How to set up a website

Here I’m going to step through how to set up a website.

I’ll break this down into 3 simple steps.

We’ll look at :

  1. Get a Domain Name (website name)
  2. Get Website hosting (somewhere to put your website)
  3. Getting some content onto the website.

Before we get started, I just want to say please read Step 2 before buying a domain name which we look at in Step 1. Step 2 helps you decide on where you will host your website and it may be best to buy both together.

1. Get a Domain Name

The first step is to choose your domain name.

This is an easy step but an important decision has to be made. This is going to be the bit people type into their browser to get to your website. It will also be the bit after the @ sign for any email addresses you create for this domain. If this is for a personal website, you may want a fun name, or surname etc. If this is for a business you’ll want it to be either your business name or as close to as possible.

You will also need to choose what domain suffix you want. Don’t worry – it’s not complicated. This just the bit at the end of the web address, such as .co.uk. There are the traditional ones such as .co.uk (good for UK businesses) which reflect the country, .com (good for global business and most American businesses). There are also the new suffixes such as .photo or .london.

Your domain name can affect your results in search engines, so try and choose something relevant. This is especially important if you want to be found in search engines.

Once you’ve decided on your domain name, you’ll need to check if it is available. BEFORE YOU BUY A DOMAIN NAME PLEASE READ STEP 2 AS YOU MIGHT SAVE MONEY PURCHASING BOTH TOGETHER.

Why not pop over to Heart Internet ISP or GoDaddy (both of which I use for domain names) and see if the domain name you want is available? (Don’t worry these links open in a new window so you can come back and read step 2 before actually buying the domain name. Both these sites will show alternative similar names if your perfect domain name is taken.

Perfect Domain Name
Perfect Domain Name

2. Get Website hosting

Now you’ve found your perfect domain name (or close to, I hope), the next step to set up a website is to get somewhere to store you web site.

As I mentioned in Step 1 you may get a good deal if you use the same company to buy both hosting and you domain name. Some offer a free domain name when you buy hosting.
It’s also a lot easier to setup because you don’t need to worry about things like DNS & Name servers. If you use seperate companies you will need to point your domain name to your hosting company. This is so that when someone types your domain name into the browser it goes to where your web site is hosted. If you get both from the same company, these setting will all be set up for you.

You will also need to decide what type of hosting you need. I know, decisions, decisions, decisions. Don’t worry we’ll look at that now.

Type of hosting

If you are getting a web developer to design you a site or want to learn how to create your own (using HTML), you will probably just need basic hosting. If you want to get a website up and running quickly, you are probably best to make sure WordPress (one click install) is included. I should also mention (just to confuse you further) you can use basic hosting and upload WordPress yourself to your basic hosting rather than having it included by the hosting company. I will try and write up a How to on that subject soon but it’s too long to go into now.

WordPress is the quickest and easiest way to get your website online, with it’s famous 5-minute setup. This website is built on WordPress. WordPress has so many different themes and is reasonably easy to pick up. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can hire a WordPress developer cheaply to set up a basic website. (Obviously, if you need something specific prices will go up.)

So with all this in mind, and a good idea for your domain name take a look at website hosting. I use HostMedia for my hosting, but Heart Internet & GoDaddy often have some good offers.

3. Getting some content onto the website.

The next set to set up a website is to set up a website! You have figured out your domain name, and know where it is going to be hosted. But now, when you type your domain into a browser there is nothing there. We’ll cover that now.

The easiest way is to have selected WordPress One-Click install from your hosting provider. If you’ve done that, great, go ahead and install WordPress form your control panel. Step through the Wizard filling in your Web site name and other details and check out your new website.

I’ll go into more details in a future post. To see what Plugins I use, check out my Web Site Tools page.

I hope this guide helps you decide the best way to get your new website up and running quickly.

Please let me know if this has helped or if you have any questions in the comment below.

Thanks

Ian