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First, before we explain why February is Webuary, you should know there are zero referral links in this article. Most articles on how to build a basic web site are full of referral links, so the author can make a referral fee each time the readers visit or buy from hosting companies and domain selling companies. In other words, they might just suggest specific companies because they get paid to do so. Not this article.
Now, let’s declare “February is Web-uary” and help you build a website.
4 Steps to Make Your Website or Blog: Simplified Version
- Pick and buy a domain name. That’s your internet address, the thing after “www.” and before something like “.com” or “.net” or “.org” or another ending.
- Pick and pay for hosting services.
- Tweak the design settings so it looks like you imagined it should.
- Add content to your website. Paste in photos, write blog posts or articles, and more.
The 4 Steps to Make Your Website or Blog: Explained a Lot Better
So here are those same steps from above, explained a lot better.
1. Pick and buy a domain name.
Brainstorm a few names you like before looking online to see which are available. Then go to Name Silo to see which of those is available.
Why do I suggest Name Silo?
Name Silo is ranked #5 on Top 40 Cheapest Domain Name Registration & Hosting Options (webhostingcolumns.com) for “.com” names. They explain at the top of that page they reviewed over 70 domain registration providers and only list the top 40, and they even explain how and why they were ranked. And there are no referral links on the site. Even if they add referral links later, the Web Hosting Columns researchers really took their rankings seriously.
Find a domain name you like on Name Silo, and make sure it’s a “.com” or whichever ending you prefer.
While adding an SSL security certificate to your site is important, in this case we don’t need to buy it from Name Silo because we’ll buy it from the hosting company in Step 2.
The other reasons for picking Name Silo include the ability to keep your “Who Is” information private and low cost to transfer the domain to another company if needed.
2. Pick and pay for hosting services.
If you think of your domain name as the “official” name for your business, then the hosting services are like the mall that can rent you an empty shop for your business.
So, yes, the simple thing to do is shop around for the lowest cost provider. Price is important.
But, you also want your website to be available to visitors 24/7, secure (doesn’t steal your customers’ information), and big enough for everything you plan to put there. You also want to know what their other customers think of them—like, if the customers say the host doesn’t deliver on any of its promises, you want to know, right?
There are even website owners who want to make sure their “shops” are in different “malls” (housed on different servers or even with different hosting companies) and that they avoid certain “neighborhoods” (a server full of questionable sites for criminal activity). (We won’t go into further details on those concerns here—most beginner bloggers are not worried about these.)
You could do a ton of research to pick a hosting service, or you could look at other people’s research. Again, I’m going to pull from Web Hosting Columns, this time for their pages on hosting. I’m using the “Cheap Hosting” ratings; they also rank “green” hosting packages, offshore hosting packages—and in case you are not sure which to pick, they explain a little about them in the introductory paragraphs above each ranking list.
For “cheap hosting,” I currently recommend Hostinger, which has hosting packages that have earned the #3, #5, and #6 spots on the top 20 list. It’s one of the best in terms of low cost, high up-time, and good customer service reviews. (Web Hosting Columns looks at 6 different sources for their customer service scoring.) Get a package including an SSL certificate to protect your visitors.
Can you skip hosting services by doing it yourself?
Yes. You can learn how to host on your own computer and be responsible for everything. But this article is for beginners, most of whom don’t want to spend that amount of time on self-hosting. (Again, I’m not going to cover that here.)
3. Tweak the design settings so it looks like you imagined it should.
Many hosting platforms provide a free WordPress content management system (CMS). If you imagine the hosting company as your mall, then picking your CMS is like picking a company to deliver all the bookshelves, tables, clothing racks, and window signs you plan to use to organize how your products are displayed in your store.
While WordPress is free and used by 43% of all websites (it depends on how you search for this number), there are other CMSs worth noting, especially if you are already familiar with one of them: Joomla, Drupal, Equid, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Woo Commerce, etc.
If you were inspired by another site’s appearance, take a look at the footer and see if it mentions the CMS’s name, and also look for the theme’s name. The theme is a customized version of a CMS platform. Even after you load your CMS and pick a theme, you can still change so many things!
- Color scheme
- Text fonts
- Size of images you use on each post
- Whether to add a logo and where to place it
- Whether to use a top-of-screen or side-of-screen navigation bar
- Whether to build the entire site on one page or spread it over zillions of pages
- How visitors will be coaxed from one page to the next
- Whether to include pop ups, spinning carousels, a shop selling products, advertisements, sound effects, or none of these
- Whether to use a “blog” format with the most recent post showing as the main page first impression or creating a static page for the first impression
- Whether all parts of the site will be available to the public or some will be members-only content
- And so much more!
4. Add content to your website. Paste in photos, write blog posts or articles, and more.
You decided you want a spinning carousel featuring your favorite top 10 article titles—so, now you need to write those 10 articles, either post them as blog posts or create a static page for each, add photos if wanted, format the articles for readability, tweak titles, perhaps link to a few resources, and THEN load the 10 articles’ title images into that carousel spinner you want.
If you are overwhelmed or just don’t know where to start, try drawing a picture of your ideal website’s home page. Then use a different piece of paper for another important page on your site. Do that for your main pages, then go back and make all of those same elements online, on your website.
Again, February is Webuary, and this is just the beginner article. It can get your website or blog started—but the biggest part is you, creating what you imagined.
There are plenty of online tutorials and offline books on using WordPress, designing sites, and more related topics. Let us know if you are stuck in a specific spot, and we’ll write back with some recommendations.