So, you want to create a website. How exciting! Building a website is one of the most fun and rewarding things that you can do with your spare time. But figuring out exactly how to start can be difficult and cause a lot of stress. That’s exactly what you don’t need when you have a chronic illness, amiright?
Here’s a no-frills guide on exactly how to build and launch your own site from yours truly here at Chronic Illness Entrepreneur!
Exactly How to Build and Launch Your Own Site
Step One: Choose a Website Platform
Before you do anything else, the very first step of figuring out exactly how to build and launch your own site is deciding which website platform you’re going to use. The reason why this is the first step is because some website platforms include features that you would need to purchase otherwise. And others require that you have certain things in place beforehand. So to know what our next steps should be, we first have to start here.
You may already be familiar with the different types of website platforms, or even have already made the choice of which one you’re going to use. But still keep reading to make sure that you have all the information available to you. Sometimes, in the world of online business, what seems like an easy choice is more complicated than it first seems.
Many people will try to push you one way or the other, so it’s important to gather all of the information on hand and make your own decision based on what your personal priorities are.
There are actually quite a few options for what type of site you can have. The most popular options are:
Personally, I would immediately remove Weebly, Wix, and Blogger from this list. Although they might be tempting choices (especially because they are free), if you are truly planning to make money online, these will not grow with your business. Unfortunately, you will most likely regret it later if you decide to create your website on one of these platforms.
That being said, if budgeting is first and foremost your main concern, and you have no idea whether or not you’re in this whole “online business” thing for the long haul, going with one of these platforms could be a temporary solution for you.
We could go on and on for days about why you might choose one of these over the others, but let’s make it simple. If you want something extremely easy to use without a huge learning curve, and with basic design templates already created for you, Squarespace, Shopify, or ClickFunnels is going to be a good option for you. They are each geared towards selling products and increasing customer conversion (especially ClickFunnels) moreso than other website platforms.
If you are going to be incorporating a lot of blog posts and/or want something super customizable with virtually limitless options, WordPress is going to be your best bet.
Here at Chronic Illness Entrepreneur, we almost always recommend WordPress to our readers, as it has the capability to grow with your business no matter what you decide to do with it. But depending on your personal preferences, a different option might be a better choice for you right now.
Step Two: Purchase a Domain Name and Hosting
One of the main reasons why the first step in learning exactly how to build and launch your own site is choosing a website platform is because some of the website platforms we mentioned above come with domain names and/or hosting.
But before you even get started purchasing the domain name, you first need to come up with a great name for your new business or blog. Check out this post to get some ideas on how to name your business.
Domain Names & Hosting for Not-Wordpress Sites
All of the platforms mentioned except WordPress have options that allow you to bypass purchasing a domain name and hosting.
That being said, in almost any circumstance where you are building your own online business, you are absolutely going to want to pick out your own domain name. Even if you have the option to not get one, you should have a really good reason why you’re choosing not to. All online businesses need their own domain name. It’s just life!
So, if you’re going with Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, or Shopify, they each have their own ways that you can purchase a domain name and hosting as a package from them. It’s easy-peasy, with your website, domain name, and hosting all wrapped up into one monthly or yearly payment.
ClickFunnels is slightly different. Their default is to put you on a (free) subdomain that comes with your account. It will look something like: [your username].clickfunnels.com.
This is all fine and good, but doesn’t look real pretty when you’re marketing your website or running ads. If you plan to use ClickFunnels as your website or a marketing tool, you should strongly consider purchasing a separate domain name to use with it (use NameCheap to purchase one for less than $12/year). In that case, you won’t also need hosting, since that comes free with your ClickFunnels account.
WordPress Domain Names & Hosting Plans
If you’re going with WordPress, I’m going to warn you that you may get confused. WordPress does have a free version of its software called WordPress.org, but it’s totally separate from what you’re going to want to use. They don’t integrate with each other, so be really careful about not accidentally signing up with the wrong one.
The easiest way to not get confused is that, to use WordPress.com, your first step is ironically not to set up an account with WordPress — it’s get a domain name and hosting.
When you go with WordPress, unlike the other options, you purchase the domain name and hosting separately, and then install the free WordPress software onto the blank site.
If you’re just getting started, I highly recommend NameCheap as a great option to purchase both your domain name and hosting. (Note: It is possible to purchase a domain name and hosting separate from each other, but that can get super confusing very easily, so try to avoid doing that unless you’re very tech savvy.)
Just in case you’re curious about the going rates, it will typically cost you about $5-20 per year for a domain name and around $50-150 per year for hosting.
If you’re a more advanced business owner and want to get really crazy with your upcoming site, you might want to consider getting fancy hosting. This will allow you to support lots of pageviews, decrease your site speed, and often has better customer service. In our experience, the best option for “fancy” hosting is Siteground (we’re on their $5.95 per month plan). But it’s fairly easy to switch hosting companies later in the game, so don’t get too caught up in choosing a hosting plan. They are all pretty similar, especially for a new business owner.
Once you’ve got a domain name and hosting, your next step will be to install WordPress on your site. Most hosting companies have tutorials on how to set this up. Here’s how to do it with NameCheap.
We wish we could tell you exactly how to get this done, but it’s a little different depending on which company you’re hosted with. If you’re having trouble, just try chatting with customer service…they’re usually pretty helpful!
Step Three: Choosing a Theme
Depending on which website platform you chose, this step will look a little different.
Choosing a Theme for Not-Wordpress
In fact, with ClickFunnels, there isn’t even such a thing as a “theme,” since each page is customizable by you (although you can use a template, or purchase one from the marketplace).
But if you are going with any of the others, the next step will be to choose your theme. Squarespace makes this process pretty easy. They have a few themes to choose from, and they’re all free! So preview each of them and decide which on you like, then install it on your site. (If you don’t like it, it’s actually pretty easy to switch to a different one later.)
For Weebly, Wix, Shopify, and Blogger, they each have some free themes available, or you can purchase a theme from their marketplace. In some circumstances, like with Blogger, you also might be able to purchase or get a free download of a theme from somewhere else, and then install it onto the site yourself.
WordPress is similar in that it comes with a few free options to choose between, or you can purchase something from the marketplace or from somewhere else on the web. Themeforest is a really great resource if you want to purchase your own theme. I also really like the feminine themes from Coded Creative.
Honestly, there are a ton of options out there. You should take some time to do your research, and maybe talk to someone else who is running a similar business as the one you are trying to launch, so that you can figure out which theme is best for you.
That being said, it’s always possible to switch themes at a later date if you decide to upgrade or simply change your mind.
(The one we’re using here on Chronic Illness Entrepreneur is the Rise theme from Thrive Themes.)
And that’s how to start a blog! You can totally do this — don’t let the tech keep you from getting started! There will probably be bumps in the road, and we all make mistakes when we’re first getting started. But it’s all a learning opportunity! Once you have these building blocks above in place, you can get started writing about what you love and connecting with other likeminded bloggers!
Now that you’re ready to hit it out of the park with your brand-new business, check out our detailed guide How to Make $1k (in the next 90 days) by Starting Your Own Business.