How to start a website in Kenya

Learn how to start a website in Kenya using WordPress. Register a domain name with Niabusiness Hosting and get web hosting. This guide will show you some of the most important steps you should take when creating a website.How to start a website in Kenya

This guide works for any host that uses cPanel and a script installer like Softaculous. So go through it, see what you can learn.

Check some of the WordPress plugins I recommend installing on your site.

For lead generation, check some of the email marketing providers and plugins I have recommended.

To increase your website’s visibility on search engines, follow the steps below to verify your site with Google and Bing.

Should you start a website in the first place?

Yes, you should.

But only if you are already familiar with how a website can benefit a person. Why do people start websites? Why do businesses spend some of the money they allocate to marketing to start websites?

Once you can answer these questions then and only then should you consider starting a website for yourself, your business or organization.

Signs you shouldn’t start a website just yet

  • You are busy with other things in life. If you don’t have much time left in your day after you’ve come home from your job, now may not be a good time to start a site. Wait until you have time to dedicate to creating content.
  • You don’t have a clear strategy on how to promote your website / content.
  • You are not clear about what it is you want to do with your site. Maybe you are just excited about owning a site of your own. But remember starting a site is not just about having money to pay for domain registration and hosting. There is more involved. You’ll need good content then figure out a way to get the right people (your site’s target audience) to see it.
  • You can’t create content for the site due to time limitations. For your site to rank – to be of value to visitors – you are going to need some great resources on your site – even if that means having a site with a few pages and one detailed FAQs page answering customer / client questions in detail.

Starting a website using WordPress – the step by step process

Get a domain name

Let Niabusiness register a domain name for you or register one on Namesilo.com.

A .co.ke or .com extension always works in most cases.

If you have thought about a name for your site, use the contact form here, to let me know about the name and extension you intend to use.

You can suggest up to five names.

I’ll look them up and see which ones are available for registration.

If you prefer to go through the domain registration process yourself, Kenya Web Experts is a great company for .co.ke domains. For .com domains, use Namesilo.

Change your domain nameservers

If you register your domain elsewhere but intend to use Niabusiness Hosting, get in touch with me so I can email you the nameservers to point your domain to.

Pay for web hosting

Pay for any of the Niabusiness Hosting plans listed here.

You can learn more about them here. Find out how much each plan costs (per day, week, month or for the entire year).

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For a plan that will last you the whole of 2018, you can go with the Starter plan.

Installing WordPress

Login to cPanel and navigate to the script installation area.

In Softaculous tab, click Install WordPress. Select your domain name and finish the installation process.

Softaculous Script Installer cPanel

 

Install WordPress Button

Domain to Install WordPress

Change WordPress Site Name Description

For this installation, I’m changing My Blog and My WordPress Blog to HireWPWriter.com and Hire a WordPress Writer respectively.

Change WordPress Site Name Description Changed

 

Choose a username and password for your site.

You’ll use these to login to the WordPress backend to manage/make changes to your site.

WordPress Admin Account Username Password

If you want the installation details sent to you, enter your email address then click Install.

Install WordPress

Login to WordPress admin area

…by clicking the link with /wp-admin.

Or go directly to your address bar, type up your domain name, add the wp-admin part, enter your username and password and then click Login to access the WordPress admin area.

Now that you are logged in, it is time to make some changes to the fresh installation such as:

  • How your site looks like. Change your theme from the default theme that comes pre-installed. Use the search function to look for a theme that you like.
  • The functions your site is able to perform. Do this by installing and activating various plugins in the Plugins section.

Change the look of your new website. Go to Appearance > Themes. Click Add New.

In the Search Themes field enter a keyword that best describes the look you want for your site.

WordPress Add Search Themes

Being an online business, I’ve searched for themes tagged business.

Out of the many themes suggested I’ve chosen Business Prime.

That is the theme I’m going to use on HireWPWriter.

 Note: Make sure you Preview a theme before you install it. To do this, Hover over any theme and click the Details & Preview button. 

WordPress Theme Details Preview Install

Click Install once you find the right theme > then click Activate.

Delete the default WordPress themes or leave them be.

Click on Widgets to remove certain widgets from your sidebars.

Widgets WordPress

Remove the following: Meta and Recent Comments. Or any number of widgets.

To add new ones, just drag them from the list on the left to the sidebar area.

Widgets to Remove from WordPress Sidebar

Next, go to Settings > Permalinks.

Change it to post name from the default Day and Name. Then click Save Changes.

WordPress Permalinks Post Name

Click on Settings > General.

Change your site’s timezone. If you want to modify the site name and description, you can do this here.

Click Save Changes.

WordPress Settings General

I’ve changed HireWPwriter’s to Nairobi.

If you already have content for your homepage, it is time to upload it to the website.

Since this is a WordPress-powered website, we’ll use the Static Home feature (in Settings > Reading) instead of showing a list of posts on the homepage.

To do this, go to Add New Page.

Add New Page Text Editor

Add the content in the text editor and click Publish.

Once you’ve clicked Publish, let’s make the page what anyone sees when they land on your homepage.

Go to Settings > Reading and select the page title under the show static home section.

Save changes.

WordPress Reading Settings Static Homepage

Now we have a site with a static homepage.

WordPress plugins to add / install to your website

Add the following plugins via the Plugins section to further enhance your website. Below is an example of how to add new plugins to WordPress.

  • For SEO: SEO by Yoast or All in One SEO Pack.
  • To add analytics and search console code you can use any of the two plugins I’ve mentioned. But I prefer All in One Webmaster. Install it.
  • For tracking how your site performs (the number of pageviews, daily unique visitor count) install Jetpack. The Site Stats feature is free. To activate it, you’ll need a free WordPress.com account.
  • To add social sharing buttons to your pages and posts, still Jetpack has a feature for it.
  • To add tags to pages and posts use Simple Tags plugin.
  • To add Facebook pixel code to your site, use the Tracking Code plugin by IntellyWP.
  • Add WP Optimize to regularly to optimize and trim your database size.
  • To add nofollow links to your outbound links by default install the WP External Links plugin.
  • Add Pretty Links plugin to create shorter links (linking to your site’s pages/posts or resources on other sites).
  • Use the free Contact Form 7 plugin to add a contact us page on your website.
  • To add a shop to your website install WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads plugin. I prefer WooCommerce.
  • To tighten the site’s security install iThemes Security or WordFence. I prefer the iThemes plugin.
  • To speed WordPress a bit, use free caching plugins like WordPress Total Cache (W3TC).
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Once you have configured your site’s theme and plugins, start publishing content.

Add pages such as About, Contact, Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

  • About page. Write a brief description of who you are / what you do / why your business is in existence. Type this up in MS-Word then copy and paste it in the Add New page section and click Publish.
  • Contact page. In this page people coming to your site can leave you an email. All they have to do is add their name, a subject line, email and the message they want to send you. Use the shortcode from Contact Form 7 to add the form in this page.
  • For the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy page check how other sites write their own then modify it for your own site. Or go the plugins area and search for words such as terms of service or privacy policy. You will find plugins that create these two pages automatically once you install and activate them.
  • To add any other page to your site, just go to Pages > Add New. To add a blog section to your website for example, create a page titled Blog. Don’t add anything in the text area. Click Publish. Then go to Settings > Reading and select this page as the place where your posts will be shown.

WordPress Blog Page on Website

Click save changes.

You can also change how many posts are displayed on this page (Blog) from the default 10 to any number of posts.

WordPress Blog Page Number of Posts Shown

Save changes.

How to verify your website with Google and Bing search

To make it easier for search engine bots to crawl your website, it is a good idea to verify your site with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster.

We’ll add the verification code from Google to the site via the All in One SEO Pack or All in One Webmaster settings page.

So make sure you have one or both plugins installed and activated. I’m using All in One Webmaster to verify HireWPWriter website.

All in One Webmaster Options

Go to Google Search Console area. Click the Search Console button. Sign in with your Gmail account.

Google Search Console Home

Click Add Property.

Google Search Console Add Property

Enter your website’s address and click Add.

Google Search Console Add Property Website Address

Choose how you want to verify your site.

Under the Alternate Methods tab select the HTML tag radio button.

Google Search Console Website Verification Code

Copy the code displayed and paste it in the All in One Webmaster > Webmaster options settings area.

All in One Webmaster Plugin Webmaster Options

Press Enter after pasting the code.

Go back to the Google Search Console tab and click the Verify button to complete the verification process.

Submit a sitemap for your website to Google and Bing

Once the site is verified successfully, click Continue to submit a sitemap for the website.

At this point I’m assuming you have either Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack plugin installed and activated.

Scroll down and click Sitemaps.

Google Search Console Submit Sitemap

Click the Add/Test sitemap button.

Enter sitemap.xml and click Submit.

Follow a similar process for Bing.

Use your Hotmail or Outlook email to login to Bing Webmaster.

Bing Webmaster

Bing Webmaster Add Website Sitemap

Copy the code and paste it in All in One Webmaster (in the Bing Webmaster field) to verify your website with the search engine.

Verifying your website with these two search engines will help you get found by their users.

Even if you don’t verify your website with Bing, make sure you add it to Google Search Console.

Cost of starting a website in Kenya

Here are some of the costs involved in starting a website in Kenya.

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The bare minimum you need is money for a domain and hosting.

A .co.ke domain goes for Kenya Shillings 580, if you register it with Kenya Web Experts. The normal cost for new .co.ke domains is KSh 1000 but they have a coupon that gets you a domain for 580 Shillings.

For .com domains, get one on Namesilo for around Kenya Shillings 750 then change the nameservers. Point them to Niabusiness.

For hosting, the Starter plan by Niabusiness costs Kenya Shillings 6,000 for a whole year. Note that the amount includes the cost for domain registration as well.

So, starting a content website costs around KSh 6,000 with Niabusiness. Some hosting companies in Kenya charge as little as 3,100 a year to start a website.

It is up to you which hosting company you choose to work with.

See why Niabusiness charges 6000 minimum here.

While planning the launch of your site, factor in content costs as well.

Write the content for your website yourself. Or ask your staff to help.

If you have a content budget then hire a writer to help you create pages and posts for your website.

Things you don’t have to focus on now

Worry about these later if you are pressed for time.

  • Professional logo for your website. Create one on Canva or hire a designer on sites such as UpWork to design one for you.
  • Premium look for your website. Use a free WordPress theme for now. In WordPress admin area, go to Appearance > Themes > Add New to search for free themes. Later on, hire a web designer or buy a paid theme from sites such as StudioPress, Elegant Themes, Thrive Themes, ThemeIsle, Themify or Mojo Marketplace.
  • Premium plugins to add extra functionality to your site. Buy plugins from Thrive (Thrive Leads, Architect), Gravity Forms, WP Rocket or any other plugin you find on CodeCanyon that can get you the extra site features you want.

Once your website is up and running, what should you do next

  • keep improving the existing content. Edit it. Add more details. Research and add stats. Address questions your site visitors are likely to ask you concerning your products and services.
  • publish new content. Add new pages. Add new blog posts. Give the search engines more pages to index – get ranked for more keywords.
  • improve conversions. Add clear call to action buttons on your site. Buy and use Thrive plugins. Use lead generation software like MailMunch, Thrive Leads, Sumo, Bloom or OptinMonster. Connect them to any of the popular email marketing software like MailChimp or AWeber.

What matters most for website owners – where should you exert the most effort?

  • your site’s purpose. What do you want to achieve with your site.
  • traffic. How are you going to reach the right people? Publish more content. Pay for ads. Guest post for other sites to gain links that improve your site’s rankings.
  • conversions. How do you ensure the people who come to your website do what you want them to do? Do you want them to buy online, check your product documentation, call you or email you to enquire about your organization/company/product or service?

Have any questions related to how to start a website in Kenya? Add them in the comments section below.

If you want to use Niabusiness as your domain registrar / web hosting company, get in touch with me. Ask me any question.

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