. WordPress Hosting, in my opinion, is the easiest route to go. It provides all the same functions of Web Hosting but catered more specifically to WordPress.
Once you select one of the options, you will be presented with the several different plans varying in price and features. If you are trying to set up your website as cheap as possible, the basic plan should fit your needs. And remember, you can always upgrade in the future and add on any extra features.
Once you have selected your plan, you will be prompted to select how many months you would like the term to last. Make your selections and finalize the transaction at checkout.
Now that we have purchased a domain and a hosting plan, it’s time to combine the two. The easiest way to view all your purchases is to navigate to the ‘My Products‘ section. Simply click the tab that displays your name and a box will drop down which contains the section.
Find the hosting that you have purchased and click ‘Manage‘. You will then be able to add your domain by clicking ‘Add Site‘. This will guide you through the initial setup of adding your site to WordPress. Follow the basic instructions and your site will be online in no time.
The first step in creating your website is selecting a Theme. A Theme is the visual layout of the website, also known as a template. It is very important to choose a Theme that will allow the functions you feel are necessary for the type of website you are going to create. For my example, I chose the ‘EightLaw Lite‘ Theme. This Theme is specifically geared towards a legal website. You will be able to provide all the information potential clients will desire in an organized fashion.
First, you are going to want to go to ‘Appearance‘>’Themes‘>’Add New‘. You will then arrive at the ‘Add Themes‘ page where you are going to want to input ‘eightlaw lite‘ into the search bar. The theme will appear and you must hover over it and select ‘Install’. Once installed, you are going to want to click ‘Activate‘ to apply the theme to your website.
We have now officially laid the foundation of our website!
There are 2 major sections to which you will be adding your content to, Pages & Posts. I will briefly go over the basics of these sections as they will be discussed further in this guide.
Posts are time-stamped entries that are typically associated with the blog aspect of your website.
To create a post, go to ‘Posts‘>’Add New‘. If you look to the screenshot below, you will notice the first available space allows you to insert a title. The area below is where you will write content, add images/videos, links etc.
To the right, you will notice a section labeled ‘Categories‘. This section allows you to organize your posts. Simply check the box of the Category you would like to file the post under. To create a new Category, click ‘+ Add New Category‘. You can also further edit your Categories by navigating to ‘Posts‘>’Categories‘.
Set a ‘Featured Image‘ by going through the “Add Media” process. A Featured Image is basically a picture that would suit the overall theme of the post.
Once you have completed your post, click ‘Publish‘. (You may also click ‘Save Draft‘ if you would like the content saved but not available on the site.)
Pages are not time stamped like Posts. They are more part of your websites solid foundation. An example of some Pages within your website would be your Homepage, “About Us” Page, Contact Page, etc.
Go to ‘Pages‘>’Add New‘.
As you can see, the process of adding a new Page is very similar to adding a Post. Instead of using categories, the ‘Page Attributes‘ section allows you to create a hierarchy of pages.
Before we begin the customizations of your website, we are going to want to set up your homepage. Click ‘Pages‘ on the side menu of your WordPress Admin page and select ‘Add New‘. In the space above, enter the title of your homepage (as you can see in the screenshot below, I simply added the title “Home”). Under the “Page Attributes” section to the right, you will see that you can choose a “Template”, select ‘Homepage‘. Once you have completed these actions, click ‘Publish‘.
Now that we have added the new page, you are going to want to navigate to ‘Settings‘>’Reading‘. As seen in the screenshot below, we are going to select ‘A static page‘ and choose the page you just created as the “Homepage”, then click ‘Save Changes‘.
You now have an official homepage! (A lot of times we are given a default homepage when setting up WordPress. If this is the case, you can simply edit the homepage and apply this same process.)
Now it’s time to lay the foundation of your website. Go to ‘Appearance‘>’About EightLaw Lite‘. This page provides some useful steps to get you started. Click the first button ‘Click Me to install recommended plugins‘. Once clicked, you will be brought to a page that lists all the plugins that you are recommended to install for this particular theme. Install and activate these plugins to ensure that you maximize the theme’s potential. When you look at your website right now, you may notice that it does not look like how it was advertised. To get the same look, you must click the button ‘Click Me to import demo contents‘. This will give you a structured layout that you can customize to your needs.
There are many facets to the customization process with this theme. We are going to go down the line and show you how you can modify different sections of your homepage to enhance the overall look and functionality.
Go to ‘Appearance‘>’Customize‘>’Default/Basic Settings‘. Here you will see the basic sections of customization. We will start with ‘Site Identity‘. If you look to the screenshot below, you will notice that there are four areas that can be adjusted.
For my example website, I decided to upload a Logo that contains the Site Title within it. That being said, I then unchecked the box ‘Display Site Title and Tagline‘ to avoid redundancy.
Below Site Identity you will see the following sections that I will briefly mention;
The next section to customize is the ‘Header Settings‘.
Here, you have four customizable areas;
We will now move on to the ‘Homepage Sections‘. This is the most important section when it comes to the organization of your website.
The first section is the ‘Slider Section‘. “What is a slider?”, you may ask. A slider is basically a slideshow of header images that are displayed on the homepage. This is very important to the overall aesthetic of your website. Not all themes come equipped with this feature but luckily for you, this theme does.
Go to ‘Customize‘>’Homepage Sections‘>’Slider Section‘. You are now given the following options;
The next area of customization is the ‘About Section‘. Here is where you will inform visitors about your company.
Next, we have the ‘Call to Action Section‘. Here is where you can provide a mission statement, quote, motto, etc.
Now we’re going to move on to the ‘Law Section‘. Here is where you can promote any accomplishments that you or your firm has achieved.
Enable Disable Law Section – Select whether or not you would like this section to appear on the homepage or not.
Law Section Title – This portion is to the right. This is really up to you on how you would like to phrase this section. The theme has ‘We fight for you‘ as the title.
Law Section Description – Write a brief description explaining the overall theme of the section.
Law Post 1, 2, & 3 – For each “Law Post you are going to select a Post that you have previously created. The theme comes with three icons that are displayed in this section (a trophy, a printer, and a group icon). You should write posts that match the icons available or you may insert new icons by searching through the catalog of a website such as fontawesome.com. Once you find an icon that you like, copy the text and insert it into the space provided.
Button Text – The button text default is ‘Know More‘. Input any alternative text that you would prefer.
Button Link – Input the link of a page or post that you would like the button to direct a user to.
Next, we have the ‘Case Section‘.
There are 3 divisions in this section;
‘Team Member Section‘
You have the option of including a blog section on the homepage if you wish. There is also a tab in the main menu that directs users to the blog as well as another section of the homepage that shows your latest posts. It is up to you if you would like to include this section.
‘Contact Form Section‘
For this section, you are going to want to make sure a plugin called ‘Contact Form 7‘ is installed and activated.
The final section we can customize on the homepage is the ‘Latest Section‘. This section consists of 2 parts, ‘Latest Posts‘ and ‘Latest News‘.
This section will automatically display the latest posts that have been created on your website.
The next portion of customization is the ‘Social Settings‘. Here is where you are going to add your social media accounts. Go to ‘Appearance‘ > ‘Customize‘ > ‘Social Settings‘ > ‘Social Section‘.
You will now have the option of linking the following social media outlets;
If you noticed that once you enter a link, you will see the icon appear in header (as seen in the image below) as well as the footer.
Another part of customizing is adjusting your primary menu to fit your needs. Instead of doing this under the customization section, we are going to do it through it’s designated section in WordPress. Go to ‘Appearance‘ > ‘Menus‘. Here you will be able to customize your main menu that appears at the top of the homepage. The demo that you downloaded provided you with a generic menu. You may create an entirely new menu if you wish, simply just click ‘create a new menu‘. Add any pages, posts, custom links, or categories that you would like to be included by checking the box and clicking ‘Add to Menu‘. You may then place the menu items in the order you wish by dragging them in place. To create a sub item, drag it below the main item and make sure it is set off to the right. A sub item will then drop down when you hover over the main item on the homepage. Once you are finished click ‘Save Menu‘. (Be sure to set your new menu as the “Primary Menu” by checking the box to the right of ‘Display location‘)
Now we are going to move on to ‘Widgets‘. Go to ‘Appearance‘ > ‘Widgets‘. Once you arrive you may notice that there are 2 different portions; ‘Available Widgets‘ and ‘Widget Areas‘. The available widgets are various items that provide functions, widget areas are where you can place these items on your website. All you have to do is merely drag the available widget into the area.
We will explore this further by showing you the widget that came with this demo. Click ‘Manage with Live Preview‘ at the top. You will now be shown your list of widgetized areas and a live preview of the homepage. If you click ‘Widget Icon‘, you will see four blocks that read ‘Text‘. These blocks correspond with the menu seen in the screenshot below. Each text widget contains an “Awesome Font Icon” and text below it. These are inserted using code that came with the demo.
Some of the other widget areas of your website include;