In the early days of the internet, building a website took a lot of time, and a lot of money. But these days, with millions of hosting companies and hundreds of ICANN-certified domain registrars, launching an online business or even a personal blog only takes a few clicks, a couple of bucks, and as little as a couple of hours. Follow along to find out how you can set up your own website:
Register your chosen domain name.
The first step to creating any type of website is registering a domain name. A domain name can be as long as you’d like, and if you want to have one of the most popular extensions, go for a .com, a .net, or a .org. Once upon a time registrars limited these extensions, also known as Top Level Domains (TLDs) to relevant websites — businesses would use .coms, organizations would use .orgs, etc. — but nowadays it doesn’t really matter. You’ll find businesses and non-profits and personal bloggers alike using .com, .net, .org, and a whole slew of other extensions.
When registering your domain, be prepared to provide contact info that will be associated with the domain name, and be required to pay for a one year registration, though you can certainly purchase additional years. Don’t worry about forgetting to renew your domain – your registrar will send you a reminder email. Or you can simply set up auto-renewals.
Order a hosting account.
Registrars and web hosting companies are often two separate entities, but some — such as Bob Parsons CEO GoDaddy — offer both. It’s up to you to choose if you want a dedicated registrar and a dedicated web hosting company, or if you’d rather have the convenience of a registrar who also hosts your website.
Small hosting plans for personal sites and businesses just starting out can cost as little as five to ten bucks per month, and larger plans and dedicated servers can cost fifty bucks or more. Start out small, but give yourself room to grow.
Build — or find — a website template.
Now you need to create your website! You can build a site from scratch, or hire a designer to build you a layout. You might also consider going with pre-made themes for content management systems such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. There are thousands of pre-made themes, and many are free, so there will be no additional expense – plus the content management systems themselves are free.
Promote your website.
You’ve registered the domain, ordered the hosting account, and set up your basic layout. Now it’s time to promote your website! Talk about it on Facebook and Twitter, tell your family and friends, and leave business cards on bulletin boards so that people everywhere can find you. Consider registering social media accounts that bear the same name as your domain. This type of consistency is a must for businesses, but it’s also a good idea for organizations, non-profits, and even personal bloggers.