Setting up a website isn’t hard– it’s nailing the design and positioning where most people trip up.
Whether you teach piano, run a yoga business, or are looking for a job, a website will help you stand out.
Some people say, “Is it free? Will it be a hassle?”
My friend Kat started getting a box of organic snacks delivered to her door every month. It’s a subscription service in the States, so she is paying premium to get it shipped to Canada. She also signed up for a gym. That’s her way of investing in her health.
A good website is an investment for your career.
So let’s get this show on the road. I’m going to show you how to set up a simple website in 20 minutes, which can double as your blog.
1. Get a domain name
A domain name is what people type into the address bar to go to your website. If you’re teaching piano, then it should be the name of your piano studio.
The standard domain name is [DOMAINNAME].com
E.g. Artiden.com, Google.ca, Amazon.com
The extension is the part that comes after the [.]
Nowadays, there are a ton of extensions to choose from, like, .net and .tv, but try to stick to .com if you can, because that’s easiest to remember.
Next, you’ll need to check if this domain is available, then register it.
The registrar I use is Dynadot. You just need a company that gets it done at a reasonable price.
I’ll be using the Dynadot website as an example, but it’s the same with any registrar. Type in your domain idea into “Find Your Domain Name,” and click “Find.”
You’ll see whether it’s available; if not, it’ll suggest a list of similar domain names.
When you find what you want, check the box next to it and click “Add” at the top.
Hover over the top right corner, and you’ll see your shopping cart. Let’s check out (click the green Check Out button).
When you get to the check out page, you might want to add domain privacy, which hides your personal information, like your email or phone number, when they look up your domain online.
So let’s check that box.
If you’re new to Dynadot, you’ll need to create a new account.
Once you go through the sign-up process, you’ll be able to pay, then the domain will be yours!
2. Get a host
A web host is the service that puts your website online. Think of it like the carrier service for your phone.
You want a web host company that offers good support, because when your website goes down, you want to speak to a live person who can solve your problem.
The web host I’ve been with for years is Canadian Web Hosting. They have great support and uptime, and I trust them enough to share my personal affiliate link with you.
When you’re getting started, you want a Shared Hosting package, because all the others will likely be too much space right now. I won’t bore you with the full details, but here are a few quick facts:
- There’s always a limit to server space, even if a hosting package claims to be “unlimited.” Usually, there are conditions, like, you can’t stream video.
- If you’re running a simple website with a couple of pages, maybe a blog, start with the most basic Linux Shared Hosting package.
I’ll be using Canadian Web Hosting as an example for this set up, but the process is similar for any web host.
Order the Linux Shared Hosting. For Canadian Web Hosting, it’s called “Lite.”
After clicking “Order Now,” you’ll see this screen; choose “Change Name Server Settings,” meaning, you’ve got a domain name already, and you’ll just point the name servers to the domain. Enter the domain name you registered earlier, click “Continue.”
On the next screen, you’ll be able to choose your package. For Canadian Web Hosting, you’re picking the “Lite Linux,” and the price will vary depending on how much you want to pay for it at once.
Click “Continue.” We don’t want any extra Add-ons at this point.
Then you’ll check out.
Please note, if you’re a new client, you’ll have to create an account, where there may be an approval process.
3. Liven your site
At this point, you have a domain name and a host, but the two are not connected. I’m imagining this step to be where we grab two plugs and stab them together so that the entire house lights up in Christmas trees. Except, not so grand.
The name servers are where your content is hosted. Your domain needs to know the name servers, to show content from your hosting account.
Let’s get your name servers.
Login to your hosting account; your credentials would’ve been emailed to you after the last step.
Choose your hosting package from your list of products.
That will bring up your Cpanel credentials (which you may need later). Where it says “Name Server,” you want to copy the two addresses– it should go something like “ns123.yourwebhost.com.”
Then, we’ll go back to our domain registrar, in this case, Dynadot. Head over to your list of domains.
Choose your new domain from the list, which will bring up the details. Click the “NS” link.
This is where you paste the two NS links you got from your web host. If you’re hosting other domains with the same company, you might see it in the dropdowns below.
And that’s it! Your website is good to go. The name servers might take some time to get updated.
From start to finish, this entire process takes about 10 minutes.
As a bonus, let’s take 3 minutes to install WordPress– it’s one of the most flexible content managing systems out there. And it’s my favourite.
3. Install WordPress
If you’re hosted with Canadian Web Hosting, they have a service called “Softaculous” that helps you install software with one click. That’s what we’ll be using. Most hosts have a similar service.
Login to your Cpanel account; the URL should be something like “yourdomain.com/cpanel.” You can find your credentials by logging into your hosting account, as we did in the previous step.
Once you’re in, scroll down to “Softaculous.”
Search for WordPress.
Once you click “Install,” you’ll get some options.
Your Domain should be the one you just registered. These are a few things to keep in mind when going through the installation process:
- That field where it says “In Directory” should blank.
- When setting your username below, you should never use “admin.”
Click “Install,” and you’re done!
I wrote this article to show you how easy it is to set up a basic website, whether you’re doing it yourself or getting a developer to set it up for you.
Also, my worst nightmare would be to become a full-time software technician, so now I can just send people here when they need a website set up.
The fun begins when you use your website to help you reach a goal, like, get readers for your blog on a topic you love, or to grow your business, or even to get a job. Build a brand for your business, using your website.