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Step 1: Get Started

make-a-websiteYou might be surprised to hear that it will only take you 20 minutes to get your website setup. Once your new site is online, you will be able to customize the design and add content whenever you want.

Before get started, you will need to do two things:

1. Choose your domain name

To help you understand the concept of a domain name, consider that my domain for this website is sitestarter.org. When you type that exact domain name into an internet browser, you will be sent to this site. It works the same way anywhere in the world.

You need to think about two considerations when choosing a domain name:

  1. Use your name (for an individual, business, or organization). The best option is to pick your own name or the name of your business if you want to use the website for branding purposes and promote yourself, your company, or an organization.
  2. Choose a domain to describes the website topic. When a website is named based on a topic, it quickly clues readers into the content they will find on the site. The domain name can provide the topic with featured keywords. For example, a website that sells fashionable, trendy clothes might use the domain trendyclothes.com

Now that have chosen a domain name and you will need to select the domain extension.
.com is always the preferred extension, but .net and .org work just as well. It is best to stay away from other extensions such as .us or .biz, because most people aren’t as familiar with these extensions.

                            Check the availability of your domain


Note: Domains don’t allow any punctuation, other than dashes as discussed below.

 

If your preferred domain name is already taken, then you might choose the .net or .org extension instead of the .com. Or, you can choose a different name that is similar in nature. I’ve run into this problem a few times, and with a little bit of brainstorming it is easy to come up with an alternative. Try coming up with new domain names by adding basic words such as “the”, “a”, or “my” at the beginning of the domain, or you can include dashes in between the words. For example: the-site-starter.com.

 

2. Choose a host for your website

post-it
A web host is needed to store your website’s files and information, and the host delivers these files to the user each time they visit your domain name. You have to have a web host in order to have a working website.

If you choose a bad host, it will set your site up for failure. Visitors to your website will be frustrated because the pages load too slowly, or in some cases that might not even work at all (not good!).

You will find hundreds of web hosts that claim to offer similar services, but they don’t all offer the same level of quality. My recommendation is BlueHost because they offer high quality service and have a proven track-record. In fact, BlueHost is the web host that I’m currently using for this website, sitestarter.org. There are a few reasons why I like BlueHost:

1. BlueHost offers a free tool for simple installation of common tools, such as WordPress (which is the tool that I recommend you use to build your own website).

2. BlueHost has been a WordPress recommended host since 2005, and the company currently hosts more than 2 million websites.

3. BlueHost offers high quality customer service that is available 24/7, which can be accessed via web chat, email or phone.

4. BlueHost offers a solid money-back guarantee, which can be used if you find that you are unsatisfied with the service.

BlueHost is one of the leading web hosts, so they cost a little more than their competitors: $5.99 per month. But, their service is far better than low-quality web hosts. If you want a discount, then you can click through one of the links here on this site and get exclusive access to BlueHost’s high-quality web hosting for only $2.95 per month. This promotion even offers a free domain name for your website.

What’s the Next Step?

Now that you’ve read through the first step, it’s time to move onto step #2 where you will find a step-by-step tutorial that will teach you how to register your chosen domain name and get your website setup. As always, I’m here to help if you have any questions, so let me know if you have any issues that come up during this process.

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