So, you want to make a website? Awesome!
Whether you’re looking to create a website just for fun or you want to really make money from it, the starting point is the same — setting up your website. And if you want to get through this part without hassles, you’re just on the right page.
Here, you’ll learn how to set up your own website within 30 minutes or less — even if you’re a complete newbie with no prior knowledge of HTML or other technical stuff.
Now, let’s get started with the basics.
To set up your website, you need to do two important things: First, choose a domain name. And second, decide on which platform to use.
Choosing a domain name
Your domain name is going to be your identity online, so you need to choose it carefully. Opt for a domain name that is unique, easy to remember, and short. Though including words that reflect your website topic isn’t a must, it is recommended.
Bear in mind that your most preferred name might not be available, so you should have a number of other options by the side. Better yet, consider other domain extensions (that is, if the .com is no longer available, consider .net, or .org).
And if all else fails, it doesn’t hurt to use your name. Many successful webmasters use have their names as their site’s domain names.
Deciding on site platform
This area can be really confusing for most beginners because they really don’t know the options they have. And when they do, they don’t know which option is preferable and why. But I’ll explain the options in simple terms here, so you can make a well informed decision.
Your platform is the program that holds your website and makes it available on the web. The two most popular platforms are Blogger (owned by Google) and WordPress. While Blogger is a totally free platform, WordPress has both a free option (WordPress.com) and a self-hosted option (WordPress.org).
If you ask me which platform is the best, my answer is self-hosted WordPress.
While Blogger and WordPress.com come at no cost, there are so many pesky limitations to using both free platforms. And here are some of them:
- You’ll have to include an ugly extension in your site URL, so you get something like yoursite.blogspot.com or yoursite.wordpress.com. (Though you can get a yoursite.com name, it won’t come for free).
- You don’t have access to the thousands of plugins and themes available to a self-hosted website. To gain access to some — not even all — of them, you have to part with some bucks.
- Your website can be deleted anytime you post information that is regarded as spam or sensitive content by the platform’s overzealous bots. And most of the time, you can’t get it back.
- You can’t use a custom email like email@example.com. You can only get to use such on a self-hosted site.
- You can’t monetize your website as freely as you like. While Blogger allows a number of monetization options, WordPress.com allows none (unless you agree to share a whopping 50 percent of your profit with them — and that’s just crazy!).
However, with a self-hosted WordPress site, you’ll be able to get started with a cool domain name like yourdomain.com or yourdomain.org. And You’ll be able to customize your website as much as you like with the thousands of plugins and themes available.
In addition, you’ll be able to share whatever content you like on your website without nursing any fears of having it deleted. And you’ll be able to make money through any monetization method you want. In short, you’ll be in absolute control of your site.
So, how much does it cost to create a self-hosted WordPress website?
Very cheap. With less than $60, you can set up a self-hosted WordPress website — and you won’t get to spend anything extra until after one year.
First, you have to register your domain name for about $15 per year. (But don’t worry about this. Here, I’ll tell you a smart way to get a free domain name for life. Read on to get the details.)
Next, you need to purchase a hosting plan. This plan provides the space that your website will occupy on the web.
There are more than countable companies on the web offering hosting services to individuals and companies looking to host their websites. And trying to figure out the good ones can easily get you confused. But I’ve done all the homework for you.
Which web hosting company should you choose?
Having worked with a number of hosting companies and learning about other customer’s experiences with many others, I’ve developed strong confidence in a few of them, and I can vouch for services of those few.
However, the hosting company I personally use and can vouch for is A2 Hosting – this is NOT an affiliate link, so I’m not making money by recommending them. And here are my reasons:
- They have a clean user interface, you can easily find your way around without getting lost — even if you have no previous experience of website creation.
- Their servers your website blazing fast.
- Their customer support staff are responsive and are always ready to help you with any issues you may have with their service.
- They guarantee and provide amazing server uptime of 99.9%.
- They offer unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth. So you don’t have to worry about exceeding space limits as your site becomes more robust with content and traffic.
- They have a “one-click WordPress installation” feature, so you can get your site live on the web within few minutes.
- Their services are quite affordable.
While registering on A2 Hosting, click the option to install WordPress. Your website username and password will then be emailed to you.
Login to your website and start posting content
To gain access to your website, you need to login to the back-end. To do this, simply open a new browser tab and enter the Login URL you were provided after your WordPress installation. The Login URL should look like http://yourwebsite.com/wp-admin.
Your site’s login page will be displayed next. Enter your username and password in the spaces provided, then click “Login”.
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the promised land — the WordPress dashboard. That’s the “back-end” of your website where you make changes to your website and set everything that you readers will see on the “front end”.
The dashboard above might look somewhat overwhelming at first, but you’ll get used to it in no time at all, I promise.
Now that you’ve logged in to your new WordPress site, you can publish your first post, just to see how simple the process is.