When you are buying web hosting for your site(s), it is important to take several factors into consideration. As a conscious buyer, you want the best value for your money when buying a domain name and web hosting service for your website. Before we have a look at the steps of buying web hosting, lets get familiarized with what web hosting is and why you need it.
There is no doubt that the Internet is the new “gold rush”. Having a website is a required commerce channel for any business today. Even a small Mom and Pop shop will benefit from having a well branded web presence. If you don’t have a business but are instead interested in being a blogger, you can monetize your content relatively easily. Programs like Google AdSense, Amazon Associates, and the eBay Partner Network stand ready to scour your content with their sophisticated algorithms and match it to their advertisers’ products.
Still, there remains a barrier between you and the Internet masses: design. These days, Internet users expect mobile-friendly sites that are smart and easy on the eyes as well. Visitors expect to be greeted with responsive designs that do the panning, scrolling and zooming for them. Enter WordPress. WordPress is a content management system—used by 22.4% of all websites as of 2014—that allows you to focus on creating stellar content. With WordPress, you can change your design on the fly without ever touching a line of code. Furthermore, you can get additional cutting edge design elements in the form of themes and plugins for hundreds of dollars less than a dedicated designer would charge you.
Percentage of Websites Using WordPress Worldwide
If you’re planning to put up your first site, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. While this can seem daunting at first, there’s no cause for alarm. The only costs involved are registering a domain name (usually around $10 a year) and a web hosting plan to host your website (typically between $4 and $6 a month). Some web hosting companies like WebHostingHub actually provide you with a free domain registration for your first year. There are three major steps, and this guide will walk you through them one by one. Once you’re beyond that initial stage, you’ll have no trouble publishing high-quality content to a hungry audience.
Part 1: Picking and Registering Your Domain Name
Perhaps the most important aspect of starting your own website or blog is the domain name you choose. Your domain name is your calling card, and as such, it’s very important that you optimize it as much as possible. The term “optimize” is a bit vague, so here are some specific tips to help you along:
- Keep it short: Short names are easy to remember and easy to type. They are also easy to share, which is just as important. Additionally, short domain names leave more room for snippets in the search engines, and they are more business card friendly.
- Set up expectations: You can be as creative as you want, but your domain should still give someone an idea of what your site is all about. Grooveshark is a great example of this. The domain creates a sense of intrigue while making it clear that the site has something to do with music.
- Avoid trademarks: This bears repeating. Don’t use established trademarks in your domain. The domain myapplestore.com may sound like a great idea, but it will be shut down within a month or so.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens: These elements make it difficult for people to say your domain out loud, which makes sharing more difficult. Any form of word-of-mouth advertising is valuable, so do all you can to make your domain easy to share.
- Don’t be trendy: Beyond these fundamentals, what works today might not work tomorrow. Your domain is your online identity, so don’t follow fads hoping to cash in.
A stylish domain can work well, but if your primary concern is search engine optimization (SEO), you will want to stick to a domain that includes your keywords. Google and other search engines look to your domain and your content to find out what your site is all about. If your domain doesn’t help them in that regard, it might take them a bit longer to classify and rank your site. Actually registering a domain is fairly straightforward. The most popular domain registrars are GoDaddy, eNom, Network Solutions and Namecheap.
All of these domain registrars allow you to check domain availability from their site. If the domain you want is available, simply pay and you’re good to go. A .com domain will typically run you between $10 and $15 per year. Note that you can’t actually buy a domain. You are actually renting the domain, and if you don’t pay your yearly fee, someone else can then rent the domain for themselves.
Part 2: Setting Up Your Web Hosting Account
Finding hosting is the next crucial step in starting your own WordPress site. A Web host is the crucial link between your site and the world at large. They host all of your site’s files and make it available to Web browsers via a server. Not all hosts are created equal, however, and you should carefully compare hosts before you buy. Transferring a site from one host to another can be a hassle. Here’s what to look for:
Part 3: Creating Your Website with WordPress
You might think that with all WordPress can do for you, it would be difficult to install. Actually, most modern web hosts make installing WordPress a pain-free experience. cPanel is a web hosting control panel from which you can install add-ons to your site, and most hosts offer it along with Softaculous or Fantastico, which are nifty auto-installers. Installing WordPress will work the same way on just about any host that offers cPanel, but let’s use WebHostingHub again as an example.
- Log in to your WebHostingHub cPanel account.
- Click on the “Softaculous” icon under the “Software/Services”section.
- Select the “WordPress” option.
- Click “Install”
- Select your domain from the dropdown list.
- Leave the “In Directory” box empty, put in your “Site Name” and “Site Description” and type a username and password in the appropriate boxes.
- Click “Install”
Once you’ve installed WordPress, you’ll receive an email letting you know how to log in. If you load your website at this point, you will be greeted by the default WordPress theme. This theme looks rather plain, but don’t worry: changing it is a cinch.
Video Guide: Install WordPress Using Softaculous
It’s a good idea to structure your post with headings. Headings help your reader skim your content to find the information that they are most interested in. WordPress uses the HTML tags “h1,” h2”, etc, so it’s a good idea to practice using them before you take your post live. The “h1” tag is the largest followed by the “h2” tag and “h3” tag.