In a world where technology is taking over so much of our social interactions and networking, having your own website is becoming more and more valuable by the day. Whether it’s to promote your offline business, create an online business or simply to develop a professional online presence (it’s becoming common practice for employers to “Google” prospective employees or contractors), having your own piece of real estate in the online world can potentially reach customers, employers and business contacts who otherwise may not have found you.
Well there are many different options at every stage of the process, but the steps themselves are rather simple, so you can take as little or as much time as you like deciding on the finer points of your web site. We suggest you dive right in though. If you follow our steps you can’t go too far wrong, and you’ll learn the fastest by experience.
Let’s look at the essential starting points for making a website:
- A domain name
- A webhost
- Software to create the website
Choosing and Buying a Domain Name
Your “Domain Name” is the equivalent of your postal address in the virtual world ie. http://www.freeseocoach.com is our domain name.
There are many domain name registrars where you can go to buy your domains from, so we won’t go into the options here. What we will say is if you want to super-simplify setting up your domain, we’d recommend buying your domains directly from your Hosting Provider (some hosts even offer the first domain free, see below) so you can keep all your administrative options in one place. It may not be the cheapest way but it will be the most convenient in the longrun.
Here are a few tips for choosing your domain name:
– Generally, the shorter the better
– Your domain name should be easy to remember
– Your domain should describe what the website is about (eg. www.buyshoes.com)
– Your domain name should be easy to say (eg. if your domain is “www.website-4-u.com” you would have to say “website dash 4 dash you dot com” to tell people where to find you.
– “.com” should always be your first choice for domains. Search engines and web users both give more trust to “.com” websites.
– “.net” and “.org” domain extensions should be your choices if the “.com” you want isn’t available. These are considered “Top Level Domains” (TLDs) along with “.com”
– Consider a Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) like “.us” for USA or “.co.uk” for the UK. These domains will often be easier to rank in search engines for searches performed within that country.
– Stay away from domain extensions like “.biz”, “.mobi” or any others. You will find them harder to rank in search engines and it may put off your visitors.
Getting Your Website Hosted
Which Hosting Provider to use is really a matter of personal preference and depends on what you want to achieve. This will be where your website is “hosted”, in other words it’s where the information on your website is kept behind the scenes and shared to anyone who visits your website.
We recommend iPage for hosting your first website and if you sign up for hosting your first domain is FREE!
It’s one of the cheapest available yet has a fully packed list of features that rivals much more expensive hosting plans. The unlimited domains and bandwidth are worth more than the asking price alone. You can also buy further domain names through iPage and keep everything to do with your website in one place to keep things simple, and their U.S. based customer support is always on hand to solve any problems you might face.
Many budget hosting providers have problems like downtime (times during the day when you website simply won’t load), slow website loading times, poor customer service, bandwidth limits, limited domains or just poor usability.
IPage is the best all-round budget solution if you’re worried about any of those issues, and if you sign up for hosting your first domain is FREE!
Which WebSite Building Software?
Now, there is a lot of software out there to help you start a website, and many of them are free with your hosting (iPage offer multiple free sitebuilders) or open-source (meaning free to everyone). If you’re reading this then you’re probably a beginner when it comes to web design, so I would strongly recommend using a content management system (CMS).
Content management systems are open-source (free license to all) and very clever in that they do so much of the work for you. They offer fully designed “themes” that you can use for free and have a great looking website in minutes, leaving you to focus on the important stuff – the content. We’ll be going more into Content Management Systems in future articles, but the largest, most-used CMS with the largest developer community (meaning the most free stuff!) is WordPress. So that’s what I’d strongly recommend you use.
Many webhosts such as iPage offer a “1 click install” of WordPress (aswell as other popular CMS like Joomla and Drupal), to make the process even easier.
So although there are many ways you could go about starting a website, what we would suggest for ease of use are the following steps:
a) Choose a fitting domain name for your website
b) Sign up to Webbiy.com
c) One of the first stages of the signup process is to choose your FREE domain!
d) Complete the signup process
e) Start adding content to your site! From this point you can choose a pre-designed “theme” to use from the thousands of free themes available and start adding content!
Congratulations, you now have a website! Now get out there and let people know about it!