Step by Step Guide to Create Your Own Website
There are a lot of directions you can go when starting up a business and getting that business online. It can definitely seem a little overwhelming but there are a few (pretty) simple steps to take in order to go live the right way. I have shared previously what you need to start your creative business along with the essential content you need on your website. But today I want to share a step by step guide to create your own website today! I will say that there are so many different routes you can take to make a website but this is what I have used and gives me a good amount of control over my website along with personalization to everything I need as a designer and creative entrepreneur.
Domain Name: GoDaddy
The number one step in this guide to create your own website is to pick and buy your own domain name to make your business legit! I use GoDaddy for my domain names and have never had a problem, I’m able to easily renew them and they connect well with everything else in this list. Also depending on what your website address will be they are really not that expensive and a good way to look professional from the start.
Easy route: You could definitely start up a blog through wordpress.com or similar type sites and use their name in your domain but if you really want to do it right from the start then I would say buy your name.
Website Building Platform: WordPress
In order to create your own website you will next need a web platform, which is the actual application you use to build your website in. I have tried a few different platforms over time but my favorite and what I currently use now is WordPress.org It’s self hosted, meaning you have to have a separate host for your website, which I talk about in the next step.
A big plus is that it is free! (you just have to pay for hosting)
There are many things to take into consideration when picking a platform, like how much customization you want, how many options you need in terms of themes and designs, and how much you’re willing to learn new tools. All of these reasons are why I use WordPress.org because I am able to use the free themes and plugins (so many options) and I am also able to customize my site as a I need to by diving a little deeper into the CSS and HTML - but don’t worry you don’t need to know that stuff to use WordPress.org. The user interface for building your website might take a little getting used to but I don’t think it’s that difficult to learn.
Hosting: SiteGround (referral link)
Since I use WordPress.org I also need a place to host my website and I use SiteGround (referral link). There are quite a lot of options when it comes to hosting and they vary greatly in cost. I decided on SiteGround after I did a lot of researching on what other small businesses were using and weighing the pros and cons of the different options. I really like that SiteGround has a few different plans based on what is needed. So far I have been really happy with SiteGround and I recommend them to anyone who asks!
Easy route: I love that SiteGround has specific WordPress plans with a 1 click installer which makes it easy to set up your site right away.
Theme: WordPress Themes
Since I use WordPress.org I have a huge variety of themes to pick from (versus using wordpress.com). This is definitely a fun part of putting together your website because you get to actually see the design coming together. I currently use the free theme Flash and with just a few tweaks to it I am pretty happy with how it looks and functions. There are also a ton of paid themes out there, which I have yet to explore but maybe down the road I will check some out. The other cool thing about using the WordPress themes is being able to live preview them before changing your theme.
Content: Must Haves
This step is pretty much a no brainer in order to create your own website, you need to actually add in content to your website! This should be super fun and you can check out more about what I recommend having at a bare minimum in this past blog post. Basically this includes your main focus of the business, more about you, and your services or products.
Just as a bonus here’s a few other things I set up immediately to get my website and business running smoothly and professionally from the start!
Email: G Suite
I could use the email service through SiteGround but I really like the functionality of Google Suite so I opt to use that and pay the $5 per month fee which is totally worth it since it gives me access to everything Google related (gmail, drive, calendar, etc)
Google Analytics is a great tool to use and it’s free! So there’s really no reason to not use it. It gives great insight into your traffic and everything going on with your website visitors. Also as a blogger it’s great to see what is driving visitors to my blog and which posts are the most popular!