Starting a website? A simple checklist of everything you need to know
In the old days you would need to hire an expensive web designer and developer to get a website created.
Those days are long gone with the help of website builder tools and content management systems such as WordPress it is easier than ever to create a website of your very own and have it up and running in just a few minutes.
Here is a basic checklist that will cover the very basics of what you need to do to start up a website.
Register a domain name
Choosing the right domain name is an essential step to your website's success. Think of the domain name you pick as the brand or identity of your website.
The domain name is basically what the website address is, such as www.torry.net. There are a number of tools out there that can help verify your domain name is unique or, if it is not, suggest some alternative domain names.
Try to find the .com version of your chosen domain name or go with the country code top level domain name such as .co.uk if you are in the UK.
Tip: Try to make sure that the domain name you choose is short, easy to remember and contains a keyword related to the subject of the website. Avoid obscure domain name extensions like .biz, .wtf and so on.
Find a host
Next you need to find a web host for your website. Think of web hosting as the piece of land where you build your house (and your domain name is the street address). This is the space on the Internet where you place your website's files, images and documents.
There are tons of hosting options out there, split into four main types; shared, VPS, dedicated server and cloud. I is a good idea to get started out with shared hosting because it is much cheaper and easier to find.
Popular web hosts like Bluehost, HostGator and DreamHost are cheap options; however hosts like GreenGeeks, InMotion Hosting and SiteGround usually come with better features. You can switch to VPS, dedicated or cloud hosting at any time by upgrading your plan or changing hosts.
Tip: To make sure that your website stays online try to find a provider with a proven track record of keeping a 100% uptime guarantee. Another important factor to consider is technical support, because at some point you will need the help from the web host's support team.
Build and design the website
The best way to design a website is to use an open source CMS like WordPress. WordPress is the leader of the website building tools and has been downloaded more than 20 billion times.
Did you know that one quarter of all websites on the Internet is built using WordPress? (source)
There are thousands of themes to choose from, including free themes that allow you to create a truly unique website. All you need to do after choosing a theme you will just have to add your own custom images and text and alter the design to make the website yours.
For complete beginners walkthroughs on how to get started with WordPress you can check out https://www.siteground.com/tutorials/wordpress/ and https://www.greengeeks.com/how-to-create-a-website
Tip: If you don't know what you are doing there are hundreds of video tutorials on YouTube to guide you through adding posts, pages, and images to your website to make it more advanced.
Setup Google Analytics and monitor the stats
After the website goes live you need to keep an eye on it using Google Analytics. Just sign up using your Gmail account to monitor the traffic on your website and see where your visitors are coming from. Google Analytics is able to give you a full report about the status of your website and how it is performing.
Tip: You should also setup Google's Search Console on your website. It is another free tool from Google that lets you monitor and diagnose your website search engine visibility.
Get your website found and start promoting it
When you website is built and live on the Internet you should focus on getting it found and to get visitors to your website.
Make sure your website is optimized for search engines as search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the, if not the most, affordable ways to get visitors to your website.
Social media is almost as important. You should register social media accounts and set them up with your logo, information and a link back to your website.
Tip: Ask your friends and family to like your website on Facebook, and if you have friends, colleagues or business associates with a website of their own, then ask them to add a link from their website to your website.