Making Your Own Website – a Beginner’s Guide

Making Your Own Website – a Beginner’s Guide

So you’ve taken the leap and decided to start an online business to either fire your boss or at the very least give you a more comfortable retirement. Fantastic! Hopefully some of my other guides have assisted you with that. So what now? Well there’s a bunch of things but at the most basic level, you need to establish yourself a website. This immediately leads to a number of very common questions:

  • What are the best free website hosting sites out there?Making Your Own Website Questions
  • What should you look for in web hosting generally?
  • What are the best web hosting websites?
  • What are your options for web hosting?

Lots of questions I know and I won’t pretend to have all the answers but this guide should help you make a more informed decision and get you up and running fairly quickly.

Basic things you will need

There are three basic things you need to establish you website. If this is your first this may seem pretty daunting but it’s not really as long as you do a bit of research. The three things you needs are

  1. A Domain – your online address and probably brand
  2. A hosting service – the place where your website will “live”and everything is stored
  3. Website builder – thew software that allows you to create and manage your site

Your Domain

This really is the easy bit once you’ve decided what you want to call your site. There are a bunch of domain name registrars out there and the prices are within a pretty tight range – $13-$15 usually. Your domain name is something you will own and is transferable between various hosting sites. It can also become a salable asset in its own right particularly once you’ve developed a popular website around it.

The main issue with the domain is finding the one you want that’s still available. That can take a bit of searching and creativity. My general advice is to try for a “.com” address because they rank better in search engines and to keep the name a short and simple as possible. Depending on what you want to do with your site, you can go for a generic brand name, a variation of your own name or a more product descriptive name. It doesn’t matter too much because your content will quickly overtake the importance of the actual site name for ranking; just make sure it’s not too cringe worthy or smarty pants clever.

I have included a free tool below to have a bit of a play with to see if your desired name is available and what it would cost through the tool provider.

I suggest you consider Namecheap or Siterubix to search for and purchase your domain name. Siterubix will also allow you to establish a free website if you want to as part of the package deal I discuss later. This can be a good way of trying some of your ideas out before parting with too much money.

Web Hosting

Now that you’ve got a domain name you’ll need somewhere to “host” it. That means a place for your site to live. Hosting is very important as because the host ensures your site runs smoothly, assists with protection from hackers and other cyber nasties and provides technical support if something goes wrong. There is an element of “you get what you pay for” in site hosting but it’s not too bad.

Best Web Hosting OptionsYou have another decision to make. For most people like us you can either go with a Shared Hosting model or a Virtual Private Server. The shared model means that your site will be hosted on the same server as a bunch of other sites. This system is not bad for a start and provides good basic services but a lot of people find they outgrow them quickly, they can have reliability issues and at times relatively limited technical support. Limited onsite email support and data limits are also things to watch out for. On the other hand it’s the cheapest hosting model around. You can expect to pay $8-10 a month after the initial “hook you in” offer period. Make sure you look at what extras you may want and need to pay for as often there are plenty of up sells which make the real price much less attractive.

The virtual private server model is a much more fully featured and are functionally equivalent to having your own dedicated server. They do however cost more as you would expect and will typically run for $30+ per month. These VPS packages tend to come all-inclusive with higher levels of security, fully featured email and website builders and no limits to the data transferred on fixed line bandwidths.

As you’ve probably guessed, my strong recommendations is to go with a virtual private server model. The extra professionalism and a more hassle free environment is well worth it. While we would all like things for free, some times free can cost more than it first appears and this is a business not a hobby you’re setting up so without wasting money things should pay for themselves as you become established.

 

What to look for in a good web host

  • Reliability – when somebody looks for it your site must be there and everything on it needs to work as expected.
  • Security Package – as well as the obvious protections of private information and from hackers generally, SSL level security for any client transactions is essential
  • Backup Facilities – things do go wrong occasionally so the ability to reload your site from a backup is very important
  • Technical Support – pretty obvious by it should be live or at least responsive within a few minutes and available all day every day
  • Multiple Websites – I’m not encouraging you to start loads of sites but most people pretty quickly find that they’ll have two or three for various niches. You don’t want per site charging and you host should offer a reasonable number of hosted sites at no extra cost.
  • Email Facilities – although a bit old school, email marketing is still alive and well so your host needs to be able to provide an ability for you to have several email addresses to you site. These will include the ubiquitous “admin” but also you and your contributors personal addresses to allow you to reply to comments and potentially a “test” address to test autoresponders, campaign and other functionality
  • Site Speed – site loading and transfers between pages needs to be fast. We live in an instant world and people notice even a few seconds of delay. The servers need to be able handle loading your blogs, images even embedded videos fast.
  • Value – value isn’t the same as price and not at all reflective of the cheapest price option available but the price asked can’t be miles more than the competition either. It’s a judgement call and ultimately up to you and your pocket. Watch out for the cheap offers which only last for the first year and then have you locked in. Similarly consider the extra costs of all the extra up sell features which may well be included in other suppliers slightly more expensive base prices.

My Web Hosting Recommendations

  • I’d start with KnownHost’s VPS-1 package at $35 per month. This gives you excellent reliability and bandwidth with the facility for two IP addresses. They also have some good discount offers if you want to get a bit more serious in the future.

Web Hosting Options

  • Personally I use Wealthy Affiliate for my domain registrar, hosting and training/education provider. I have done a full review of their offer which I suggest you have a look at but their standard monthly rate is $49/month although there is a deal which reduces this to about $25 per month by buying an annual subscription during the “Black Friday” sale period.

Website Builder

By far and away the most common website builder is WordPress. Pretty much all hosting services will provide a free method for developing a website using WordPress – if they don’t then go somewhere else.

WordPress is simple and easy to use although you need to be a touch careful about the “shiny object syndrome” i.e being distract and / or convinced to purchase a bunch of add on plugins you probably don’t need. The video below is the one I followed in my first website attempt although I subsequently followed the free Wealthy Affiliate step by step free training guide to develop it further and redo some things I got wrong.

Final thoughts

Having read this far you should now have a good idea of what you need to make your own website and some suggestions about a few pitfalls to watch out for. You can proceed ahead on your own and that’s fine and that’s what I did initially. The second option which is my recommendation is to opt for a more package deal. I found this 100 times easier and ultimately quicker and cheaper. I learned a lot on my own but mostly by trial and error with some frustration. Using the package from Wealthy Affiliates I learned even more but without the error and most of the frustration – still had some “user error” issues but that was just me not following the guidance!!

Making Your First WebsiteIf you want to give it a crack solo then follow these steps:

  1. Purchase Domain From Registrar
  2. Point DNS to your Nameservers (may take 24-48 hours)
  3. Log Into cPanel
  4. Go to Addon domain and create domain*
  5. Go to Site Software
  6. Choose Blogs, WordPress
  7. Create Username, Password, Email, Install URL, etc. info
  8. Install at root domain (leave installation URL blank)
  9. Select “Create New Database”
  10. Log into WordPress and Proceed

If, as I recommend, you want to go down the package deal route then sign up for your free membership at Wealthy Affiliates at one of the links on my review page, set up your account and follow the very easy steps to getting your first website up and running – perhaps in as little as 10 minutes although that’s when the development work to make it pay really starts. Upgrade to a premium membership when itbest free web hosting option suits you and once you’ve had a look around and a play with the tools.

In addition to a domain, hosting services and a website builder platform you’ll get:

  • Comprehensive step-by-step training and guidance
  • Access to a large active community who provide help and answer questions
  • Rich keyword research tool
  • Anti-spam & anti-hacking protection
  • Email (unlimited addresses)
  • No up sells after going “Premium”
  • Ability to make money while you learn
  • Weekly live training webinars and a range of self-paced training videos

So the bottom line is that you can do this on your own and maybe save a bit of money or you can join the webs largest and most successful affiliate marketing community. It may cost you a bit more but you’ll likely see more success, faster and you’ll have much more fun doing it together with the community at Wealthy Affiliates.

Thanks for reading this far. I’d be interested in any comments you may have and am always ready to answer any questions so if you have either please leave them below. If you like what you’ve seen or know of somebody who may be interested please share this article using the social media buttons on the page.

WA- Making a Website Made Easy

 

6 thoughts on “Making Your Own Website – a Beginner’s Guide”

  1. I’m a real newbie when coming to making money online. I’ve heard that we need a website, so thank you for providing this simple guide. I want to ask about the domain name. Is it mandatory to use dot com? Because my preferred domain name has been taken. The dot net is still available, but the dot com one is active in page 1 google. Is it better to find other name with dot com or just go with the dot net? Thank you.

    • No it’s not mandatory to have a dot com domain name they just trend to rank better.  Try being creative with variations of your desired name and see if it’s available.  You can use the Siterubix tool in the article to check their availability out.  Ultimately your ranking will depend on the number and quality of your posted articles so don’t sweat this too much.  Google your  desired name and it’s also possible that it’s on a placeholder site so you may be able to purchase it from the owner – just don’t pay too much.

  2. Thank you for this insight into starting a website. I have tried and failed so many times, but I joined Wealthy Affiliate a few weeks ago and I am so very pleased with the results.

    The training is top-notch and easy to follow. The community is spectacular and considering everything you get with the Premium account, you cannot beat it.

    I am focusing on just the one website for now. The work it takes to keep it up is beyond any job I ever had, but it is so satisfying, I don’t even feel like I’m working.

    I tried GoDaddy and the upsells turned a 4.99 domain into a 25.00 expense. Just having the name doesn’t make sense, because you have to have so much more than that to actually run the site and make something of it. I didn’t even try to keep it when the year was up.

    This reassures me that I have made the right move by joining WA. Thanks for the info and I’ll see you there!

    • Got to watch those upsells! A great deal can become a black hole to pour money into very quickly.  Glad you joined WA. I’ve been very pleased with the advice and training through them.

  3. A very comprehensive guide to making your own website that any beginner can read through and use to get a solid start with creating an online presence that is their very own. You have laid the steps out clearly, explaining each in layman’s term that is easy to understand and follow.

    There are people that would like to start with a website but really have no idea how to do it, and they may be put off by some of the technical jargon, and even the actual tasks required. This article will help them blow past these concerns to get started.

    Starting off, your recommendation to use a platform like Wealthy Affiliate is a good one and was how I got started after a couple failed false starts with services that were just trying to take my money and not providing me the training and guidance I needed.

    I also agree with your suggestion for a virtual private server. I know that we now have 20 e-com stores, and we have shared hosting for all of them, spread across 4 hosting services. The price range per site is averaging $4 a month (we also have 11 other websites) and although I would like to use the virtual private server setup, I am looking at a different solution.

    The option I am going to go with is a dedicated server, and most of the e-com stores will move to that. The overall expense is about $10-15 per month per website, and there will be an additional cost for a webmaster that will maintain all the sites for us. This is of course way beyond starting, but as you mention, beginners will grow up and face these kinds of decisions.

    I enjoyed the read and the information you have shared here today, and people coming across this article will be well-advised to follow you and take action. There is no better time to start with an online presence than today!

    • Glad you liked the guide although you seem a bit advanced for it.  You are right – after all the reading and research people actually need to do something to get started.

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