One thing I’ve learned in the last few months is that you don’t need to be an expert in web design etc to actually start a website and get your ideas out there. All you need is a little bit of patience and the drive to learn and improve.
After all, if other people can do it, why shouldn’t you be able to? Exactly. If you don’t want to build a website, then here’s a post about healthy foods, and here’s one about whether change is good.. all interesting philosophical stuff, right! Anyway, back to the point, building a website. So if you’re like me and you know a little bit about technology, but you don’t really know how to build a website, or at least, you don’t know how to start, read on.. I’ve got some tips for you!
Website building 101
So believe it or not, you don’t need much to get a website started, I did it in about a day or two, and from there it’s just the find tuning and creating your content to put on the site, and then marketing it to get it seen by more people. The actual set up, can be done in almost no time at all.
I say 2 days, what I mean by that is it took me two days to do the following:
- Buy a domain name. Research and decide on a relevant name for my site.
- Purchase web hosting from Bluehost. (Very reliable and cheap!)
- Install WordPress on my domain name. (One click install when you’re using Bluehost).
- Get a decent theme. The Thesis theme is what you’re seeing on this blog, works a treat.
- Create all my social media profiles, Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, all sorts of things to get the content out there.
- Start building a little following on those profiles.
- Promote my site and submit it to URL crawlers, Google, Bing etc..
- Write my first 5 posts. Yes, we’re still talking about what I did in the first 2 days, it’s not as hard as it sounds!
- Brainstorm post ideas for the next few months and establish a posting schedule. Thanks Quicksprout for this tip!
- And a few other things. The point is it doesn’t take as long as you think..
Why start a website?
Well, there are actually a fair few reasons. Whatever it is you’re doing with your life right now, you could be doing online as well, and making money from it. If you’re into card games, music, even random things that you don’t think people would want to find online like learning about the various species of spider that can be found in the amazon.
Whatever your passion, people will always want to find it online, there’s a market for almost everything, and when you have a specific market that only a select group of people are interested in, you’re actually at an advantage when setting up your website.
It’s called a ‘Niche Market’ and by making a website you actually help these people, because they’re looking for the exact information you’re sharing. This also means you earn more money, and it’s easier to do, by the way!
Still thinking you don’t need to start a website? It’s a good idea even if you only have a couple of hours a week, everyone can do it. The tools available today make it so easy that really anyone who wants to can do it. We’ll explain a few of these ‘tools’ in a few moments.
Starting a website will help you learn more about your hobby
By putting the information you have in your head on the screen and out on to the internet, you refine that information and present it in a way that people can understand. By doing this, you reinforce the knowledge in your own head. If for no other reason, you should start a website to strengthen your knowledge.
Everyone wins, right? It’s simple.. you share and present what you care about to people on your website, and they benefit from the information, and may purchase something from your site or even form a connection with you. It’s a way to make friends in your hobby area/community, and learn more about your passion.
Interested yet? Well, you should be. If you want to try but don’t want to risk any money, you can do that too.. There’s a free service called Blogger which enables you to build and create a Blog for free and host it on their servers.
The downside to it being free is that you won’t appear professional, and you certainly won’t get as much traffic (views to your website) as you might if you had a proper website. For those who might want to build a website let’s talk about the best way to start it up..
Basically, you’ll need a domain name, which you can actually get through Bluehost after you’ve signed up or as you’re signing up for the hosting. A domain name is simply the URL or the ‘name’ of your website. It’s what people type in to find you, aside from search engines.
Set up your website hosting
Then you’ll need Hosting, this is pretty much the place your website will live and be stored on. It’s what you need to make sure people can always find stuff on your website when it’s up, and the best place to get this hosting is a company called Bluehost.
They offer really cheap rates, a few pounds/dollars a month. They also allow you to have unlimited domains, so if you start building more websites later on, you can store them all for free as add ons. It’s highly recommenced, and it’s what this site is hosted on. The customer service they offer is so helpful and they really do walk you through everything.
That’s it, You’re all set up
Now that you’ve got your domain name, hosting and site sorted out, all you need to do is log into your hosting account and install a program called WordPress. It’s free, don’t worry, but it’s the most powerful platform for making a website out there. You may want to install Thesis, which is the awesome theme this website is using, but that’s up to you.
There are some pretty good free themes in WordPress, although the free themes don’t have as many options as the premium ones, and they don’t look as good. It’s all up to you how your site looks at the end of the day. You’re probably thinking, ‘So how do I install WordPress then?’..Right?
Okay, so you’ve logged into your hosting package, if you’re using Bluehost then go to the Homepage, and scroll down. You’ll see a button saying Websites or Website tools, and then find the button that says WordPress. It will give you a completely free install, with one click. From there, it guides you through everything else you need to know.
Hopefully this has made you somewhat interested in starting a website, if you do set one up, good luck! Link back to me and I’ll be sure to have a look at your new site!