Welcome to the very first How To Tuesday! The idea of writing how to’s has been on my mind for a little while, so I am happy to finally get the ball rolling. The very first edition is a guide for complete beginners on how to set up a website.
HTT will be a weekly thing, and your input is more than welcome! What are you struggling with? What are your burning technology questions? Let me know in the comments, on social media (Insta, Twitter & Snap), or write me an email!
This week’s How To Tuesday centers around setting up a website for the complete beginner. Whether you want to set up a website for your business or want to start blogging yourself, getting started is often a bit of a hassle. I know when I started blogging last year, I just went ahead and got started. Looking back, I should have done a little bit of research. So, I am saving you some time and providing you tips & tricks.
Questions to ask before you set up a website
Before you start, consider this:
How serious are you about setting up a website?
Setting up a website costs money. Period. A custom domain name, hosting, a (decent, modern, good looking) WordPress theme. It all costs money. Are you willing to spend? And if so, what is your budget? Of course there are free options (i.e. wordpress.com instead of .org), but that depends on how serious you are in setting up your website (see #websitegoals).
Do you have some basic understanding of websites or are you a total newbie?
It’s definitely a-okay to be a newbie. Welcome! However, you will come across a lot of jargon, and you might need to ask Google more questions than you’re willing to admit. Don’t get frustrated. You can definitely set up a website yourself (especially if it’s Joomla or WordPress), but it will take a little more time. Be patient! Set a realistic deadline for yourself.
What do you want to accomplish with your site? Create more business or write a blog? Who is your target audience? How often will you update your site? What is your website’s purpose? Decide what you want to do. It is easier to make decisions with your goal in mind.
Set up your website – the steps
Check the availability of your domain name and purchase it
Before you do anything else, decide on a domain name, and check if the domain name is still available. If the domain is not free, consider using a different TLD (top-level domain), for example .nl or .co.uk. Once you have settled on a domain name you can register it. Most hosting companies offer domain name registration and hosting. I prefer this option because everything is in the same place. However, you can also choose to register your domain separately.
As you can see in these examples, you can purchase hosting and domains together. Also, hosting plans offer hosting for single or multiple domains. Choose what fits your situation.
Set up your hosting
Choose a hosting company you feel comfortable with. I use Hostgator because I like their 24/7 service, and because it was very easy to sign up. Look at the different options the company offers. Most of the time, there are different packages available. The option you need, depends on your #websitegoals. The process seems scary, but it’s not at all. Just be sure to follow the instructions the host company provides, and store all of your login details somewhere safe.
The hosting websites from above:
Download your preferred CMS (content management system)
When you’re done setting up your hosting. Log in to your platform. On there you get the possibility to download your preferred CMS (Joomla, WordPress
etc.). After you have downloaded the CMS, you will have two passwords to remember. One to the hosting platform (from your hosting provider) and one for your CMS. You don’t always have to log into your hosting platform. For example, if you want to edit your WordPress site, you will only have to go to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin and log in with your WordPress login details. Most hosting companies send your login details to your email.
Choose a theme (and customize it)
Again, think back on your #websitegoals. Choose a theme accordingly. The perfect theme is something you can easily work with, you can customize, offers the necessary support, and is something that you like. Be sure to check the necessary information on the webdeveloper’s website or in the description on Theme Forest and Creative Market. People also leave reviews on themes, so be sure to check those for useful information (such as problems with the theme or customer support etc.).
Start filling your website
Use your creativity. If you need inspiration, don’t forget to turn to your theme’s demo page. Usually, the theme’s demo page shows you different layout options and widgets or plugins you can use. If you use custom theme colors, be sure to save the hex and RGB codes, so you don’t work with different colors.