So what can you do to make a website by yourself for your restaurant without paying anyone else a dime, including us?
1. Get a domain name. Go to godaddy.com (or any other domain name registrar) and find a domain name for your restaurant. Be sure to follow good usability measures in picking one, but other than finding a good domain name that works for your restaurant both matching your restaurant and SEO practices as well as usability all you need do is purchase it. Prices vary but figure 10 bucks a year. You can’t get around this cost.
2. Get a web host. I’m am going to call out a specific company here but you can go on the cheap and get a company for less than $10 a month, if you dig under $5 a month. Of course every host isn’t the same, we recommend WPEngine. If you don’t go with WPEngine, be sure it gives you access to PHP and MySQL or mentions that you can install a WordPress blog there.
3. Point your domain to your new host. You’ll need to log into Godaddy.com and then adjust the DNS settings on your domain to point to your new host.
4. If you want to have email with your domain name you’ll want to set that up as well. We recommend using Google Apps. Good email hosting for free, plus you get shared calendars, and webmail separate from your web host. It’s a good idea to have your email on a different server from your website. So sign up for Google Apps, and then set up the MX Records in Godaddy.com as well to point there, and then configure your Google Apps settings for your email, and get it set up.
5. Download WordPress and install it on your new hosting environment. Once you sign up for your web host you’ll get some log in information. You’ll need to FTP up to it (you’ll need an FTP program if you don’t have one yet) and move the WordPress installation files up to it. Once they’re there you’ll also need to set up a database on your web host, and then run the installation files for WordPress.
6. Find a theme you like for WordPress. There are tons of free ones. If you’re lucky you’ll find one that matches your restaurant enough to not throw people off. If you’re in doubt go simpler rather than more complicated. Once you find one install it into your WordPress installation. You could also use Headway, which allows you to drag and drop you design.
7. Enter your information. Lastly be sure to set up the information on your site, probably you’ll want to create a front page template to be just your front page, so the front page isn’t a blog roll, and lists out the pertinent information about your restaurant in a attractive but informative way. Create other pages and put your information on them, enter your menu, locations, get an embedded google map, etc. Download some plugins to help out your ongoing things like submitting sitemaps to Google and Bing, as well as any social sharing helpers like Shareit.
And voila. You’ve made the site yourself.
One more thing, that should help you immensely. Install the OpenMenu Plugin. Easily create posts that is based on your OpenMenu. Fully integrates an OpenMenu(s) into an existing theme. This is the official WordPress Plugin for OpenMenu. From creating custom menu posts, to widgets to display specials and restaurant information, to the ability to add menus anywhere (any post or page) in your WordPress Theme, this plugin handles it all.