Have you ever wanted to start your own website? Or are you just looking for a cheap way to get a website up quickly? This is the post for you.
I do a bit of public speaking here and there and one of the questions I get the most is “How do I get started with building a website?”. I had the exact same question when I was in college. What I noticed is that while there are a ton of sites aimed at what to do once you have a site up (SEO, affiliate marketing, Adwords etc), there really isn’t one coherent place that tells you step-by-step how to start a website.
This is my attempt to fill that need. In 6 steps, I will explain how to get a website up for under $20. So let’s get started…
Step 1. Do a Little Research
I’m going to assume you’ve already done your initial keyword research and know which domains you are thinking about registering. Instead of checking each domain one by one at a registrar, check out Instant Domain Search to see if the domain you had in mind is available. For the sake of example in this post, I’ll use a domain I’ve wanted to snatch for a while now – drinkingchimpanzee.com.
Instant Domain Search is great because you can see which domains are available in real time as you type. This will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Once you find the domain you want, click through the green buttons and you will instantly have a coupon added to your order to register the domain for $7.49 on Godaddy.
Another service that is awesome in this stage is Name Vine. Besides .nets, .orgs, and .coms, Name Vine will also show you which social media profiles are available for any given keywords.
Step 2. Register Your Domain Name
Set up an account if you don’t have one. Don’t sign up for any upgrades – they are really just an up sell. These include certificates, hosting, private registration etc. While these do serve a purpose, they aren’t necessary if you’re new to the game.
Set the registration length for one year and buy the domain. You now own your domain. To get a website live, you still need to sign up for hosting and link it to your domain through your name servers.
Step 3. Sign-up For Hosting
Hosting can really range in price depending on your provider. Also bear in mind that if you ever do achieve serious amounts of traffic, you will have to upgrade and spend more money. But for the sake of this article, I would like to point out the Friends Special on SiteGround. With this special, you can get a year of hosting for the price of one month normally….only $9.95.
Select “I already have a domain” and enter the name of your new domain below.
Next, scroll down and un-select all of the extra services. You will now be left with a year’s worth of hosting for $9.95.
Step 4. Find Your Nameserver Addresses
In Site Ground, click on the “My Account” tab. Find your new domain and click “Go” under CPanel.
Access your CPanel and find your nameservers which should be listed on the left hand side. They should look like this:
Copy these addresses.
Step 5. Change Your Nameservers on Your Registrar
Now log back into your domain registrar. We used GoDaddy in our example above. Go into your domain management tab.
Click on said domain and scroll down until you find your nameservers listed. Click on “set nameservers”, select “I have specific nameservers for my domain”, and enter the name servers from step 4 above.
This will connect your domain registrar to your hosting. Note that this process can supposedly take up to 48 hours but is usually done in less than 2 from my experience.
Step 6. Install a Content Management System
Now you have a live site but no simple way to edit its appearance. This is where a Content Management System (CMS) comes in. WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal are examples of CMS’s that give you, the web owner, a smooth interface to edit your website.
WordPress is by far the easiest to use and most easily adaptable. I would recommend using this CMS on your first site.
It’s pretty easy to get a CMS installed in a few seconds. Go back into your CPanel on your hosting provider (like we did in step 4). Scroll down until you find Fantastico De Luxe.
It will walk you through the installation process – just select WordPress and enter the information it asks you for. I would recommend selecting http://www. for the installation directory (for SEO reasons). Note your user name and password as you will need these to log into the CMS.
Now that WordPress is installed, go to yourwebsite.com/wp-admin. For example, I would go to drinkingchimpanzee.com/wp-admin. Enter your user name and password and you’re in.
Voila! You just got a website up for $17.44 (ok pre-tax) for the entire year and hopefully it only took a few minutes.
Hitting any snags? Let me know in the comments and I can help you out.