If you have always wanted to build a website, here is your chance. In this article, I share what components you need in order to get a website started.
Though there are many ways to get started and there are many different types of websites that require different solutions. To keep things simple, I will show you how to get started creating a website for sharing content.
Here is a brief checklist of what you need to get or to do:
- Web hosting solution
- Connect domain to web hosting
Buy a domain name
A domain name is what people will type in their browser in order to find your website. As an example, this website domain is “brianvuong.com”.
Domain names are pretty cheap, coming in around $10 for a .COM domain. There are several places known as “domain registrars” where you can purchase a domain name. Here is a short list:
- Namecheap.com (recommended)
You will find some web hosting companies (we’ll explain “web hosting” in a second) also offer domain registration services. Domains are the same from any place that you buy them. Choose a reputable company that has great customer service and low prices, and you are good to go. My recommendation is Namecheap because annual renewal fees are much lower and they have excellent live chat support.
Also, keep in mind domains are purchases are done yearly. You may also want to ensure automatic renewal so you can avoid forgetting to pay for the domain and losing it entirely.
We’ll talk about how to pick a domain name in a future post.
Choose a web hosting provider
A web hosting provider is a company that can have your website be accessible to the world. It “hosts” the files and codes that make your website, so others can find it when they visit.
Most web hosting solutions offer monthly contracts, costing somewhere between $10 to $20 per month. You can also save some money buying a yearly plan. Here is a short list of popular web hosting solutions:
- Namecheap.com (recommended)
- Shopify.com (ecommerce-specific)
- Squarespace.com (ecommerce-specific)
There are many web hosting companies out there. I would pick based on reputation, live chat customer support, and a bit on pricing. You will also want to pick one that has a simple to use interface so you can easily find your way around. My recommendation is yet again Namecheap. Their live chat customer support is fantastic, and they will help you with even the most confusing issues you might face.
Types of web hosting
When you pick a web hosting provider, there are many different packages you can choose from. Each deal with how “resources” are allocated. Cheaper options mean you share resources with other websites. More expensive ones mean you have the whole server (explained in a second) to yourself. I’ll use a washroom and bathtub analogy to explain each. Here is a brief description of the common types of web hosting:
- Shared hosting: where your website is run alongside other websites, and everyone shares the same tub and bath water (weird analogy, I know!)
- VPS hosting: same as shared hosting, but you get your own tub with a set amount of bath water allocated to you
- Dedicated hosting: where you have your own tub and get all the bath water to yourself
Shared hosting is perfect when starting out. When your website becomes sluggish and can crash because you have tens of thousands of visitors each month, then you can look into VPS and dedicated hosting solutions.
Some platforms like Wix, Shopify, and Squarespace offer content management systems (CMS) with your web hosting. Like a two-in-one deal that you wouldn’t notice. These can make life a lot easier to get started. A content management system is basically how content you create, share, and organize on your website is managed.
If you do not wish to spend all your time figuring out the technical side of website management, I recommend these platforms for simplicity and ease of use. You may not necessarily want to spend all your time on the technical side, and simply want a website up and running.
My recommendation is to choose drag-and-drop website building solutions like Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly. If you are technically savvy and want more control, WordPress hosting or shared hosting where you install WordPress yourself can be the way to go from web hosting providers.
WordPress is a content management system that helps you build your website with ease.
If you aren’t sure what “more control is” or feel you are not technically savvy, stick to drag-and-drop solutions so you avoid spending forever on website management.
If you want to sell products, you will want something dedicated to ecommerce such as Shopify or Squarespace. Not only do they make creating content for your website easy, they also manage your product listings and provide integrated payment processing systems. WordPress with Woocommerce (best described as an add-on to WordPress) can do the trick as well, but may not be as simple to manage as other web hosting providers).
One thing I would keep in mind is that even if you want to save a few bucks each month, if you want to make sure you can get started as quickly and easily as possible, consider investing in slightly pricier solutions. Especially if you want to build a business and working towards making money online, the last thing you want to do is spend all your time figuring out how to manage your website.
Connect your domain and website together
Once you have your domain and web hosting figured out, all you need to do is put the two together. Live chat support from both the domain registrar and web hosting provider can help you with this. The way it will work is that your domain is like a phone number and web hosting is your cell phone. Once you put the two together, others can then reach you!
The specific details go into domain name system (DNS) management. You want your domain to point to a nameserver or IP that is where your website is hosted. Complicated stuff. So reach out to the customer support team so they can help you get started.
Now work on your website content and design!
This concludes our guide on getting started with a website. We discussed getting a domain name so people know what to type into a browser to find you. We also discussed what web hosting solution you can use, either for simplicity with drag-and-drop, for a little more control using WordPress, or choosing with e-commerce consideration.
Your next steps
Your next step is to put together content onto your website + create a pleasing design. Maybe come up with a plan first or logo (use Canva.com for this).