While everyone loves the low, low price of absolutely free – zero dollars – better than forking over cold, hard cash, sometimes things which are free aren’t as great as they seem. Frankly, in this day and age, we’ve come to learn the sad fact that if anything is given to us as free, there’s always some kind of catch, as advertisers and others are seek to profit from our involvement. That’s why it’s so important to consider a proper paid website for hosting your own business or personal blog.
Both companies and individuals alike are looking for ways to speak to target audience members, engage people in the community, rally support for a particular cause and promulgate their latest creative works. With the widespread presence of Internet tools and social media, you have a lot of choices when it comes to picking a platform, but WordPress has manifold benefits to offer.
Over the years, many people have asked me questions about how to make a website, so I created this easy five-step guide. It was designed to allow the reader to be able to build a customized website within an hour. Before we go into the details, you should understand how important it is to secure a professional web hosting service and a domain name before you try to make a website.
Although there are many different Web hosting providers available, you will need to select one that offers the features that will enhance your website. This decision will affect the page load time, speed, stability, overall performance and up-time. All of these things affect your visitor’s impression of your site. This article covers everything you need to know about how to find the best features at a reasonable cost. If you don’t know where to go, don’t worry. I will tell you exactly where to find the best deal.
What’s in a Domain Name?
The domain name is also called the URL, or universal resource locator, and it functions as a physical address for your site. For example, the domain yourdomain.com tells the visitor’s computer exactly where to find your Web hosting service that supports your website. The hosting service has all of the content, images and tools necessary to create a fabulous website.
Imagine that the hosting service keeps a plot of land with your name on it and provides you with the tools needed to create any kind of building at your site. This is exactly how the hosting service reserves the space on the Internet for your customized website. After you set up the domain name and select your Web hosting service, you will need to configure the website. This is not as difficult as it may sound, so just follow the five easy steps listed below, and you’ll be fine.
The WordPress plug-in does an amazing job of allowing you to make a website within a matter of minutes. Just follow the instructions below, and soon you will enjoy the experience of publishing your own professional website to the Internet. By the way, the site you are on right now was designed using these easy steps, which is pretty nifty when you think about it.
The First Step: Choosing a Domain Name
The domain name should reflect the content of your website. Review the following items before you decide on your domain name:
- Make sure your domain name is directly related to the content of your site.
- Make sure the domain name is easy to remember and spell.
- Make the name short and sweet.
- Make sure the name has the right TLD extension such as .com, .net or .org.
When your domain name follows these guidelines, the site will attract search engines, and this helps the site obtain the best page ranking possible. A good example of this would be a domain name including the term “printer supplies” for a site that offers printing supplies. This will naturally attract the attention of people who are specifically searching for printer cartridges. This process is known as search engine optimization, or SEO, and it plays a big role in the overall performance of your website.
Always be careful about where you register your domain name, for there are good reasons to be concerned. The first impression your page makes on your visitors can really influence the performance of your website. Most people will register with their host provider, which makes a lot of sense because this simplifies the process.
This is included with the primary services at GreenGeeks. They also offer a free domain name with no expiration date. The approximate value of the free domain name is around $13 per year. Naturally, you can opt out of this registration method by selecting another route, but it may involve additional steps.
I recommend that you register the domain name with a reputable company, so your account will remain safe and secure. If you register the domain name with GreenGeeks, it will make the whole process easier, but you can always choose another hosting service. Regardless of the provider you select, your account should be fully operational within one business day, which is the average time needed for servers to recognize the new address.
The Second Step: Obtaining the Web Hosting Account
Many different Web hosting companies will try to solicit your business. Some of these companies are good, but there are some that have very bad reputations for a good reason. To avoid the bad companies, I suggest that you carefully observe the following three rules:
- Steer clear of any offer that looks too good to be true; it is probably a lemon.
- Select a host with an established reputation among people you trust.
- Recognize the dangers involved in selecting a bad hosting service.
If you do business with a bad hosting service, you could end up with an expensive headache, and I would like to spare you all that unnecessary grief. Web hosting should be simple, inexpensive and reliable. After many years of experience, I can confidently recommend a company with an outstanding reputation for serving customers who wish to make a website. My recommended Web hosting provider is also GreenGeeks. They have successfully maintained a strong reputation for Web hosting since starting their business in 2006.
Their customer service and support specialists are second to none. In addition, they fly the green banner of sustainability. Anyone who appreciates the value of oxygen should recognize why this is a good idea. They also provide plenty of Web and disk space without limitations, so you can grow your website activity without any fear of hitting a ceiling.
The Third Step: Registration and Account Setup
To get started, just navigate to the GreenGeeks website at http://www.greengeeks.com. Once you land on their home page, it is easy to set up an account. They usually display a big button that says “View Hosting Plans.”
Just click on this link, and it will take you to their EcoSite planning area, which contains everything you could possibly need to build an excellent, fashionable and ecologically conscious website. This is also where you can get your free domain name. Click on the red button “Get Started.”
Remember that using the GreenGeeks service can save you several installation steps. Recall that you also get a free domain name, which saves you around $13 per year. If you already registered your site name, all you need to do is enter the name of your domain into the box that asks for this information. Once this is done, click on the button that says “Continue.” Fill in any billing information or account details, and click the “Create My Account” button. This is probably easier than you though it would be, and that is the whole point.
Once your domain name is registered, you can install WordPress right away. However, you should be aware that if you choose to use a service other than GreenGeeks, you will have to change the name servers for the domain name to match the new login info, which will arrive in an email. If you handled registration through GreenGeeks, this information does not apply, and you can move on to the next step, which is installing the WordPress plug-in.
WordPress is a content management system, or CMS. It is designed to give regular people the extraordinary ability to design websites without learning any HTML, CSS or programming languages. It uses custom themes to create a professional site that is properly configured for indexing by search engines. This is an important component of SEO, so I highly advise using it. It is very easy to install WordPress with the Softaculous tool.
All you have to do is log into your GreenGeeks account, and go to the cPanel where you manage the account information. The Softaculous tool will appear here, so just click on the icon. This will enable the WordPress option. Follow the instructions in the pop-up window to configure your software. Click on the Install button to complete the installation.
That’s all there is to the process. Now you have a complete WordPress enabled website with the default theme as the active style. This is probably the first thing you will want to change, so let’s get to the fun part, which is configuring the site. Here is a video that explains the entire process:
The Fourth Step: Configuring the Site
After you set up your Web hosting service and obtained your domain name, you will still need to configure your website, so your content will be indexed properly for search engines and visitors. You will probably want the site to offer something more to visitors than just a blank screen, or worse, the default message of “hello, world!”
To configure the site, go to the designated area within the administration section. If you use GreenGeeks, this area is located at:
This will take you to the dashboard. This is the place where you can customize your site to your heart’s content. Click through the “Right Now” section to quickly navigate to the areas you use with the most frequency.
The dashboard is a powerful area where you can gain access to the tools you need to customize and design your new website. Although there are many tools available throughout the site, I will just quickly summarize each item in the dashboard section.
Posts: This area is relevant to websites that use a lot of text content. You can quickly publish blogs, articles and other text content. You can organize them with categories for archival purposes.
Media: Manage all of your images, audio and video content with this menu.
Links: Create any link you want with this menu option, and use it for sidebar widgets.
Pages: Create product or static pages, and provide contact info.
Appearance: WordPress does a great job in this area, so you can customize your site with designer themes, widgets and other tools.
Plug-ins: Browse through a huge library of plug-ins to make your task a breeze.
Users: Grant permission for specific people to add content or modify the site in a variety of ways.
Settings: Manage the different settings for the WordPress installation including the URL, date, comment settings, site name and other options.
For the best performance, always update your WordPress plug-in. Review the navigation section by clicking on each link and exploring these areas of your website. This menu will allow you to quickly change the content as needed.
The Fifth Step: Indexing the Site
Finally, you need to index the site, so search engines can find it and rank your page. A beautiful website is useless if no one can find it. Fortunately, it is not difficult at all to get your fabulous new website indexed for the Internet to discover.
To get your site discovered by the top search engines like Yahoo, Google and Bing, just follow this link: http://www.submitexpress.com/free-submission.html. However, if you signed up with GreenGeeks, you can just use their SEO tools inside of their control panel to accomplish this task with a single click.
Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it? You quickly learned how to make a website by choosing a domain name, selecting a Web hosting service, installing WordPress, configuring the site and getting it indexed for the Internet’s beloved search engines. Don’t forget to tell all your friends about your new website.