So you want to start a business website. Or maybe a blog – or both, why not. But where do you start? How do you build a safe and secure website that looks great? I actually get this question a lot from people who want to start a business or a blog that they can eventually monetize – so I thought I’d write all about it here so you can learn what steps you need to take.
In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to launch your very own website or blog.
How to start a website: a step by step overview
Before I go into each point in detail, it helps to have a holistic view of the whole process.
- Step 1: Pick your hosting and domain name
- Step 2: Pick your CMS (content management system)
- Step 3: Planning and Designing your website/blog
Each of these steps have their own, smaller, steps, but these are the main stages that you need to go through in order to eventually publish your website.
Now, I’m not a website designer (I’ve dabbled, but not enough to be an expert on it) so this post won’t focus much on that part, but rather on the actual setting up of your website: finding website hosting, finding a good domain name, and setting up your content management system.
Pick your domain name
The best place to start is with your website’s domain name. I am lucky enough to have an unusual name which made it easy to set up a domain name in my name, but most aren’t that lucky. And even if you don’t go with your name (or someone else’s name), chances are the first few ideas you think of are already taken and either unavailable or too expensive to buy.
So, to search for a domain name and see if it’s available (.com, .org, and others) you can use this domain search – but don’t forget to select the right domain (.com, .co.uk, .org, and so on):
If the domain is available, you can quickly snatch it up. If not, you’ll get some suggestions for other variations of your preferred website name which are available.
But before you go registering anything, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind about website names and URLs – because a bad website name can have a negative impact on your success.
You want to ideally be able to make it catch, easy to remember, and easy to write. Or, to go into more detail about what makes a good website name:
- Easy to write: meaning, try to use actual existing words or else you might confuse visitors
- Keep it short: just take a look at the latest list of the world’s biggest websites:
As you can see above, they all keep it short and sweet. In fact, the vast majority of these websites are just one word – only a few are made up of 2 words and none of them more than 2. And while it can be difficult to come up with a website name that’s both short and makes sense, it is also a pretty big part of your website’s success.
- Avoid using numbers, symbols – and basically anything other than letters. That’s because it can often cause confusion especially if you’re told what a website’s name is; to give you an example, if I hadn’t seen all of the Five Guys restaurants popping up in London lately, and someone told me to visit the Five Guys website, I’d really no idea if it was 5 guys or five guys. And sure, you might say it’s easy to figure and it is, but people often simply don’t care enough to do even a few seconds worth of research, so you need to keep your domain names simple
- Make sure you can use it: it’s not just the domain name’s existence that you need to care about. What is there’s a business that has your name but doesn’t have a website (hard to believe, but it can definitely happen!) or if that phrase is somehow copyrighted? It might lead to some legal problems so it’s best to thoroughly research any website names that you like
And finally, try to go for a “.com” domain; it’s the most widely used domain and it does tend to inspire more trust than another, lesser-known domains. But, of course, that’s also up to you and especially up to your location (because if you operate in certain countries, it’s wiser in some cases to use that countries’ domain).
Basically, in short, your website name needs to be short and sweet and it needs to be easy to remember.
Make sure to do your research though in order to make sure that there aren’t similar website names, organisations, and so on – it can lead to confusion on the visitors’ part.
So, what’s the next step now that you’ve found the right domain name and it’s available (yay!)?
Choose your hosting!
Getting started with Bluehost for hosting your website or blog
There are several great hosting services available, but when it comes to WordPress (which is the most popular content management system in the world, with more than a quarter of all websites using WordPress), the best option is probably Bluehost – which is built for WordPress users (and also includes 1-click WordPress install!) and is recommended by WordPress itself (or rather, the people behind WordPress).
And plus, apart from hosting, you also get some great bonuses:
- You can get your domain for free
- You have access to free website builders and 1-click WordPress install
- And plus, you have access to 24/7 support which is very important in case something happens with your website (no one wants their website down for hours just because they can’t reach the right people!)
- You have access to $150+ in ad offers (from Google, Bing, and so on) – a nice little bonus to help you get your blog or business website off the ground
Great storage is extremely important because you want to share your website runs smoothly at all times.
So, how do you get started with Bluehost?
Visit the website here, where you can browse through their plans.
Then, choose the right plan depending on your particular needs, such as how much space you’re going to need, how many subdomains you want, and how many emails you need to create.
If you already have a domain name purchased, you have the option to sign up with that domain; otherwise, you can set up a new domain for free with Bluehost:
It’s important to know at this stage that with most hosting services, you need to pay in advance at least a year – but the more you pay in advance, the less you’ll pay in total.
After setting this all up, you’ll also be offered a few other extras; some of them can come in very handy, but you don’t have to make any other decision at this point necessarily (you can still get these packages later).
In terms of extras, you can get domain privacy protection (so your personal information is secure and private), site backup (it’s always a good idea to make a backup of your website, just to be safe), search engine jumpstart (to help you optimise your blog or website for search engines), and SiteLock Security (basically, extra security).
And that’s pretty much it: you’ve got yourself a domain name, website hosting, and the tools you need to start building your WordPress website:
Getting started with WordPress
Since Bluehost is a WordPress-recommended hosting service, it stands to reason that you’ll also get some other benefits; and you do – like the 1-click WordPress install. In your cPanel, click on MOJO Marketplace and then click on the 1-click Install button.
From there, it’s just a few clicks to installing WordPress.
Next, to build your website can just click on Start Building in your Bluehost dashboard to put together your WordPress website.
The next step is to create your WordPress account; you can do that by going to Users and clicking on Add New; then, simply follow the instructions to create your account; once done, log into your account by visiting www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin/.
And that’s pretty much it – or, well, in terms of setting up your hosting and your content management system – there’s still the actual website to design as well.
If you’re thinking of creating a website or blog, Bluehost is a great hosting solution; it’s affordable, reliable, and you can get unlimited-everything with most plans (like website space, bandwidth, number of email accounts, and email storage). And on top of all of that, you also get WordPress and 1-click install – I’ve been a WordPress user for probably over a decade now and I couldn’t recommend it enough (there’s a reason more than a quarter of all websites are WordPress, after all!).
What hosting and CMS are you using? Leave your comments below and please share if you enjoyed the post 🙂
Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street. She’s a hugely connected and highly influential entrepreneur. Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and was crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle. She is listed as the number one Influencer in the UK by Career Experts and is a recipient for a Global Women Champions Award for her outstanding contribution and leadership in business.