Domain and Hosting
If you have a computer, a browser and internet access, then you can build a website and find all the tools from your browser to get that website up and running. You don't have to download or buy expensive softwares in order to build a simple, standard website or blog. However, there are certain things you'll need to research and shop for online.
Buying Your Domain
Buying a domain for your website and hosting it are two different things and are usually two different costs. A domain is the name of the URL that you are interested in buying. For example, if you want to buy the URL Mermaids.com, that is a domain that you have to buy and renew annually or you can pay for multiple years at a time like I do. (By the way, Mermaids.com has been taken already by somebody else.)
Here's a list of reputable domain providers you can purchase a domain and get hosting from:
- Godaddy.com - I highly recommend this company if you want to start off using their website builder as an easy and fast way to get your website up and running live immediately. Depending on when you buy this, the website builder may come for free as a promotion with your domain purchase.
- Domain.com - They offer special prices for domains and affordable hosting plans.
- Wix.com - I've bought a domain from them in the past and they offer a quick hosting solution as well.
- NetworkSolutions.com - They're the OG and the very first domain registrar company. The company is very reputable and offers everything you need for any type of website.
Note: my links to resources and recommendations may allow me to earn a commission from each sale.
Content Management System (also hosting)
A great benefit with using a Content Management System (CMS) is that some of them are already search engine friendly. Long gone are the days that you have to create an entire website from scratch. With a Content Management System, you can create your website lay-out, design schemes and styles from existing templates that can save you a lot of time and headache! It's so easy to add content, delete content and edit content. I feel that if you know how to create a PowerPoint presentation, then learning to use a Content Management System for your website will come easier to you.
Here's a list of recommended content management systems:
- Wordpress - Very SEO friendly and reputable and I've used this in the past for a city-owned website. Wordpress is very popular for bloggers.
- Drupal - Reputable and customizable (the pros love it). I've used this CMS in the past for content on a corporate site and it was easy to use.
- Yola - This is what I use for content management and hosting for all of my domains that I currently own. It has great features at a great price. See how much this costs me under Website Expenses. New accounts may not have the blogging feature anymore so if you're planning on building a blog, try a different hosting company.
- Weebly - If you don't care about having a domain and plan on running an e-commerce website (doing sales transactions online), then this is a great affordable solution because they've partnered up with Square. You can get a free website from Weebly! Meet Weebly’s New Suite of eCommerce Tools
If you are buying a domain from a particular company and then hosting the website of your domain from a different company, it will require a little DNS work for you to ensure it is pointing to the right host. If you've never seen a DNS dashboard, it could be intimidating but nothing a little Googling couldn't solve.
If you end up going with Yola like I did, you can find DNS instructions on how to point your domain to their server by going to the Yola Tutorials. After doing this for years, it only takes me about 15 minutes to complete the DNS part. It gets better the more you do it. After you've completed this part, you still have to go back and make sure you 'publish' it.