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Before you start worrying about colour schemes and domain names, you’ve got to decide what platform you’re going to build your website with.
What do I mean by “platform”?
Well, back in 2004 when I got started with web development, most sites were built using HTML (code), CSS and even Flash. These took a lot of time to learn and were tricky to master.
That’s why most people still think creating a website from scratch is difficult or requires a lot of coding and design skills – but that’s no longer true!
In 2016, content management systems (CMS) like WordPress have made creating a website accessible to everyone.
To put simply, a content management system (or website building platform) is a user-friendly platform for building websites and managing your own online content, instead of using a bunch of loose HTML pages.
Why WordPress is better than the rest?
Because at this point there are no better/easier way to build a website… But more importantly;
- #1. It’s totally FREE, with many layouts/themes to choose from
WordPress doesn’t cost a dime to download or install, and there’s a huge community who have designed beautiful themes and templates, making it easy to get going fast. You’ll never run out of uniqueness…
- #2. It’s VERY beginner-friendly
If you know how to use Microsoft Word, you already know how add your own content. WordPress can be expanded with free plugins to handle just about any site you can imagine – from gorgeous business pages to social networking sites. With “plugins” you’ll be able to add contact forms, subscription forms, image galleries and so on for your website – pretty simple, huh?
- #3. Small or Big site? Great for both.
- #4. Your site will be ‘responsive‘. Meaning it’ll work on mobiles & tablets, too.
The website you build will instantly be responsive, looking great on every mobile device, smartphone and tablet. No need to hire a web developer for that..
- #5. HUGE support and developer community available to help.
With so many people using the platform (Webmaster, Bloggers, Theme developers and Plugin creators), it’s easy to find QUICK help when you need it. In addition, WordPress has lots of free resources both available on Youtube and their support forum.
Of course, there are other website building / CMS platforms, too.
Drupal is a very powerful platform that is popular with web developers and experienced coders, but it comes with a very steep learning curve that makes it a bad choice for beginners.
Joomla is similar to WordPress and works great for online stores, but you’ll need at least a little bit of technical coding to make it work the way you want.
If you want more details, I’ve put together a pretty comprehensive comparison between WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
If for some reason you don’t want to build your site with WordPress, check out my Drupal, Joomla and HTML5 guides as well. They are all FREE to use.
But for beginners, I suggest sticking to WordPress.
It’s the easiest platform I’ve ever worked with, but it’s flexible enough to suit everyone from small business owners, and freelancers to creative artists and bloggers.
I would look no further than WordPress.
In Step 2, I’ll walk you through the process of choosing a domain name and finding a space to host your site.
In Step 3, I’ll show you how to install and customize your WordPress website. Don’t worry – I’ll walk you through the process, with lots of images as a reference.
If you have any questions/suggestions for this guide don’t hesitate to contact me. Remember; I’m here to help!
- A domain name (a web address like yoursitename.com)
- Hosting (a service that connects your site to the internet)
The WordPress platform itself is free, but a domain name and hosting will cost you around $3 – $5 a month, but I’ll show you how to get one for free… However it costs less than a coffee, so it won’t break the bank.
Owning your own domain name looks far more professional than having your site on someone else’s domain (like yourbusiness.my-free-website.com), and it’s super affordable, too.
Plus, having your own hosting will also make sure your website loads quickly and won’t go down for hours at a time (pretty important for everyone who visits your pages.)
Where do I get a domain name and hosting?
I’ve mostly used www.Bluehost.com as a web hosting and domain registrar for myself and for my web development projects.
Their website hosting costs less than a movie ticket ($3.49/mo) and they throw in a FREE domain name (a nice perk to have).
Of course you can try other web hosting providers and even try to host your site by yourself, but it’s very complicated process and often wouldn’t be capable of serving your website visitors. So save yourself some money to get a proper web host.
When you get a domain name, you’ll also get a personal email account(s): you@YourSite.com – way more professional than a generic Gmail or Yahoo address.
Already have a domain name and hosting? Go ahead and skip ahead to step 3, where I’ll explain how you can set up your website.
What kind of domain name should I pick?
As an easy starting point:
- If you’re making a website for your business, your domain name should match your company name. For example: YourCompanyName.com
- If you’re planning to set up a website for yourself, then YourName.com can be a great option.
For this site (WebsiteSetup), I chose WebsiteSetup.org
Domain names usually end with .com, .org or .net, but in recent months, a huge amount of domain extensions (the end part of the web address, like .com) have come out, ranging from .agency to .pizza.
My best advice? Avoid the weird extensions and go with .com, .net or .org unless they perfectly describe what you have to offer – and even then, see if you can find a more common name.
While .com, .org and .net are commonly used and easily remembered, the domain extension craze hasn’t really gone mainstream yet – so people may not find you if you use a really different domain extension.
Any additional tips for choosing my domain name?
There are few things that can help you choosing your domain name:
#1 Is it brandable? For example, if you make a site about poetry then best-poetry-website.net is not a good choice: poetryacademy.com or poetryfall.com is much better.
#2 Is it memorable? Short, punchy and clear domain names are much easier to remember. If your domain name is too fuzzy, too long or spelled in a strange way, visitors may forget it.
#3 Is it catchy? You want a domain name that rolls off the tongue, describes what you (or your business) does and sticks to the head. Coming up with a cool name can be a bit tough since there are approximately 150 million active domain names in the world right now – but don’t give up.
There’s one rule that always applies to domain names: If you like it, go for it.
THINGS TO DO BEFORE NEXT STEP:
Do some brainstorming to come up with a unique domain name that reflects your future website, business or blog.
Secure your domain name and web hosting. For this I recommendBluehost.com, but you can pick any other web host as long it’s reliable and simple.
UPDATE: I made a simple guide for Bluehost (which package to choose & how to install WordPress).
There are two possible ways to install WordPress, one MUCH easier than the other.
1. One-Click-installation for Websites like WordPress.. (and Joomla & Drupal)
Almost every reliable and well-established hosting company has integrated 1-click-installation for WordPress, which makes getting going a snap.
If you signed up with Bluehost or any other similar hosting company, you should find your “1-click-installation” in your account control panel.
Here are the steps you should follow (should be similar/same on all the major web hosting companies):
- 1. Log in to your hosting account.
- 2. Go to your control panel.
- 3. Look for the “WordPress” icon.
- 4. Choose the domain where you want to install your website.
- 5. Click the “Install Now” button and you should get access to your NEW WordPress website.
If you you’re unable to locate it, look here: How to Install WordPress on Bluehost.
2. Manual install (if needed)
If for some odd reason (some hosting companies don’t provide one-click-install for WordPress) you don’t have the possibility to install WordPress automatically, look this manual guide below:
-See more: http://websitesetup.org/