Many people these days need a website for business or just want one for personal use. Whether you have no idea how or where to start or you have some vague idea about where to start, this article is for you. Possibly, you’ve heard from word-of-mouth about how GoDaddy is the way to go, this quick list is for you, to get you on the actual right track:
Before we get started: do not, I repeat: do not, sign up for GoDaddy, don’t recommend it, stop thinking about it, just completely expunge it from your thoughts.
Why? Contrary to what you’ve seen on TV or heard from a friend, GoDaddy is the worst mainstream host on the internet. This comes from intimate experience with it and comparing it to other popular hosts over the last six years. — Learn More
1. Hosting and Domain
First things first, you’ll need hosting and a domain in order to store and ultimately display your website on the internet.
For web hosting, I highly recommend HostMonster. This is what I use and I am indeed an affiliate of theirs. I receive an incentive if you sign up through me, which if you’re going to sign up anyways, I do hope you do me that courtesy. However, I would 100% recommend them regardless of whether there was an incentive or not.
I love them. Now, of course, I wouldn’t leave you stranded with just that one option, also checkout: WordPress Recommended Hosting.
If you decide to do some serious shopping around I have some important quality guidelines for what you should be looking for even if you don’t know what it means now:
- Linux Server
- PHP5+ Support
- cPanel Control Panel
.com is the most popular website extension (TLD — Top Level Domain) as you likely know already. Other popular choices are .org and .net. I wouldn’t stray too far from these unless you have a good or creative reason to.
Also, avoid using domains with long or hard to remember titles. Often, people will use acronyms or abbreviations to help with this. Avoid using dashes (-) as well. You’ll want to do some research to make sure the domain you want is even available. I recommend using DomainTools or use the following search tool:
2. Website and Design
You’ll of course need to find a website template, software, or hire someone to design your website to display all your info, pictures, and other content and features. If you require custom branding such as a logo this may be something else altogether to consider as well.
A lot of web hosts offer out-of-the-box website templates. But, honestly I can’t in good faith recommend these. They’re often complete cookie-cutter garbage. Instead, I would offer something a step up like: GenericTools or WordPress, where you have some customization ease and can pick out professional themes.
If you’re very serious about your website’s design, you could always hire a web designer of course to design something custom for you.
Now, if you decide to shop around for a designer, probably the easiest place to find an affordable freelancer is on craigslist. However, you better be prepared to put on your filtering cap because you’re going to get some scam and spam emails. You will of course get plenty of legitimate applications too.
You’ll want to filter these by seeing their portfolio and weeding out those that you don’t like and then looking at the price after you’ve confirmed you like the quality. It wouldn’t hurt to see some testimonials as well, but many freelancers neglect this feature, so it’s not an instant deal-breaker.
If you’re going to need a logo design I recommend: Mom ‘n’ Pop Logo Shop.
Another really great site that gets dozens of designers all at once competing to win for your approval is: 99designs.
- Learn CSS3 (Cascading Style Sheet)
- Learn HTML5 (Extensible Hyper Text Markup Language)
- Wikipedia on Websites
- Wikipedia on Design
3. SEO and Marketing
Once you finally get your site live, you’ll of course want people to actually see it, right?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
There are endless tools to assist you with SEO. If you went with WordPress, the most popular tool is: All in One SEO Pack.
A great way to get started with marketing is social media. I recommend signing up for each and every one and linking to your site and vice versa:
There is a bottomless, always evolving pit of knowledge on all these topics that could never be captured all in one place. You will inevitably have many questions along the way. I offer free support here in my forum for all your questions. Of course, if you ever decide you need professional, hands-on help with your projects, I’m available for hire.
Good luck with all your endeavors.