Never before has it been easier to set up a website for your business. Having a website to promote your products and services adds credibility to your brand no matter how big or small it is. Like having that shopfront in a prime location that attracts large amounts of foot traffic, having a well developed website will help you attract customers online to your products and services.
According to an article by Dynamic Business 65% of businesses don’t have a website. If you are one of them and were thinking you had to be an expert in HTML/CSS coding and web design or if none of those phrases mean the slightest thing to you let me show you how you can set up your own website without any prior knowledge!
Before we get started I would like to share with you that when I set up Small Business Wizardry I had no prior experience in setting up a website of any kind. Hopefully I can save you a lot of time, stress & confusion by sharing what I have learnt along the way!
This article will assume you have already registered a domain name, which you will need to do before setting up your website. If you haven’t check out our article on how to register a domain name.
Choosing a Web Host
There are hundreds of different web hosts out there, not to mention the vast array of different types of hosting packages you can get. Here are the things to consider when choosing a web host:
1. Do they have CPanel? CPanel can be best described as the dashboard you use to manage and build your website. Put simply I have dealt with websites where CPanel wasn’t available through the web host & I have dealt with my own website that does. For me it is a no-brainer, it is just so much easier to use.
Through my web host Bluehost, I can access CPanel to create email addresses for my site’s domain name, set up a blog, add in an ecommerce functionality (ie a shopping cart or payment gateway) and so much more. It’s not to say that CPanel is the only platform that offers this or that Bluehost offers the best web hosting package but I use them and it works for me. The video tutorials make it a very simple step by step process to follow towards building your website.
2. How much does it cost? The short answer is that you do not need to pay an arm and a leg for web hosting. It shouldn’t really cost you more than $10-20 a month for a good quality service. Some IT service companies will charge you significantly more than that when they are just reselling another web hosting service. Having said that you may be likely to get better quality service from these resellers and it that is what you need then go for it. In my opinion the sole test of a good web host is that your website stays live. If it is too often down for maintenance then you need to look elsewhere.
If you anticipate to be getting hundreds of thousands of daily visitors and/or are streaming a large amount of video content then you may need to pay more to ensure your web host supplies your site with sufficient bandwidth to support its heavy use.
Set up your email addresses
Whichever web host you choose will allow you to very simply set up email addresses directly from your login section of your hosting platform. If you can’t find it ask your web host. You may like to have your own personalised email address as well as a few generic ones such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org etc etc, depending on what type of service you are offering. Most web hosting packages offer unlimited email addresses.
Developing your website
Now you are all set up you are ready to begin building your website. You will find many and varied opinions out there but if you are looking to develop a simple website without too many flashy features (although you will be surprised what can be done) in my opinion WordPress is the simplest to use and what’s more it is free to set up.
Once again if your web host offers CPanel you can easily begin creating a WordPress site straight from the Cpanel menu.
You will then need to choose a theme for your site. A theme is basically the framework of how your site is going to look. Different themes serve different purposes. Some need a theme suited for a blog, others a magazine style like the way this site has been set up. I paid a small amount of money to get the theme I liked but there are literally thousands of free WordPress themes to choose from. Simply Google “Wordpress themes” and you will have a lot to choose from.
The best thing about using WordPress as the framework behind your site is that you need know nothing about coding. Phrases like HTML, CSS or PhP etc meant very little to me and whilst I have picked up a few skills along the way I can assure you it is not necessary. When you are uploading content to a WordPress site you simply enter the content as if you were creating a Word document and WordPress does the coding for you!
Follow the above steps in the order they are described and you will be well on the way to creating your very own website!
Have any questions? Something got you stuck? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.