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 continue using for my web development needs. I do not include anything unknown to me.
1. Have a head start in web development 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. Correct, that is domain with an ‘s’. You will quickly see the point of registering multiple domain names for your business or your blog with different extensions like .net or .co. Nevertheless, restrain yourself from overspending.
2. Host your website with a reliable and affordable hosting company
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 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, that finding a plan tailored to your needs is certain.
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. Yes, you can even rent 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.
Yet, I recommend HostGator as a hosting company for your website when you are starting out. Personally, I have used both shared and VPS hosting plans and I am extremely satisfied by loading times, overall service and customer support especially. Alternatively, I have been looking into other hosting companies as of lately, that include:
- WPEngine, specifically serving only WordPress websites. All of my websites are now hosted at WPEngine and I strongly recommend them, when your blog gets some traction and begins experiencing slowdowns!
Here is a previous post about domains, where I give some additional tips about domain name registrations and hosting.
3. 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, a pretty WordPress Theme that loads fast.
I recommend ThemeForest for discovering truly magnificent Themes for your newly-born WordPress website. At the time of writing, all of my websites are using a theme by ThemeForest! Yes, I am that confident of ThemeForest.
Yet, there are more affordable options if you are on a tight budget.
- ElegantThemes: I have been a subscriber (developer level) for quite some time now. I have used them to build friends’ websites as well – check out my work here. You get more than 80 unique WordPress templates for the price of a regular ThemeForest template. They are also adding 4 useful plugins in the deal.
- ThemeJunkie: A lifetime member here, giving me access to all current 38 themes. I get lifetime free theme updates and complete access to all new themes as well! If you like their themes, registering as a lifetime member is in fact the option with the best value. No wonder it’s also the most popular one!
- MyThemeShop: MyThemeShop offers a couple of great free themes for WordPress, like “Point”. Unless you are sticking with the free theme your WordPress installation comes with, MyThemeShop templates may be used alternatively. Their themes have been used for several very successful websites, like ViralNova!
4. 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 of 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 following tools.
- MaxCDN: My recommended Content Delivery Network service. Using a CDN is like opening small offices identical to your main office in different places scattered all over the world. Your website visitors are served from a nearby location to them, instead of virtually travelling to your office’s main location. A process, that saves valuable loading time of your website.
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 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! And whenever I run across a useful resource, I make sure I share the knowledge by posting in the web development category of this blog, via my social networks.
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