How we fumbled our way into getting a site up
As you can probably tell in some of our write ups, we love tech… we sometimes just aren’t great at it. Our pictures aren’t perfect… and in all honesty we can’t even take good enough pictures to use on the blog so sometimes use generic ones that we can use from online places. This doesn’t mean we don’t try.
But as pictures get better and better with cameras , so do the expectations. And we feel that the pictures that we take just look so bad that we would rather our visitors…. ( all 5 of them ) get to look at nicer things . So we do it for your eyes enjoyment 🙂
So now that we have that ramble out of the way let’s get down to business and explain how we got a website up and going in a couple of days. All it took were a couple of tense minutes, some tears, a little blood and lots of sweat and behold the tech blog by two guys who like tech but can’t build a website was born!
First things first, how do we find a domain?
Alright , first things first you have to find a name for your site. The thing is you can’t just say I want my site to be the best tech blog site in the world. As it has to be unique and purchased. There is even a whole industry of buying and selling domains ( that is the name of your site) !
A domain name is the address of a website on the internet. It is what you type into a web browser to access a website. A domain name must be unique, and it can be registered with a domain name registrar. So first you think of a name then you check if it is available to be registered.
For us we were actually looking over a list of domains as every one that we thought of was already taken. Like I said the two of us don’t really have very much creativitiy. We saw that this domain had just become available and bought it as the name was cool. We then learned after we bought it what Amblone was and were very impressed. This is why we did our best to try to recreate the info about Amblone LED lighting , so the past wasn’t lost as some people did try to message us for info about it.
And in case you don’t know what it is, check it out… as it is cool:
Alright now you have a domain name picked out, and purchased.
On our journey to find a good name we picked out the things that would have helped us the most when we first started. Here are our top 5 tips when you are trying to find a domain name:
1. Keep it short and simple The shorter and simpler your domain name is, the easier it will be for people to remember and type. So, if you can, try to keep your domain name to just one or two words. Amblone just kind of stuck with us for some reason?
2. Make it relevant to your website Your domain name should be relevant to your website’s content. For example, if you’re a website about books, a good domain name could be something like www.books.com or www.bookreviews.com. ( we didn’t do this… which is a trend you will see as you continue to read the article )
3. Use keywords If you want people to find your website easily, you can use keywords in your domain name. For example, if you’re a website about car insurance, a good domain name could be something like www.carinsurance.com or www.cheapcarinsurance.com. As you can tell, we didn’t do this at all… we just liked the name… but using keywords is something that all the big sites say to do when choosing a name.
4. Avoid using hyphens While using hyphens in your domain name can help make it easier to read, they can also make it more difficult for people to remember. So, if you can, try to avoid using hyphens in your domain name.
5. Get the best price Once you’ve found the perfect domain name, the next step is to find the best price on it. You can do this by shopping around and comparing prices from different domain name providers. We didn’t know this and just bought it, turns out we could’ve saved a bunch of money by registering it somewhere else.
Hosting a website..?!
Alright , so we have a domain name and now we need a place for it to call home. If the domain name was like a house , the hosting would be …. the property that it is planted on…. in the internet? Again we stumbled around looking for the right property to put our beautiful new domain on so here are the tips we picked up in our search for the best host:
1. What kind of website do you have? If you have a simple website with just a few pages, you can probably get away with a shared hosting plan. But if you have a large website or one that gets a lot of traffic, you’ll need a more powerful hosting option like VPS or Dedicated hosting.
2. What are your website’s requirements? Make sure to check your website’s requirements (e.g. PHP version, database type, etc.) and make sure the host you choose can accommodate them. If you’re not sure, you can always contact the host’s customer support to ask. This is probably something you want to ask support for, because if you are like us you have no idea… we just ended up asking… will WordPress work on your hosting? ( more on wordpress later!)
3. What is your budget? Hosting plans can range in price from a few dollars per month to hundreds of dollars per month. Know how much you’re willing to spend on hosting before you start looking around. Make sure you look for the hosting coupons. Literally type in the host name you are thinking about going to, and then type coupons after that….
4. What kind of customer support does the host offer? When something goes wrong with your website, you’ll want to be able to reach customer support for help. Make sure the host you choose offers 24/7 customer support via phone, chat, or email. ( This is really important, because if you are like us you will need someone to help you out. Don’t be fooled , even though they say anyone can do it… it can get confusing. Or maybe we are just …. special?
5. What are the host’s uptime and speed guarantees? You’ll want to choose a host that can guarantee uptime (i.e. your website will be available 99.9% of the time). And since speed is also important, make sure the host can provide you with a fast website. If your site is down, or loads really slow, people will either not be able to find it or just go somewhere else because they’re tired of waiting for your site to load.
Which CMS is best for you?
Alright, now it is time to get down to the nitty gritty business… THE CMS! What does that even mean? I didn’t know, and barely really understand it now. Ok if we go back to the house and property explanation. The house is your domain, the hosting is your property, and the CMS would be ….. your interior and exterior designer?
That isn’t really a great comparison… but work with us alright? The CMS is the Content Management System. So it kind of handles how your site look, feels, and acts. And for this we did a bunch of research and ended up choosing:
Alright, if you have no idea what WordPress is we will give you a quick FAQ on it:
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world, powering over 30% of all websites. In short, WordPress is a CMS that allows you to create, edit, and publish content on your website. It’s a flexible platform that can be used for everything from simple websites to complex online stores.
WordPress is free and open source software released under the GPL. This means that anyone can use, modify, and distribute WordPress code. As a result, there’s a huge community of developers and designers who have created themes, plugins, and add-ons for WordPress. With WordPress, you can create any type of website you want. There are thousands of themes and plugins available, so you can easily create a unique website that’s tailored to your specific needs. You can also use WordPress to create an online store. WooCommerce, the most popular eCommerce plugin, turns a WordPress website into a fully-functional online store.
So basically, there are lots of ways you can dress up your site, and lots of ways for you to get help. There are hundreds of thousands if not MILLIONS of wordpress sites out there. If you ever get stuck all you need to do is go to the wordpress support page and almost always there is someone else who is having your problem… and someone else who has helped them.
If we can make a decent looking, and functional, site with WordPress we have faith you can too!
Time to put it all together!
Alright, you have your house… it is on some nice stable property… and it is beautiful… now what? You are pretty much done to be honest, so let’s recap all the steps we have outlined:
Building a website can be a daunting task, especially if you’re starting from scratch. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a checklist of everything you need to do to build a website, from start to finish.
- Choose your domain name. This is the name of your website, and it’s what people will type into their browser to find your site. So make sure it’s something short, catchy, and easy to remember.
- Find a web hosting service. This is where your website will live on the internet. There are a lot of different web hosting services out there, so do your research and find one that’s right for you.
- Set up your hosting account and install WordPress. Once you’ve found a web hosting service and signed up for an account, you’ll need to set up your hosting account and install WordPress. WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) that will make it easy for you to create and manage your website’s content.
- Choose a WordPress theme. This is the design of your website. There are thousands of free and premium WordPress themes available, so take your time and find one that you like.
- Install plugins. Plugins are pieces of software that add additional features and functionality to WordPress. There are thousands of plugins available, so again, take your time and find the ones that you need.
- Create your pages and posts. Now it’s time to start creating the content for your website. WordPress makes it easy to create pages and posts, and you can add media (images, videos, etc.) to them as well.
- Promote your website. Once your website is live, you’ll need to start promoting it to get traffic. There are a number of ways to do this, such as SEO (search engine optimization), social media, and PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. ( This is something you can choose to do, but we aren’t doing that, we just hope that people find our site and think it is cool enough to come back!)
- Analyze and improve. Once you start getting traffic to your website, it’s important to analyze it and see what’s working and what’s not. Use Google Analytics to track your website’s traffic and performance, and make changes accordingly.
Final thoughts on putting together a website
As you can see, there might seem to be a lot of things that you have to do to get a website up and going but you really don’t need to be a genius to get it done. We all think back, or some of us if we are old enough, to a time where everything was hand coded… people were typing in all these words and then magically a site appears.
This isn’t the case at all anymore. WordPress has made it easy for everyone to make a site and not require Mensa level IQs! After all we did it and … although we don’t want to limit ourselves….. we probably aren’t going to be Mensa members anytime soon…
One other thing we forgot to mention… if you don’t want to build a site you can also just host your blog on a site like wordpress itself. You won’t get the fancy domain of your dreams but you might get something like abc.wordpress.com and that way you don’t have to pay anything and can short cut around a couple of those steps.