Setting up a website
There are a few steps to setting up a website which are the same whether you are setting up a website for a business or a personal blog or a blog as a business.
The first step, before anything else can happen, is to register your domain name. This will be the address where your website will be found on the internet. When you choose a domain name there are a few options to think about that I discuss in this article about choosing a domain name.
Once you have chosen the domains you want to register, you will need to register them with a domain registrar. Choose a reputable registrar like Godaddy, Crazy Domains or Host Gator. Do some research. This blog article lists some of the better registrar options in 2019. My only advice is, whoever you choose, just register the domain with them. Don’t host with a registrar as well. I’ll explain why later. And remember to record your user name and password because you will occasionally need to log in and do things.
Now that you have a domain registered, you will need to decide on the platform to build your website on and choose a hosting provider.
When I build a website or blog for myself or a client, I do it using wordpress.org. If you are wondering what wordpress is, read this article. WordPress is easy to learn and use and if you’re worried about how you make the website pages look beautiful, there are lots of themes or page builders available (free and paid) to make it easier!
b’WThere are also other platforms that you can use to create a website or blog, such as Squarespace or Weebly, which have easy to use templates. To learn more about Squarespace pop over to their website to read about it here. Weebly on the other hand is a little different in that if you build a website using their software you are also hosted on their platform and your domain will be part of theirs – and that is something I wouldn’t recommend.
The reason I don’t use Squarespace is because WordPress is a far more flexible platform, so as your online needs grow or change, WordPress can adapt to accommodate them.
From here on, I am writing as if you are using WordPress.org to build your website or blog.
You’re going to need somewhere to host your site. Some webdevelopers/designers will offer a hosting package and this is fine as long as it is a good service they use or recommend. There are hosting providers who have WordPress specific hosting. As part of my service I offer hosting to all of my clients so it’s pretty common. If you are going to find your own host and build your own website read up about what to look for in a hosting provider.
Once you have settled on a host and chosen your hosting package, you will need to install WordPress and then log back into your Domain Registrar Account (aren’t you glad you kept those login details!) and point the DNS to your host.
Some hosts will ask you in the set-up process if you want WordPress installed – say yes! And they will do it automatically.
Once that happens you will get your login details for your WordPress site and depending on the type of hosting you have, login details for something called C-panel. You probably won’t need to go there too much so don’t worry too much about C-panel right now.
So, now that you have your WordPress login details, let’s go ahead and do that now. You will arrive at a page that looks like this
This is the Dashboard. From here you can start a new page, new post, install a ‘plugin’, change settings, install themes or page builders and many other things. All WordPress Installations come with a default theme. So if you view your site, you will see something that resembles a website.
As I said before, there are many many themes you can choose from to build your website. All the websites I build are built using a theme called Divi. It has been created by Elegant Themes. By far this is the best theme I have ever used, and once you understand how it works, and with some practise, you will be able to build a professional website that looks exactly how you want it to and do what you want it to!.
Divi has great support, lots of tutorials and an engaged user community who are super helpful when you get stuck, want feedback or just want to ask a question. Just search Divi on Facebook and you’ll find plenty of groups to join. Elegant Themes also has a Facebook community you can join and if you decide to use Divi I highly recommend you join their group.
So there you have it, the first steps you need to take to get your website set up and ready to go! But before you start building, you really need to think about what you want the website to do for you. So often I see websites that just don’t help a clients (in the case of a business) or reader (in the case of a blog) find what they’re looking for when they arrive at a website.
Before I build a website for a client I work with them to identify exactly what they want their website to do, before I set about building any pages. This is something I would recommend you do too.
If you need some help, contact me for a free 20 minute chat!