Many people just don’t know where to start when it comes to starting a website or blog.
Blogs are staple in today’s web as we know it. There are so many blogs that are thriving and serving tons people. Passion for a particular subject is often the reason many people start blogging and become good at it.
It’s important that you know step by step how start your next blog or website so you can start serving people as soon as possible.
You may have a topic that you are passionate about and would like to start blogging about it. I often speak to many people that would love to have their own website to start a blog but they simply don’t know where to start. Many times they take the easy route and build on websites like Tumblr, WordPress, and others that allow them to build on a community platform.
These platforms are fine but many of the sites that dominate their industry are separate entities and self hosted. Sure, it requires more work then simply creating a Tumblr or WordPress profile but the rewards could be well worth it.
Having your own website and hosting allows you to rank higher in search engines, have more control over your design, build an email list, and get featured on major publications. It allows you to create a brand that can generate money for you long after you’ve put in the work.
Here are 4 Easy Steps to Starting Your Own Website or Blog
1) Choose Your Domain Name
Making a decision on your domain name is one of the most important ones you will make regarding your brand. Notice that I didn’t just say online brand because your domain name impacts your brand on and offline. That’s why it’s important that you spend the extra time to make sure that you get it right.
Should be Concise
Your domain name should be concise. Let’s look at the definition of concise,
“Giving a lot of information clearly and in a few words; brief but comprehensive.” – Oxford Dictionary
That’s exactly what your domain name should do. If you can, you should make your domain name synonymous with your brand name. So if your company is called Tysons Food, you will want Tysons.com or Tysonsfood.com. Since we live in a world where people purchase domain names to resell, there can be a shortage of generic and short domain names. This forces many website owners to get creative when choosing a domain name.
If your brand name is taken for your domain name, brainstorm of other renditions and relevant terms for your brand that are short, but explain a lot about your brand.
You can check the availability of a domain name by visiting a domain registrar website (I like HostGator) and typing in the name or by visiting Whois.net to see if the domain name is available.
Choose a Popular TLD
TLD (top-level domain) is the phrase used to describe .com, .net., .info, .biz. .co, and so on.
All TLDs are not created equally. That is, in the mind of web users. People are more comfortable and familiar with the .com extension than .net. Those two are much more popular than .info, .biz, or .co.
So from a branding perspective you ideally would like to choose .com. If you must, you can choose .net. I would recommend choosing those over the others whenever possible. I would choose a less desirable domain name with a .com extension than a really desirable domain name on a less used extension.
Using the .com extension is an SEO best practice as described by Moz and can influence your search engine rankings.
Amazee Metrics also did a study and it showed that the .com extension converted better than the less popular .diamonds extension. This can be true when comparing the .com extension to other less popular TLDs.
Should be Clear of Possible Misspellings
With you being creative, be sure not to be so overly creative that you make misspellings a common mistake. This can happen when you use alternatives to words that are pronounced similarly or other clever grammatical endeavors.
For example, if you told someone to visit your website “Houses For Sale” but spelled the domain name www.houses4sale.com. Chances are, unless you tell the person the to substitute the “for” they will visit the wrong domain. Now it may seem trivial and unimportant, but on a macro level and when you’re getting tons of referral traffic, that can be the difference in tons of visitors and conversions that never made it to your site.
Can you get clever when deciding a domain name? Sure. But be conscious of how many people will misspell it and may never make it to your site.
Should Properly Describe Your Brand
This touches on the topic of concision mentioned earlier in the post. It’s important to know that your domain name should properly describe your brand. If you have an idea for a cool domain name but it is not relevant to your brand then it will be best if you purchase that domain name and save it for another venture. You don’t want your domain name to not compliment your brand.
People remember things by association. So if you can have your domain name be closely associated with your brand. It will be easier for users to remember your domain name and your brand synonymous with one another. Having a domain name that complements your brand name can only help your branding and marketing efforts.
2) Determine Your Hosting Needs
Once your domain name is selected, you have to choose a hosting provider to publish your website on the web. Think of your domain name as a book title, your website as the contents of the book, and your host as the publisher. Without a publisher, no one who doesn’t immediately know you would be able to access your book. The same is true for your website, you need a host for your website to be displayed on the Internet.
All hosting providers are not made equally. Like anything else, some specialize in areas that others don’t.
Decide on How User Friendly You Want Your Provider to Be
Different hosting providers offer different levels of user-friendliness. Some are designed to cater to hardcore developers, while others are designed to help the newbie. You must determine your level of experience with website management and make a decision on your hosting provider from there.
I have had the opportunity to work with a couple of different hosting providers and my favorite by far is HostGator. HostGator gives me the user friendliness to be able to navigate through my cpanel, easily perform backups, play around in mysql, or change nameservers. All with relatively straightforward instructions. There are some housing providers that make performing the simplest task a nightmares.
I have had experience with GoDaddy on multiple occasions and I must say that I much more prefer HostGator because of their user-friendliness and customer service.
Decide on the Level of Customer Service You Desire
This is the most important factor for me. I am a fan of exceptional service. I can be an extreme loyalist once I get a dose of great service. HostGator by far provides the best service to me. They answer the phone promptly and are always friendly.
I had to make a call earlier today to another hosting provider to transfer a domain from their registrar to Hostgator and the representative so nasty and sarcastic. I don’t understand how people forget that business is all about relationships and making people happy.
When Hostgator was acquired a couple years back their service suffered slightly. But now I would venture to say that their service is even better than it was before they sold the company. I can usually get someone on the phone in less than 3 minutes now. This is major if you ever accidentally delete a file or something randomly happens to your website. When experimenting with databases and different themes and plugins, anything can happen unexpectedly. It’s great to know that and anytime you can quickly access a friendly representative from your hosting provider.
Your Hosting Provider Contributes to The Speed of Your Website
It seems that Google is weighing the speed of your website more heavenly on your rankings in search engines.
In fact, this image shoes how site speed and correlate with rankings. Although correlation does not mean causation, its still something to consider.
Aside from SEO benefits, think about the user experience. Don’t you hate waiting forever for a page to load? Imagine being mobile with a bad signal and trying to load a page that loads slow even under normal conditions. Sometimes I abandon the site all together in that situation.
Your users need a fast and responsive website that will keep up with their desire for information and not frustrate then by lagging.
The server that your hosting provider publishes your website on is a major factor regarding your site’s speed. You must make sure your host will provide a servers that deliver quick and have virtually no downtime.
To really speed up your site you may also want to consider a Content Delivery Network (CDN). It helps deliver your website data to users faster through the strategic placement of servers geographically. A great CDN that won’t break the bank is MaxCDN. It can work with the W3 Total Cache Plugin as well to make everything super easy.
Determine How Much Traffic You Expect
This is closely related to the site speed point. It’s important that you determine how much traffic that your website intends to receive. Some host are great but simply can’t efficiently serve a website that receives 1 million visitors per month. Other hosts are structured to deliver exceptional results to websites that suck serve large amounts of users. You likely won’t start off with 1 million users but it is always great to have the future in mind.
Determine How Much Email Storage You Would Like
The amount of email storage you can receive is also determined by your hosting provider and playing. Different hosts have different pricing models and structures regarding emails. But you must look to your host to provide you with your emailing service from your domain name.
Decide if You Want to Host More Websites Under the Same Account
You may want to have multiple websites under the same hosting plan. Make sure when you are determining with hosting provider to use, that you consider if you will be capable of hosting multiple websites under that same hosting plan. That way, when you gain momentum and decide to start more ventures, you can have the structure to manage multiple domain seamlessly.
There are many great hosting providers out there. HostGator has worked well for me with the many domains that I have hosted with them.
3) Starting a Website or Blog WordPress
It seems as if everyone is switching to WordPress content management systems , and there’s a reason why. It makes managing your website so much easier and efficient. You used to have to have a website professional make minor edits and changes to your website. You can imagine how time consuming and frustrating it will be to have the feet of your website in the hands of someone else…not anymore.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that allows you to essentially manage your website yourself. You can install plugins, create blog post, create pages, change settings, and upload new themes virtually on your own.
This makes having your own hosting website that much easier. It’s also a lot more exciting.
You simply go to your hosting provider and install a WordPress database on your server. Once you do that, all you have to do is upload a theme and start posting content.
Plugins are like the different options of a Swiss Army knife. They allow you to pick thei functionalities and features to your website at the click of a button. Look at plugins as tools to make your like easier. Where developers used to spend hours developing code for individual websites, plugins are now able to perform the same job by simply installing them to your WordPress database. Often times for free! From things like the Yoast SEO plugin to W3 Total Cache which makes your site load faster.
There are now over 37,000 different plugins and that number is growing rapidly. Plugins help you accomplish almost anything for your WordPress site right at your finger tips.
More Convenient Redesigns
With the advancing technology, website design become obsolete almost overnight. Okay, well not quite over night but you get the point. Your website then I can become dated and relevant in almost no time. In the old days that make getting on the phone with your website developer and shelling out another $3000, $10,000, or $20,000 to make a new design.
WordPress using something called themes that determine how your site looks. If you would like a redesign, you simply upload a new theme. You don’t have to change all of your content or wait weeks upon weeks for proofs. Best of all you don’t have to spend a boatload of money to have an updated design.
Have some people in your organization that you want to make edits on your website? Well you can give them those privileges on WordPress. You can assign how much control and access you’d like for each user to have so that things can get done without you having to do it.
Supports More Responsive Designs
Can you tell that the web is shifting to mobile? In case you didn’t hear the update, with the shift to mobile now and process it is imperative that you have a mobile responsive website. this is often costly with custom html design. However, with update of where precious things, Mobile responsiveness is becoming the standard.
Google just released their mobile update that rewards websites that have mobile-friendly designs. Your next website must be responsive.
Post Quality Content
You often here today “content is king.” That is true, content is the backbone of your website. People are visiting your site because of the content. No matter how nice your design is, if your content is junk, people won’t return.
Well what is quality content? Quality content is thoughtful, enlightening, resourceful, and personable. Not all content is personable, but if you plan on building a loyal following, it should be.
Quality Content Helps You Rank Higher In Google
The content determines how well you rank in search engines. Moz’s SEO Beginners Guide awesome guide shows you just how.
Neil Patel, the founder of Crazy Egg, taught us that the length of your content also plays a huge factor in your rankings. Windmill found out that blog post with over 2000 words ranked better than blog post with less content. Why? Long tail keywords.
The moral of the story? Post thorough content that is more than 2000 words to have the best chance at ranking for multiple long tail keywords in Google.
Quality Content Helps You Get More Links
What content typically gets the most likes? Content that is thoroughly researched, entertaining, has data, and has images. These are all ingredients of quality content. And if you get more links from other websites you would link higher in search engine because of your domains authority and not just long tell keywords that was described above.
Quality Content Helps You Get More Traffic
Everyone wants more traffic right? How about having not just more traffic, but more targeted traffic? This is what happens when you combine having thorough blog post that after a long tail keywords and acquire links from related websites. When your content is thorough and engaging, open the floodgates because you will eventually receive more traffic.
Quality Content Helps You Make More Money
Let’s not kid ourselves. Mostly all of us want to make more money right? It means that we have served more people and that we have extended our reach. What are you selling a product or service, more targeted traffic means that you should make more money with the correct conversion strategy. Quality content is the key. Combine it with a solid conversion optimization plan and you’re set!
Starting a blog or website has never been easier. I would also say it is never been as exciting with all the resources that we have. By following these steps, you should be well on your way to having a website or blog that thrives for years to come. Happy blogging!
What are some tips that you can give on starting a website or blog?