Building a website for your business or creating a personal blog to share your thoughts with the world is easy. Almost no programming skills are required, although you need to learn the basics of web development. More specifically, you must become familiar with domain registration, web hosting, and Wordpress. And you are going to learn all that today, here.
I know it is easy because I managed to create so many websites by learning everything online for free. I am sure you can manage that too! And I suppose it will be easier because I have collected all the stuff that helped me through the process in the lines below. Therefore, read on and by the time you will finish reading, you will have a pretty clear view of how to start and where you are heading to.
As in other pages of this blog, I am recommending some products or services below, that I have personally tried and continued using for my web development needs. I do not include anything unknown to me.
Jumpstart your web development career by registering a well-thought domain name
I have avoided building websites at free services such as Blogger (domains ending in blogspot.com). I suggest you do the same. You are creating something valuable. Why not keep that value to yourself?
Yes, I strongly recommend registering your own domain.
Besides, if you are creating a website for your business, your domain is part of your business. You would not rent a small corner in another company’s office to run yours, would you? You would rent a whole office to yourself. So, buy a domain!
Buying a domain is easy. You pick a domain registrar; you open an account and begin buying domains. You will quickly see the point of registering multiple domain names for your business or your blog even with different extensions like .net or .co. For example, I own both jimmakosdev.wpengine.com and jimakos.com (noticed the typo?) and jmks.co for my URL-shortening service.
Nevertheless, restrain yourself from overspending.
Pick a reliable and affordable hosting company for your website
Now that you bought the sign (domain name) outside your office, it is time to rent the actual office where the sign is going to hang. This is the time when web hosting comes in.
Consider hosting like renting an office, where you are going to place all the furniture and equipment you will need to run your website. The more equipment you need and the more customers your website is going to serve, the bigger the office needs to be. Hosting companies offer a vast variety of hosting plans which makes finding a plan tailored to your needs a certainty.
In general, there are three types of hosting plans:
- Shared hosting: you share a server with thousands of other customers. Like renting a 100-square-feet office in a skyscraper.
- Virtual private server or VPS hosting: you share a server with a bunch of other web entrepreneurs. Consider that as if you are renting the whole floor of a skyscraper. You can even rent out small offices to other webmasters, who are looking for shared hosting plans!
- Dedicated server hosting: you get a whole server just for yourself, meaning a computer is somewhere operating exclusively for running your website(s). You guessed it; you get a skyscraper under your name!
After you decide which hosting plan suits you (for 99% of people visiting this page it should be shared hosting), you must instruct your domain to load the website from the server you purchased. Do not worry, it is much easier than it sounds and definitely easier than hanging a huge sign outside of your office! Many domain registrars allow you to host your website with them, making the process entirely automatic.
Personally, I have used both shared and VPS hosting plans. I would recommend a shared hosting plan when you are starting out to keep your costs as low as possible. Once your idea begins attracting attention and your website gets some traction, it's time to upgrade. A telltale sign for upgrading your hosting is when your visitors experience slow loading times or your website experiences downtime!
Here is a previous post about domains, where I give some additional tips about domain name registrations and hosting.
Install WordPress with an attractive and practical theme
I have become a huge fan of WordPress – sorry Joomla. WordPress is a perfect content management system that will work both for your blogging and business needs. Do not be afraid to create a company’s website with WordPress. In fact, WordPress is great when you are starting out in web development.
Installing WordPress will not take more than 5 minutes. You now have power, water and a telephone line in your office.
Your office looks dull on the outside though. A mere sign on the door (domain name) is not enough to invite people in, no matter how cool it sounds. You need a stunning front. In other words, an attractive WordPress Theme that loads fast.
Finally, improve user experience with website tools
Now that you have got yourself an attractive office with all the necessary equipment installed, it is time to let the world know about your office. There is no better way to do that other than creating useful, mind-blowing content. Content is king.
Still, you can further improve your website’s functionality with the help of the tools I'm including further below in this article.
By completing the 4 steps I described, you should have a beautiful, fast and practical website in a matter of days.
Yet, you are just beginning in the web development world. You have a lot of things to learn. I am still learning myself, despite managing more than 10 websites at this time!
Web Development Resources
Some links below are affiliate links. By clicking on them, you not only help me pay this blog’s bills, but you also show your appreciation towards any helpful tip you read in my website. Besides, you don’t have to use the links if you don’t like. The price is the same whether you use the link or not.
You can find the latest five articles I wrote about web development here.
- WP Engine: After a decade of hosting my websites elsewhere, I could finally relax by the time I moved over to WP Engine. It's expensive but you get what you pay for. For websites that are based on WordPress.
- Shortpixel: Time is money online, and ShortPixel cuts down the loading time of our images. No more do I have to manually reduce the file size for every image I include one to my articles, as ShortPixel automatically generates web-optimized images on the fly.
- WP Rocket: Speed is money, as well. A fast website not only keeps your visitors happy, but it also helps your website rank higher in search engines. I've tried all the top caching plugins for WordPress that can speed up my websites and WP Rocker is my favorite by far.
- Iubenda: I use them for complying with laws worldwide, via their cookie solution and other services.
- DigitalOcean: For any tech-savvy web developers out there. Setting up a server by myself to host my own URL-shortening service was probably the thing I'm mostly proud to this day.
- Themeforest: Most of my websites, including my personal blog, are built on a theme purchased from Themeforest marketplace.
- ElegantThemes: At times, I have used their beautiful themes to my WordPress websites.
- StackPath: Before I hosted my Wordpress websites with WP Engine, I used StackPath (then MaxCDN) to have my content cached and accessible closer to my end users for better user experience.