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Complete guide to starting a website for a small amount of money.
When it comes to starting up a website, and you're a newbie, it can be tough to figure things out. I'm here to help you out a little bit in order to push you in the right direction. I know that when I started out I wish I had someone like me posting this so that I didn't waste thousands of dollars on "custom" designs that were just templates which were slightly tweaked to my liking. I remember one of my first websites cost me $2,000 and looked pretty bad, now it has a premium theme and looks like a million dollar site lol.
To start off you'll need to think about your domain name. Domain names are fairly cheap because you can get them for as low as $1.99 with certain coupons, but I tend to keep all my domains in the same spot. An average price for a domain is around $10 without privacy, with privacy you can add another $5 to $7 and some registrars even give you privacy for free. If you already have a business that is not online yet then the obvious choice will be yourbusinessname.com but that's not always going to happen. It won't always happen because there are domain buyers that will buy almost anything they think will sell in the future. They buy it for $1 to $10 a piece and then sell it for thousands when someone wants it. It's a profitable business idea but you need a good amount of funding to get big. Anyway, if your ideal domain is taken and the person who owns it is willing to sell but you can't afford their price, there's not much you can do. If they owned it before your incorporation date then you either have to pay their price or look for a new domain. So we're going to be looking for a new domain name lol.
A few things to consider when getting a domain name:
Short and Sweet - The shorter your domain name, the better it will be in the long run. People remember shorter domain names and not domains like thisisareallylongpointlessdomainname.com because it's just too much.
Can It Be Branded - Most domains can be brandable, but some are easier to do than others. The short and sweet part plays into this well because it's easier to brand a shorter domain than a longer one.
Catchy - If your domain name is catchy, people will talk about it. And if you want to make it big, people need to be talking about you.
Word Configuration - I never like to have a word end with the same letter that the next one starts with. A few examples, that may not be taken right now, are backlinkkiller.com, wolffind.com, marilynnames.com, etc. Saying and typing these domains can be troublesome for some people and you want to cater to everyone, so avoid this problem. Another problem is when the first words ends and the second word begins with the same sound like seaeater.com, cranenames.com, etc. This isn't as much of a problem, but I try to avoid it still.
If you do end up hitting a wall when thinking of a domain name you can always open up an online thesaurus to see different word variations to get an idea on what you could get your domain to be. I've done this countless times and came up with catchy brandable names that were better than my original idea
Finding hosting can be painstaking because there are so many companies out there. I've never been a fan of Godaddy hosting because it never really was good when I started out, so I still avoid it today. I do like to go with NameCheap or T35hosting because I've never had any problems with them. Hostgator is also another good one, but I can't give my full recommendation because I've never used them, I've only head good things.
When looking for the perfect hosting company, you'll want to choose one that gives you the option of a dedicated IP address for your website. This gives you a slight benefit in the SEO world and sort of protects you a bit because you won't be linked with 100 other websites on the same IP. And any of these other websites could be breaking the rules and possibly harm your own website by association It's not likely to happen, but you should get the dedicated IP just to be safe. I pay around $15 a month through t35hosting for my hosting + a dedicated IP and I've never had any problems.
After you have your awesome brandable domain name aimed at your newly created hosting account you're ready for the design. This is where I use to make a huge mistake when I was younger, and dumber, because I would pay a designer thousands for a simple design. I had no clue what wordpress was so I didn't know I was throwing away my money on custom designs that weren't needed.
Design Step 1 - Install Wordpress on your hosting account. It's a pretty easy thing to do because a lot of cpanels will have 1 click installs. You can configure it to aim at a specific folder, usually it's defaulted to be /wp but if you're setting up a website and not a blog, you'll want to delete /wp and leave that field blank. This will install wordpress on you index and make it so you don't have to repeat step 2
Design Step 2 - Purchase a premium theme for $35 to $75 on themeforest and be sure that it's niche specific. If it's not niche specific it will take you a little longer to customize when you're done with this step. Uploading your theme is pretty simple, just go to your Wordpress dashboard and go to the theme page and click "Upload" in the top left of the page (just to the right of the navigation menu). This is where you can just insert your theme file and upload it. After it's uploaded, you now have a fully customized website for a fraction of hiring a designer Go through your pages and edit the text and add or delete images where you deem fit.
After you get the above things done, you're all set up and ready for some traffic
A few other things you'll want to go over is your on page optimization and learn some off page optimization in order to rank in the search engines
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