Part of legitimizing yourself as a business is holding yourself out as for hire. This can be done with signage and a storefront, but can also be done more cheaply with a website. There are a plethora of options available out there such as Wix, Shopify, and their competitors. However inevitably these sites are expensive, ineffective and do not scale with your business.
Before I lay out a solution we should examine the anatomy of a website and the necessary components/ materials.
- 1.) A domain name, your access to the DNS system. A domain name is the .com, for example this sites domain is sponable.io. These range in price from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars per year. They all work the same. You get these from a registrar. I use www.namecheap.com. A final note is always make sure you can afford the first year and every year thereafter.
- 2.) Hosting. You buy this from a web hosting company. This is server space that gives your website code and files a place to live on the web. I highly recommend cPanel as a platform. It allows you freedom of movement between vendors.
- 3.) A CMS or Content Management System. There are many of them; personally I like WordPress. It is ubiquitous as you can find support, consultants and hosting anywhere. You can get free components or paid components. It can be an e-commerce store, web blog, reservations site. It is no harder to use than MS Office.
For hosting products, I simply love www.namecheap.com. As a business, they are honest. They take care of and care about their clients and the community at large. I am not taking a cent in affiliate dollars. I believe in them and will absolutely endorse their products. So the first thing you need is a domain name. There are plenty of ways to host your site , but for our purposes look into their shared hosting options. These are based on cPanel and are designed to let you move around from host to host. Unlike Wix, you get free email hosting with your website and full control of your DNS which will come in handy later. Now for the configuration, each web host is different, their tech support is very helpful so I will breakdown the steps.
- 1.) Point your domain at your shared host. If you stayed within namecheap their tech support will help you every step of the way. If you didn’t stay with namecheap, get your nameservers from your web host and give them to your registrar. Either way you will have to wait a few hours for the domain to propagate and resolve.
- 2.) Once done, log into your cPanel and use the provided app installer to install wordpress. Make sure you do not install to a wp subdirectory. Again talk to your web host. They will walk you through the process.
- 3.) Your WordPress will be online now. Login to it and check out the themes and start writing content!!!!!
When setting up your website, there are some other products and services you can and should consider.
- 1.) A dedicated IP. If you are going to use the site for email, and I would highly recommend it, a dedicated IP allows you to set up a PTR record. This will greatly enhance the deliverability of your emails and prevent them from ending up in the spam folder.
- 2.) An SSL certificate. This will allow you to get the “Green Bar.” This lends credibility for a webpage. On namecheap they’re $8 per year. If using WordPress I recommend doing it before you add any content. You will get errors that take some work to fix if you add it in later. You will also require this if you are doing any kind of e-commerce or sales on your website.
There you have it. For less than the cost of a Starbucks Coffee you have a fully functional and professional website that will grow with you for the rest of your career.