If you want to be taken seriously as an entrepreneur in this day and age, it’s an absolute necessity to have your own website.
Without it, you’re virtually invisible to the rest of the world, and people won’t take you seriously.
Other reasons to build your own website include:
- You need a place to show off all of your amazing work, ideas, and everything you care about.
- You need to be in control of that work, highlighting what you want people to see and not at the whim of another organization.
- You need a place for your fans to call home, a place for them to find your latest release, to enjoy your work, to send their friends to, to patronize you.
- You need to build a portfolio of high-quality work that you can send to potential partners, employers, customers, etc., to learn everything they want to learn about you.
- Let’s be clear: there is no limit to the good that can come from creating your own website.
Are you convinced yet?
Before we dive in, we have to make this disclaimer:
We are not experts at website development. Do not use this article as a definitive guide to your web development work. Instead, use it as an introductory manual to clear things up for you.
With that said, it doesn’t take much work to put together a pretty respectable website. We’re going to show you how.
First, some definitions:
Domain name = This is the name of your website, the _______.com that will become your little piece of online real estate. You’ll need to select and purchase your own domain name.
Hosting service = Imagine that your domain name is a home address. Now that you have the address for the home, you need to buy the land. The “land” is your hosting service. You’ll also need to select and purchase a hosting service to get your site up and running.
Content Management System (CMS) = This is where you’ll be directly adding the content that will display on your website. In other words, this is how you will type up blog posts, add photos or videos, link to other websites, and everything else. Ever heard of WordPress? This is one of the world’s most popular CMS’s, and the one we’ll be recommending you to use.
1. Decide on a Domain Name
It’s time to get serious. Your domain name will be with you for the foreseeable future, so be mindful with your decision. Yes, you can always buy a new name, but in the name of frugality, it’s always best to buy only what you need.
If you have been using a name for your venture already, great! Look to see if it’s available. If so, pounce on it! Otherwise, you may have to add another word or somehow alter the wording in order to find one that isn’t taken (or doesn’t cost $5,000 — looking at you, growyouridea.com).
Alternatively, if you’re open to a final domain name, start to brainstorm some ideas. Write down a list of words and phrases that are easy to remember, type, say, and get your point across.
Depending on your particular line of business, another effective route may be to use your own name as a domain name. For example, if your name is Peter Lee, to buy the domain name peterlee.com. It’s straightforward, easy for people to remember, and it can be the home base for any project you ever get in to!
2. Purchase a Domain Name
Now that you have a name picked out, let’s buy it.
Head to GoDaddy.com, 1and1.com, or another domain listing service. According to our research, everyone’s prices seem to be the same. Unless you have any particular affiliation, don’t fret too much on the organization you buy from. Each one offers a very standardized service.
Type your domain name into the search bar, confirm its availability, and then buy it!
As you go through the checkout process, you will be offered a long list of extra services. Purchasing these are completely up to your own discretion, however we haven’t purchased them in the past and have not since regretted it.
In terms of price, there’s usually a deal for the first year, and then it costs around $15 for each additional year on top. We’re fans of buying the domain name for 2 years, as it’s not too little or too much time.
Without the add-ons, the total cost for buying a domain name for 2 years is $20-30.
3. Purchase a Hosting Service
Now it’s time to buy a place to host your website.
Do your research here. There’s a lot to learn (almost too much). You don’t have to understand it all, but you ultimately have to make a decision and purchase a hosting service.
If you want our short recommendation: use Siteground’s StartUp plan. We’ve used it for our websites due to Siteground’s cost-effective pricing and quick, high-quality customer service, and we’ve experienced absolutely zero problems with them.
Our longer recommendation is to poke around Google to discover exactly what you’re looking for.
In the end, expect to pay between $3–5 per month for the first year. Prices jump after the first year, so be aware of that. Hopefully by that point you’ll be able to afford the increased cost. When you’re about to buy, make sure to visit a few industry sites like WPBeginner to fine the best deals (this is where the hosting services advertise).
For the first year (paid up-front), the total cost for buying a hosting service is $40-50.
4. Install a Content Management System (CMS)
We’re almost to the fun part, but first we need to install a CMS on your website. Time and time again, we recommend using WordPress because of its powerful capabilities, user-friendly interface, and ubiquitous support community.
Most hosting services offer a one-click installation of WordPress that isn’t too hard to figure out. Simply follow the instructions provided for you. If you’re lazy and non-technical (like us), just ask the customer service team to set it up for you. Within minutes, they’ll have connected your site to a WordPress account and provide you with a unique username and password.
Once you’re in to your WordPress account, spend some time poking around. Feel free to mess with anything you want. At this point, nobody knows about your website and won’t see what you’re up to.
The total cost of installing WordPress on your website is $0.
5. Fill your Website with Content
You’re ready to start filling your site up with tons of great content, or in other words, this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for.
It’s extremely helpful to take a moment to think about how you want the website to look when it’s completed. Then, with that vision in mind, begin putting everything together.
First: add videos, photos, articles, and anything else you’ve already created onto your website. This will immediately provide some depth. Next, create your blog, or at least a page that will serve as your blog moving forward.
Write an “About Us” page to let people learn more about who you are, your mission, and everything you’re working on. You want people to be able to connect with the person on the other side of the screen. Also, include a way for people to contact you if they feel so inclined.
Then, spend some time getting comfortable with WordPress and all of its capabilities. Some of the world’s most popular websites are built on WordPress, so there really is no limit to what you can do with it. Be aware that most of the top-tier, premium features are paid services. Don’t fret though; there is an unbelievable amount of power that you have without having to spend another dime.
Lastly, know that it doesn’t matter if your website’s nice and shiny at first. It only matters that your website exists and that you update it regularly. Your site will continue to evolve over time, so never worry if something is off or not 100% perfect; everything will be okay in the long run.
From here, it’s smooth sailing. You now have your own website. Use it to your utmost advantage. Show off your amazing work to the world. Direct professional colleagues, new connections, potential employers — literally anyone — to your new website. Use it to grow your personal brand and expand your reach. Above all, stay committed: you never know where this may lead you.
If you have any specific questions, please message us at Hello@GrowYourIdeaToday.com & we’ll be happy to answer them.