How to build your own website in 5 easy steps

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If you are looking at building an online business, your website is going to be the core of your business. The first question: do you do it yourself or get someone to do it for you? You have to consider that your website is going to be a living entity and as such will need regular work, so if you get someone else to do it for you, you need to be prepared to have an ongoing budget to make updates and support the website. If you are just starting out, your best option is to build it yourself using a framework like WordPress, which can easily be used by anyone with no html/web development experience. You can always outsource it later on once you start making a regular income.

There are a few steps to follow before you start building your website:

1 – Choose a domain name

The domain name is going to be your website’s address on the web. My domain name is marinagallego.com. Choose a domain name that represents your business or brand and that it’s easy to remember. You need to make sure the domain is available. You can use a webpage like http://www.nameboy.com to help you find available domain names or if you know what domain name you want just go directly to a domain name provider. Search the web for offers, there are a lot of cheap offers for the first year and you can easily buy a domain name for $1 the first year.

2 – Choose a hosting provider

You also need hosting for your website, i.e., server space where to store all your website data and run it, so that everyone can access it through the internet. You can run a comparison on the web to find the best option for you. This blog post goes through some of the best paid hosting options.  There are many free hosting options, but there are also many reasons why you should invest in getting proper hosting. If you want to start an online business/blog your website/blog is your primary asset; it is where your customers go and where you communicate with them, so you want to make sure that you have full control over your site. Also, having your own hosting doesn’t have to be expensive, with many hosting providers offering significant discounts for the first 1-3yr, you can get hosting for around £50/year. If you want to start with a free option, you can check this blog post to see some of the best options.

A few points that you need to consider while choosing a hosting provider:

– Make sure you are comparing like for like. Most suppliers have different offers and the lowest plans may include different services, so you need to compare them carefully.

  – Do you need to run more than one website? If you are planning on having several websites, you need to make sure that the plan you choose supports this. Some of the lowest-priced plans only allow 1 website.

  – 1 click WordPress install: Most hosting providers include this, but it is worth checking as it will make your life easier.

  – 1 click SSL install: this will enable you to easily install https on your site, providing a secure connection. Let’s encrypt offers free SSL certificates. Some hosting providers include 1 click install, which is a lot easier than having to install it manually.

  – Support: Make sure that the support is 24/7 and that they offer telephone, e-mail and chat support. This is a personal preference, but I really like to use chat support. 

I have been using siteground for a few years and I’m really happy with their services. They also have a good introductory offer.

3 – Set up your account

If you are using a separate domain name and hosting providers, you will have to set up the DNS servers from your hosting provider into your domain name account. To do this:

  1.  Log in to your hosting provider’s account and check your hosting account details to find the DNS servers (for example, ns1.siteground.com or 123.22.34.44). 

DNS_servers_siteground_example.jpg

  2. Log in to your domain name provider’s account, go to the control panel and look for “update nameservers” or something similar. You can then enter here the details from step 1. If you can’t find how to do it, go to your domain name’s provider support/help page and search for “change domain name servers.” Most providers have step by step guides to walk you through this.

4 – Install WP

If you have chosen a hosting provider that allows you to install WP with 1 click, you can do this from the control panel. If you need to install it manually, you can search for a guide to do this in your hosting provider’s support files (most will provide a guide), or you can find a step by step guide here.

5 – Select a WP theme

Go to your WP dashboard >appearance >themes and select a theme for your website. There are thousands of free themes that you can access directly through the WordPress dashboard. You can also take a look at themes in the wordpress.org website. You can start using a free theme initially, but you may want to consider getting a pro theme later on as they provide better features and support. Which theme you choose will depend on your personal preferences and the type of business that you want to start: blog, e-commerce site, portfolio site, etc. Make sure that you choose a responsive theme, i.e., a theme that displays appropriately in different devices like a computer, tablet and phone and also that the theme has been updated recently. If you take a look at wordpress.org, you can select a theme and see the ratings for each theme, the number of people that have it installed and when it was last updated. For more info on how to choose a WordPress theme, check out my blog post “How to choose the right WordPress theme for your Business.”

Sydney_WP_theme.jpg

You can find pro themes in themeforest.net and studiopress.com (for example). 

You now have your own live website! Check the different configuration options in my post “A quick guide to configuring your WordPress theme“.

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