for absolute beginners with zero previous experience
(not a sponsored or affiliate posting – this simply how we went about setting up our own website)
Our first post!
For our first No Gibberish post, we wanted to share how we went about building this webpage and how one can do the same.
It was something that took us a while and needed to do a lot of research. We just want to share our insights as they may be of use to someone with no idea about where to start or how.
Our specialty has always been in branding, marketing and ad production. When companies need content for their websites, we create it and optimize it based on their specifications. When companies need rebranding and campaigns? We design them. Clients need ads or content done in 3D, we do that too. This is our firm’s specialty and mainstay, what we do and how we’ve built up our company.
What we don’t do is actually take the content and apply it to Google or Facebook ads, to the clients’ company websites, or wherever they need their exposure. We create everything they need, and we leave it to their internal controls to do the uploading, tailoring and monitoring.
So in terms of website design and maintenance, we have only ever built our own company website, as big clients already have their own (and millions/billions of dollars behind them).
Thus, this is how, for an absolute beginner with zero knowhow about where to start, one can possibly go about building their own website or blog.
And just an FYI, this has 0 sponsors. This is simply how we did it, with no affiliations, sponsors, or anything even remotely close.
So let’s begin, shall we?
As another quick preface, we want to say that before diving into building your own website or blog, it is pertinent to decide what your website will be about, what its niche will be. Before we actually dove in to actually building our website, we took some time to research and plan what we wanted to do.
Step 1: The Domain
First, you need to buy, rather reserve a domain. A domain is just your website’s URL the www. something something . something.
Think of a few ideas for your domain (even though it already may be taken).
Why are not really “buying” a domain? Well you are in a sense purchasing the domain, the URL from a domain registrar. But what you are really doing is reserving a domain in that registrar’s registry. Why this is important? If you don’t renew your domain annually, you lose it, and thus, all you’ve set up on your website. Think of it as a subscription is that helps. You need to pay annually to keep it going.
Domain hosts store domain names, so whatever name you come up with your website, they’ll hold onto it for you.
We used Google Domains to purchase (register) our domain.
domains.google (that is the full URL).
Here you can first search if the domain you want is already taken or not.
For example, if I like the name sunshine and wanted my domain to be sunshine.com, I need to check if it is available or not first.
Start by typing that in the search tab where it says “Search for your new domain”.
You can type in sunshine, sunshine.com, or country-specific domains for whatever locality you live in (for example, if I lived in the UK, can try searching sunshine.co.uk).
As you can see, the website domain sunshine.com has already been taken. Someone else has already purchased (registered) that domain.
Google Domains gives you a list of alternatives, such as sunshine.net, sunshine.info, etc. Most all domain registrars do.
You’ll also notice the word “Aftermarket” appearing next to a few. This means this is an “Aftermarket premium domain” which can be bought… for a premium.
We have never tried to purchase an already taken domain name, though this is generally done through a broker and one will have to bid for it (you need to convince the owner to sell that domain name to you, and that will come at a price $$$).
We used Google Domains as our domain registrar because it offers very upfront costing, including privacy (which we’ll get into later) and well Google to us was a trustworthy name (a foolish thing to say of course). The cost that’s listed on the page, is not going to all of a sudden skyrocket at checkout. We wanted that transparency in choosing our first domain.
A few alternative domain registrars
As an alternative to Google Domains, we’ve also heard good things about Porkbun.com.
Namecheap.com seems to be used a lot.
We’ve also used GoDaddy for their WHOIS DOMAIN LOOKUP as we were considering other domains that were already taken, and we wanted to see how long and by whom the other domains were registered. GoDaddy also offers a domain broker service if you want to try and buy the rights to a domain already taken (though we can’t vouch for this company, service, or route, we just considered the option).
As we have already mentioned, ff there is a domain you absolutely want and must have, you can try and use a broker to try and buy that domain. Brokers obviously charge a fee working as the middleman, and well it is impossible to say how much you may end up paying, you first have to bid (we have no experience with this yet, so we can’t offer up our own experiences).
One thing we’ve come to rely on heavily for guidance and how we settled on Google Domains is Reddit. Though of course there are many obvious affiliate and sponsored posts and comments, however, if you filter through them, you can find some honest answers from folks who are trying to help out (there is some decency left in the world). Some say Reddit and YouTube have become the new Google in terms of trying to find relevant information one is looking for.
Back to our point – Google Domains as of this writing is available in 29 countries, including Germany, Vietnam, Japan, Colombia, the United States, Australia, Thailand, Sweden, South Africa, Mexico, India, and many others.
We are not sure how it would work if one is not located in one of those countries that is officially supported.
Even if one has access to a banking and a billing address in one of those supported countries, we would recommend using a registrar that has active official support in the country you are living in (as this is where you will be creating your blog or website). If there any issue arise later and you are not located in a country that Google Domains officially supports, who knows what might arise?
Step 2: The Hosting
So, now that you’ve registered a domain, you need somewhere to park it, some place that will allow you to build your website now that you have the URL.
Best analogy we could come up with… well we couldn’t come up with one. Simply, you need a place to build something out of your domain name.
To do this, you need a domain hosting service. One may technically be able to set up their own hosting, but we have no experience with that, so we won’t even attempt to dive into that one.
There are 2 things you need now that you have your domain.
- A hosting server
- A way to actually build your website (i.e. WordPress)
The first we’ll mention is the hosting server.
There are different types of servers out there (remember, we’re discussing us beginner user folk).
But since we were new to the game, and we decided to build our website using WordPress (which we’ll cover a bit later in this post), we chose a dedicated hosting server (a managed server).
This we did a lot of researching for. There was WP Engine, BlueHost, CloudWays, A2 Hosting, there are so many.
The usually dependable Reddit was a bit of a wash with this one – there were so many posts that seemed maybe there was sponsored or where people had a skin in the game, it was hard to determine which advice out there was actually helpful.
But what we did come away with was that one needs to be aware of what a managed host (also called a managed server, dedicated server, and dedicated hosting service). Since we decided to build our website using WordPress, we went for a managed host that had inclusive pricing and offered good (trustworthy) reviews and SSL (a security feature), we went for Kinsta. Of course these were features on top of high load speeds, many options for dedicated servers, etc. If you are going to build your website using WordPress, we recommend looking for a managed WordPress hosting.
Kinsta is amongst the priciest managed servers out there. At $35 a month (starting price) it was far more than some of the others that started at as low as less than $5 a month.
But they offered the following:
One thing to be aware of is that while a lot of managed servers offer a lot rate for the first year. But from the second year onwards, the price goes up. We liked Kinsta for there was no such 2nd year price hike, but also their customer service was top notch (they really helped us out when we had inquiries).
But that is a lot of investment, and there are many alternatives for lower prices out there.
The process of signing up for Kinsta was rather straight forward.
You have the website domain.
You have a place to build your website.
You need to actually build it.