Today, a web presence can play a key part in your business or individual portfolio. With the tools available, you can start your own website for under $150.00 for the whole year (including hosting, domain, and even a free SSL certificate). All you need are some basic tools that are available online. Instead of spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on a website, why not attempt making one yourself? Not only is it a great learning experience but you will also learn some important tricks that you can apply at your job, at home, and throughout your life. Over the next couple weeks, we will cover everything you need to create a great website for your company. There are obviously going to be different ways of creating a site however, we will be covering one simple and easy WordPress path that others tend to use.
This is just the beginning. You will need to spend time in order to make a successful website. Expect to make mistakes, retry, research, and possibly even cry. Just remember, we are here to help and are willing to do everything we can to make sure you understand what you are doing. You will also be putting some money into your site but compared to what web designers charge, this will be under $150, we promise.
One important thing you need before you build a website is a domain name. A domain name is the address a user types to go to your site. For example, when going to Google you type “www.google.ca”. This is a domain name. These days, finding a domain name can be tough but there are many domain name generators you can use.
Some domain name generators:
If you are making a personal website and have a unique name, you can always use your name as a domain instead (for example, Bob Marley’s website domain is www.bobmarley.com). For businesses however, you may find that your company name has already been taken as a domain for another business. In this case, the three domain generators above are a great resource for coming up with something you can use.
To view whether a domain is available, you can visit a domain registrar’s website. We prefer GoDaddy because of their great rates on domains. Click here to access their website. You can also choose from a variety of extensions like .ca, .com, .co, .net and so on. If you are unsure which domain extension to use, you can do a Google search to find many great articles. A .com extension is a great option worldwide and very common (over 52% of sites use .com). A .ca is a great option for a Canadian site.
You can purchase a .com domain for as low as $1.00 for the first year on select domains.
Purchasing your domain and hosting plan
Once you have found a domain name that is available and you would like to use, you will need to purchase it. Make sure you are only purchasing the domain. You don’t need to buy anything except the domain. No business emails, SSL, site builder, or anything of that sort. We will show you how to get all of that for much cheaper (free business emails included) so there is no use spending money on other additional services when you won’t need them.
The next thing you will need to do is purchase hosting. Hosting is very important with a website and you will have to purchase hosting in order for others to view your website online. There are many hosting packages available. Most hosting providers offer two common plans.
Shared vs VPS hosting plans
Shared plans are usually cheaper than a VPS hosting plan. With shared hosting, your website is hosted on a server with other websites as well. A good way to explain this would be to think of it as a computer. With shared hosting, your website shares the processing power and resources of the computer with other websites as well. This is always a great plan to choose if your website is just starting out. You can always upgrade from shared to VPS hosting at a later date as well if you choose to, so it isn’t like you are permanently stuck once you decide. The biggest problem with shared hosting is you have very limited resources. Usually, you are given a small portion of disk space you can use along with everyone else. If you begin to exceed this limit, your website will likely go down. Websites with low monthly traffic should have no issues using a shared hosting plan. However, if your website begins reaching a larger demographic, you may want to consider a VPS server.
A VPS (or Virtual Private Server) is a virtual machine that is completely your own. You can pay more or less depending on how much disk space and ram (random access memory) you will require on your website. With a virtual private server, no one else is sharing your server. VPS servers may also now include solid state memory (SSD storage) which is a new upgrade being pushed by many hosting providers. Solid state memory is faster storage and allows for users to access your website more quickly (shorter load times) which is always a good thing for users accessing your website.
Note: In this tutorial we will be setting up a website with WordPress (A great CMS that happens to use quite a lot of resources) so we do recommend using a VPS server for a faster website.
We recommend checking out DreamHost (A fantastic hosting provider) and for a limited time, you can get a 40% discount on a shared hosting plan.
Once you have purchased your hosting and domain. You are ready to begin creating your website. That is all for the getting started section of this tutorial.
Next up: Nameservers and Linking