So you have decided to join the internet – congratulations on making a decision that has the potential to change your life forever. That is not an exaggeration.
From now on in (especially at the start) it’s about how much effort and research you put into getting your site out there. Content is king, however marketing is just as important – if you can get both to a high level then you will be succesful.
When the traffic is flowing, then it’s time to monetise and there are lot of options available to start earning from your hard work.
But before we get ahead of ourselves let’s get down to the nitty gritty of setting up the site and what the best practices are in 2021.
Setting Up Your Hosting
Hosting? The only hosting I do is for friends and family.
Don’t worry it’s nothing complicated, but it is essential and you need to know about it now – so take the time to understand it.
If you have ever held a dinner party the concept of hosting a website is very similar. When your guests arrive, as the host, you are expected to provide all the customary things – food, drinks and entertainment.
Similarly when you host a website and users come to your site, you are expected to provide all the files and images to their browser in order to consume all of your content.
You could keep those files/media on your own home computer – which would be the “host” server. Still with me?
But do you really want your personal computer giving thousands if not potentially millions of users access to your files? No, the answer is definitely no.
So what is the alternative? Set up your site with a hosting company who will provide a “communal” computer for users on the internet to access your files which won’t compromise you or your personal data.
Sounds sensible – but who is the best host?
There are lots of hosting companies out there and I urge you to do your own research to be sure that who you select meets your requirements. That being said if you are starting out and want to get setup quickly, Bluehost has been a stand-out host provider over many years.
Let Bluehost worry about site performance, SSL Certificates, bandwidth and email storage whilst you concentrate on bringing in as much traffic as possible.
A Bluehost website will provide you with:
- A Low cost hosting solution from a trusted company that manages over 2 million websites around the world and has been around for nearly 20 years (since 2003, which is a long time for internet providers).
- 24/7 support – from beginner to advanced we can all need help to get things done as quick as possible. Bluehost offer round the clock support and there is not many things that they won’t be able to solve.
- Free SSL (something that helps with Google SEO), malware detection and automated security updates so you don’t have to waste time checking on your servers.
- When setting up your actual site, although you can setup your own solution, Bluehost have integrated WordPress very easily. If you have not heard of WordPress where have you been? It is the most popular content management system in the world and can pretty do anything you from a website. With Bluehost, WordPress is free and you don’t have to be a web developer to set it up.
- A professional look that is just lacking from most other providers. A self hosted solution that isn’t spammy and gives you the ability to forget about the backend when the traffic comes flooding in will save you time and money later down the road.
- A Free Content Delivery Network (CDN) which allows things like media files to be delivered to your audience as quickly as possible depending on their location in the world. Great for performance ratings.
- Free Domain for one year. After you have checked if your domain name (www.<domain-name>.com) is available you can claim the first year ownership for free.
By clicking the link and signing up to Bluehost we receive a commission. Rest assured that the link won’t add anything to your cost of signing up and even if we didn’t receive the commission, we would still recommend the company.
It’s just $3.95 a month to get started so the risk is minimal and even if you are not satisfied with the level of service, Bluehost also has a 30-day money back guarantee so you can cancel and get a refund no questions asked.
Right…let’s crack on.
***Quick Note: You may think that you just want to “test the waters” and therefore opt for a free alternative for blogging like Blogger. Whilst I will never dismiss the idea of keeping your costs low, especially when starting a new venture, should your blog/website start to take off and attract a lot of traffic you will wish you started off with Bluehost due to the limitations Blogger sites have on monetization.
Selecting The Right CMS: WordPress Is The Industry Standard
Content Management System? Don’t worry it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
A Content Management System (CMS) is just a fancy term for the software that allows you to structure your site and put the actual content on it.
Key Point: The hosting provider (Bluehost) sends users the files that create your site. The CMS (WordPress) creates and maintains those files. Both are required to get setup as quickly as possible.
Similarly to hosting providers there are lots of CMS’s available. They all have their good points and their own set of drawbacks so as before, please do your own research so that you are comfortable with the choice you have made.
That being said, without doubt the number one player in this market is WordPress. WordPress is the brainchild of college students Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little back in 2003, who needed a CMS for their own blog…so they designed their own.
Fast forward to today where the company now boasts that nearly 40% of the internet uses WordPress. That may not sound like much but considering how vast the internet is, a rough estimate is that 455 million websites are built using the platform.
If you believe that a platform that supports millions of websites across the globe can satisfy your requirements (you would probably be right) then there is even more good news as WordPress is fully integrated with Bluehost FOR FREE, meaning that once you have setup your Bluehost account, WordPress is sitting there waiting for you to get started.
***Side-Rant – This really is the golden age of the internet as just as little as 15 years ago you needed a small army of programmers to get a professional looking site up and running.
Today, within a few clicks and for a cheap price, you can have a cutting edge website.
The internet is growing and developing faster than any industry in the world, who knows where we are going to be in the next couple of decades.
Bottom line is you need to be apart of it, whatever your business is.
Growing your Business/Site
There are lots of things you can do with WordPress, in fact there aren’t many things you can’t do. When faced with a platform that has lots of customisable features and and a whole eco-system of plugins things can get complicated very quickly.
There are a number of options available to you at this point – 1) hire a web developer to get you started or 2) get to grips with the software yourself.
Option 1 is the easier of the two, but if you take the time to go down the route of option 2 and learn the basics for yourself you will be able to solve most of the early “teething” issues yourself and you will find it a lot easier to work with web developers later down the line when you scale out your enterprise.
The plugins for WordPress are always evolving and whilst they ultimately are there to make your life simpler unless you know the basics it can be hard to harness them.
The point is at the beginning you don’t need to have the best site in the world – you just need to have something out there.
You have done all the hard work already by choosing a good host and installing the number 1 CMS going. Now is the time to get your content online and start promoting your business. As your online presence grows you can then start to focus on the cosmetic side by improving the site layout and user experience. I mean if Facebook can start like this, so can you …
So where to start? YouTube tutorials? A Udemy Course?
All good solutions, and there is no right answer here. Keep watching as many tutorials online as you can and when they start to sound repetitive you know you have exhausted the free tutorial space.
A good start would be with Bluehost‘s own mini tutorial series. It’s a little outdated (what isn’t in the world of the internet) but the principles remain the same and it should be enough to get you going.
There are so many opportunities online that it is getting to the stage where those without an online audience will be left behind. With Bluehost and WordPress making it easier and easier for anyone to get started it is no wonder that we are seeing a golden age of self-made millionaires who have leveraged its potential for their own gain. That could be you.