Are you tired of having setup website on your to do list? Are you scared that your lack of website is holding you back?
There are so many people out there like you who have been waiting and mulling over starting a website, but for one reason or another they haven’t done it yet. Maybe you think all the information out there is too overwhelming. Maybe you can’t decide which platform to choose. Maybe you just don’t have any idea where to start. Luckily, setting up a website is easier than you think, and there are only three simple things that you need to do it, and in this post I’ll go over all three.
To start a blog or website, the first thing you need is hosting. Hosting is a service you purchase that gives you an area of the internet to run your website from. For example, you can purchase hosting from a company like Dreamhost, and they let you host your website on their servers.
I use Dreamhost and recommend it to my clients, but there are lots of hosting companies available out there. You just need to do your research, read reviews, and find out which hosting company is right for you. If you want to know more about Dreamhost, you can read my post Why I Recommend Dreamhost to All My Clients.
Ultimately, all hosting companies offer the same services for around the same price. The only differences are what kind of customer service you get and how reliable their hosting is. Though it might be tempting to choose a company with the lowest price tag, the most important thing is finding a company with good reviews, so you know their hosting is reliable.
For example, some less expensive hosting companies are known for their spotty service. This means that if you were using their hosting and their servers went down, your website would also go down to (AKA it would crash!). At that point, it’s out of your control and you have to wait for them to fix their issues for your website to reappear. It’s easy to see how this might be harmful to your business.
So, though it’s tempting to try and save a few bucks, and believe me I’m one of the most frugal people you will ever meet, hosting is not the place to count your pennies. Picking a reliable company is the most important. That’s why I recommend Dreamhost, because I’ve been using them for so long that I can recommend them with 100% confidence.
Most companies offer a variety of payment options, where you can pay monthly, yearly, or even for three years at a time. Ultimately, it’s standard to budget around $120 USD a year for your hosting plan. And of course, since hosting is a recurring fee, every month or year or three years when your plan needs to be renewed, you need to pay the fee again for your website to stay up and running.
Once you have hosting, you also need a domain name. Hosting is the area of the internet that you run your site on, but a domain name is what people use to find you. Both a domain name and hosting are necessary to create a website. For example, my domain name is www.melissacarterdesign.com and it is what people type into their browsers to reach my website. You can’t run a website without both hosting and a domain name.
When you are deciding on a domain name, there are a few important things to consider. Most importantly, you want your domain name to be short, simple, and easy to remember. Your domain is the one thing that people need to find you on the internet, so it being easy to remember and type in is the number one important element. And of course, the shorter and simpler the domain name is, the easier it is to remember.
When you’re choosing your domain name, think about the name of your blog or business, and then try to pick the simplest form of that to use as a domain. You want it to be something that is easy to remember, easy to type in, and easy to say. Although you can use things like dashes in a domain name, it’s better to keep things simple and just use standard letters.
And of course, domain names are 100% unique. This means that if someone is already using the domain name you want, you have to choose a different one. You can either choose a different ending that’s available, for example .org instead of .com, or you could change the actual name part of your domain. For example, I originally considered using the domain name www.melissacarter.com because it is shorter and simpler, but it was already taken so I decided on www.melissacarterdesign.com instead. You can use Dreamhost’s domain name checker to see if the domain name you want is available.
Once you have a domain name that you like, and you know it’s available, you simply have to purchase it. If this is your first website, then you can purchase your domain name at the same time as your hosting, from the same company. Companies like Dreamhost will even supply the domain name for free with the purchase of your hosting plan.
If you are creating a second or third website, you do not have to pay for hosting again, since you can run multiple websites under one hosting plan. All you have to pay for is the domain name itself, which is usually around $15 USD per year.
The last thing you need to create a website is a platform to do it on. Once you have hosting and a domain name, you have a corner of the internet, and you have an address so that people can find you. But initially it is just an empty area that you can do whatever you want with. If you knew HTML and CSS, you could write code and create a website from scratch, but that’s a particular set of skills that not many people have.
Instead, there are content management systems like WordPress available, that you install onto your area of the internet. WordPress then builds a complete website with a user friendly backend and an attractive front end, so that you can create your website, style it, and add content without ever knowing how to write any code.
Installing WordPress is a fairly straightforward process, and can usually be done through your hosting company. Most companies offer a one-click install of WordPress, so that you can just login to your host, and click Install, and WordPress will build itself onto your domain. In fact, WordPress is so popular, that many hosting companies ask you whether you want to install WordPress right up front when you first purchase your hosting plan.
If you’ve been thinking about getting started with WordPress but you aren’t sure whether it’s right for you, then I will tell you that it probably is. I’m a little biased, because I love WordPress and believe it can work for almost anyone, but it really is an amazing platform that can support your web needs whether you’re a small blogger or a big business.
About 28% of the web uses WordPress, and that’s a crazy number when you consider the hundreds of other content management systems and website builders that are available out there today. Big sites like Canada’s Olympic Team website and Sony Music and even The Rolling Stones use WordPress to run their websites.
If you want to know more about WordPress, you can read my post WordPress.com vs WordPress.org or check out my WordPress Archives. ltuimately WordPress is a powerful content management system that works for a wide variety of users in a wide variety of purposes. There are plugins to add on functionality for almost anything you could want to do with your site, and the capabilities are really endless.