If you waded through my April 2017 income report you'll know that I have a string of apprentices all over the world. (Actually three, but two are in Europe and one's in India so that's two continents.)
I plan to write a few articles on how to set up Wordpress and the Genesis themes to create a niche site. I'll explain about themes, plugins, posts and pages.
If I get super detailed like 'click here, change this colour' then it will take too long and I won't do it. So I'm just going to present the broad brush strokes and if necessary I'll add to the articles over time.
First, there's no special need to use Wordpress. The first site I bought - one that spits hard cash out every month - uses a rival called Joomla. Joomla is a total. pain. in the ass. But you could use it. I also have sites built with Squarespace that are doing very well.
Avoid totally free things like Weebly or Wix. They will limit you in ways that will cost more to fix in future.
That said, most niche site gurus use Wordpress, and if you're not sure if this is the life for you, then you should too. The set-up costs are low (almost free - Squarespace is ten dollars a month) and it's got everything a niche site needs. (With Squarespace I had to make some compromises, but on the other hand those sites are beautiful.)
There are problems with Wordpress, but none are deal-breakers.
What is Wordpress Though?
Wordpress is a content management system (CMS) - basically it's a way of getting text and images onto the internet without you having to do any coding. I'm a 'successful' niche site builder and I know very little html. Like, I probably remember more Chinese from ten years ago than I know html off the top of my head.
So Wordpress lets you build a website with very little technical knowledge.
Wordpress.com vs Wordpress.org
Don't accidentally get sucked into Wordpress.com. Here's my friend Cecile's blog there:
As you can guess from that, Wordpress.com is a free blogging platform. Great for quickly getting set up and putting your thoughts out into the world, but it's not for business. When making niche sites we are talking about the Wordpress.org stuff, but you never actually need to go to that site (I just went there for the first time and found it super confusing).
Okay So What's a Theme?
After you buy a domain name (bestcarsforcriminals.com) and pay for hosting (the computers where your website actually lives) you will set up a basic Wordpress installation. Note you should get whois privacy when buying a domain and set up an SSL certificate. You can get 'managed Wordpress' hosting which might be easier but I don't think I'm a fan.
Once all that's done, you'll see that the basic Wordpress installation is... basic. Here's the one from 2016 (the new one is nicer but even less suitable for a niche site.)
Now maybe if you knew what you were doing you could go into the code and add html and css and whatever and turn it into whatever you wanted. But for people like you and me the solution is to get a theme. They can be free or premium. If this is your first website, start with a free one.
I use the Genesis framework. I've bought and used many different themes, including Thrive (which the top affiliate marketers LOVE and I HATE) and Divi, but I ended up always deleting everything and restarting with Genesis.
Genesis is a framework that takes Wordpress and makes it better, and you use a theme on top of that to make it look pretty. So Wordpress is your skeleton, Genesis is all your muscles and ligaments, and the theme is your skin, hair, piercings, tats and scars.
You can take the basic Wordpress theme and mess about with it, change the colours and layout and whatever. There's a risk of breaking the site - I've done it more than once - but let's say everything goes great and you are now super happy with the look and feel of your website.
Then a new version of Wordpress (or Genesis) gets released. You install it and BAM - you lost all those changes.
To avoid that, you need a child theme. The child theme becomes the one you mess about with. And when you update the parent theme you get the security patches etc but don't lose all the tweaks you made. (To continue my metaphor, the update affects the muscles, but doesn't change your sweet new tattoos.)
The good news is that by using Genesis as the framework and a Genesis theme on top of that framework, you get the benefit of having a child theme. If you've got ten websites running Genesis you don't have to worry about things breaking when you update, and you start to appreciate the stability of the setup.
For various reasons, I recommend buying the Genesis framework and a Genesis theme. For 500 dollars you can get ALL their themes including ones they make in the future. When I was just starting out that was a terrifying amount of money.
If you only buy one, I really like Wellness Pro and Daily Dish Pro.