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Stop whatever you’re doing and ask yourself this simple question: “Do I need a website?” If your answer is other than “yes”, then you should think again. It doesn’t matter if you’re the boss of a multinational company that employs thousands of people or a local mom-and-pop shop from across the road, you need a website to help potential customers find you online. If you have a business, failing to set up a home online is a loss of revenue. You do not want that.
Create Your Own Website WordPress
Fortunately, there are a large number of web hosting services at your disposal. Choosing one is the hard part, as it depends on the quality of the service and its ability to meet your needs. Best Web Hosting Services is an excellent place to start, as it highlights our ten favorite web hosts.
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As much as actually building and designing the nuts and bolts of your site, you also have plenty of options. You can hire someone to design and code a website, or you can try it yourself (if you’re a beginner, the best courses for learning how to build websites are an excellent starting point). You can use an online service to create web pages, or create them offline with a desktop software tool. Or, if you’re a coding dynamo, use a plain text editor to build a site from scratch. How you mix and match these decisions depends on your skills, time, budget, and intelligence.
If you’re ready to go, this guide will introduce you to the services and software that can get you started on building your own website, even if you have no experience. Keep in mind that none of these tools will give you an idea of a successful website – that’s on you. Nor will it get you to the Internet
, a job that differs from creating a website. However, these services and software will mitigate some of the issues that come from a lack of extensive experience with CSS, FTP, HTML, and PHP. Let’s get started.
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Design Your Own Website With WordPress: The Ultimate, Step By Step, Beginner’s Guide To A Full Featured WordPress Website For Small Business, Coaches, Authors & Bloggers By Narayan Kumar
Blog, short for the old word on arrival “weblog,” is a unique subset of a website that you may recognize from its familiar layout. Usually, new content is at the top of the page and older posts are revealed as you scroll down. If you need to quickly build a simple website, starting with a blogging service is a great way to go.
The main player in the blogging game is WordPress, a Content Management System (CMS) that powers millions of websites, including
. WordPress-powered sites are incredibly easy to set up, customize, and update — ideally on a daily basis. You’re not required to learn fancy FTP tricks (although you can certainly use them if you want), and there are ridiculous numbers of free and paid WordPress themes and WordPress plugins to give your website a pretty face and vastly expanded functionality. Check out How to Get Started with WordPress to learn everything you need to know about a CMS, including the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Although WordPress dominates the blogging space, it is not the only blogging CMS of note.
Yahoo’s Tumblr is another incredibly popular blogging platform that makes way for shorter, more pointed posts. However, you can find themes that give your Tumblr a more traditional website look and feel. Blogger by Google features close integration with Google AdSense, so making extra pocket change is a snap. Newer blogging services, such as Anchor, Feather, and Medium, emphasize writing and publishing more than just a complex design, but they’re incredibly easy to update.
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These services can host your content on their servers for free, but for that zero cost, your online destination will have a less than neat domain, like jeffreylwilson.tumblr.com. This might be fine for a personal blog, but it would seem like a low rent for a business that wants people to trust it enough to pay for everything you sell.
If you prefer a more traditional URL, you’ll need to purchase one from the likes of GoDaddyor Namecheap. Domain name pricing can range from very cheap to very expensive, depending on whether or not the domain framers are looking to flip a valuable chunk of real estate online. You’ll want something short, but evocative and engaging. For more, please read How to Register a Domain Name.
Depending on your hosting service, you may need to download and upload a CMS to your hosted platform if you want to use a domain you purchased elsewhere.
If you’re worried about how your site will look on mobile devices, don’t worry. Sites built on these blogging platforms usually have responsive and mobile-friendly design versions, well-formatted for smartphones and tablets.
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Blogging is bloated, but sometimes you need a simple place to park your online persona for branding purposes. In this case, you can just have a nameplate site, or as we like to think of it, a personal web page (rather than a multi-page site). Instead of linking internally to your store or other notable pages as you would with a more traditional web page, a personal site usually contains links that go elsewhere – to social networks, wishlists, playlists, or anything else that can be linked.
About.me is an example of a nameplate service. Simply upload a large image as the background for your personal webpage, then artfully overlay information and links to create your very own digital nameplate. These free sites help you pull images from your social networks or a hard drive, and then provide the tools to make the text and links work unobtrusively, although you really need to check out other profiles to get an idea of what works.
These services usually offer a premium level that gives more flexibility in hosting. For example, About.me’s $8 per month premium package removes the company’s branding and gives you the ability to link your site to an externally purchased domain.
Artists with big show-off bags shouldn’t feel left out. There are a number of personal page/website builders, including BigBlackBag and SmugMug, that showcase your work as well or better than Flickr or Instagram can.
WordPress Website Builder
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When it’s time to go beyond blogs, beyond online resumes, and beyond page links, what service do you turn to for a complete site that gives you the flexibility to build almost anything you want? There is no shortage of such services, but three of our favorites are DreamHost, HostGator, and Hostwinds, which are well-rounded services that feature many types and levels of hosting.
You can get started for about $10 per month for share hosting or WordPress if your website doesn’t require a lot of server horsepower. As your business expands, your website may need more horsepower. This is when you should look inward, VPS, and dedicated hosting. These levels of services are for when you really need a web host that offers plenty of storage, a large amount of monthly data transfers, and several email accounts.
Even if you don’t sign up with these web hosts, you should look for services that offer similar features. You will need a WYSIWYG editor that will allow you to adjust each page and add photos, videos, and social links. Spending a few extra bucks usually yields powerful ecommerce and search engine optimization (SEO) packages to better position for Bing, Google, and Yahoo. Most advanced web hosting services include at least one domain name, for free, when you sign up.
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Before moving on, we should discuss integrating commerce into your website. If you plan to sell a product or service, this is an essential part of the website building process that cannot be ignored. Fortunately, most web hosting services offer a variety of different bundled software and integrations.
Things to look for while you’re checking out include ecommerce hosts, drag-and-drop store builders, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) software to protect financial transactions, and an email marketing plug so you don’t have to work with a third-party seller in order to promote your business. There’s nothing per se wrong with using an offline marketing service, but anything that adds convenience means more time to spend on the rest of your business. For more in-depth advice on starting to sell online, you should consider our story on the six factors businesses need to consider when choosing a web host.
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There is another relatively quick way to get your website online: website builders. These are standalone services that feature drag and drop tools and templates