When it comes to building a website for your business or personal brand, the most difficult part of the process is usually getting started. There are so many details to hammer out, and you can quickly end up with a “how do you eat an elephant” situation. The good news is that I can break this process down for you one “bite” at a time. Some or all of the links I use on my posts are affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase of any of the products I recommend, I receive a small commission. I do not use affiliate links to products or services that I would not recommend or personally use.
The process described below is how I would set up any basic site. The steps below are not steps you must take, but rather the steps I would take in establishing a site.
Once you have completed creating your basic website, the next step you will take in the adventure is figuring out how you are going to optimize your website for search engine results that fit what your site has to offer.
Step 1: Hosting Your Website and Buying Your Domain
There are so many places you can host your website and buy a domain that you will go cross-eyed comparing the lot of them. In an effort to keep things simple I am only going to recommend my two favorites for individual websites. If you were to consider getting your own server, my choice would be LiquidWeb Hosting. Right now you do not need a server. All you need is a good shared hosting plan and a domain so people can visit your website.
GoDaddy offers a number of great plans for people to get started when building your website. They have all sorts of different plans ranging from site builders to managed WordPress hosting and more! PLEASE DO NOT CHOOSE ANY OF THESE. If you plan to work with any developers on a website you will want to allow them to have cPanel Access. The customer support reps may tell you that the managed solutions are better, but this is not the case. All you need to get from GoDaddy is head to their website, then click “hosting” > “website hosting” and select either “Ultimate”. Having a faster loading website is a great thing for SEO, plus a free SSL certificate will save you money this year and all sites now pretty much require an SSL certificate to avoid Google penalties.
I personally like using GoDaddy because their customer support reps are really nice and their products never let me down. I have been a GoDaddy user for quite a few years, and occasionally the support team will give me a helpful call to save money before I renew my products. That is how they stick in my mind whenever I need to make a recommendation.
P.S: Buying Ultimate hosting comes with a free domain – keep it under 15 characters for SEO and when setting up your domain make sure to leave out the “www”.
Using any of the above links to GoDaddy will also give you 30% off.
Bluehost has a very similar offering to GoDaddy. Business Pro hosting would be my recommendation here. The three main takeaways from the service offering that you will need anyway are:
- Consistent, fast hosting plan
- Free Domain
- Free SSL Certificate
All in all, this is a great company and a great service. I have worked with the kind BlueHost customer support team quite a bit so if you ever run into trouble, in my experience, they are more than capable of helping you get things back in order. Never hesitate to call customer service when in doubt!
Step 2: Choose a Theme
There are a ton of themes available on the internet. Many people like the offerings on ThemeForest, and StudioPress offers some pretty popular themes too. For me, I would choose Divi by Elegant Themes almost every time. Most of my websites are build on Divi for two reasons. For one, the site builder (visual and back-end) is super easy to use. The blog can also teach you so much about how to use the theme that you will likely be able to make a site that looks way better than this one in no time. I highly recommend buying the theme. I also think it is a good choice to buy the “Lifetime Access” license so you can use any of their theme packages over and over again.
So… What’s Next?
If I were you, I would install the theme, then head over to LogoJoy.com and make a logo! Then I would add some content and photos to make your basic site. Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!