There's no way around it.
To get started making money online, you are going to need a website.
No if's and's or but's.
Maybe your plan is to set up a bunch of sweet niche sites or a more in-depth personal blog. Or perhaps you simply need a site to sell your drop-shipped products.
Whatever your online aspirations, getting a website up and running is the most important first step.
This guide will show you everything you need to know to set up your first site cheaply and quickly while setting yourself up for long-term success.
Let's start with the basics.
First of all...
First thing is first, make sure you know what niche you are going to choose. If you need help with where to start, read this epic guide.
If you know what your website is going to be about, then get excited...
"Because in less than sixty minute's time, you will have your website."
But first, you're going to need three things...
I'm going to walk you through this step by step, screenshot by screenshot.
After you finish following these steps you'll have a beautiful website and you'll also understand basics of how your website works.
If you want to jump right into the 7 steps to start your site- click here!
Let's make this real simple - I like to think of hosting - like paying rent.
There are ways around paying rent in the real world. Sure, you could go deep into the woods, chop down trees, collect lumber and learn how to build a house from scratch. Similarly, rather than renting your website space from a hosting provider, you could look into building your own hosting servers but hell, that would be a mission.
So, you need to rent your space from an already established hosting provider.
Think of your hosting company like your landlord. Now we just have to find a landlord...
There are tons of hosting companies out there offering all sorts of packages.
But out of all of the hosting options, we recommend going with Bluehost.
There are three things we look for in a hosting provider.
Bluehost does all three.
Will and I have been using Bluehost independently and on the same projects for years. They provide quality hosting at the cheapest price on the web.
Try $2.95 a month.
I know - $2.95 a month to run your business cheap is basically nothing.
But Bluehost is more than just their low price.
Far and away the best part of Bluehost is their customer service. Anytime I had issues, all I do is make a call, and the problem was quickly resolved.
If this is your first online project then picking Bluehost is a no-brainer - let's start the process!
If you haven't already, click the button below to get started.
You should be taken to this screen.
Click the green button that says 'Get Started Now'
You should then be taken to this screen, where you can select your monthly plan for Bluehost...
If you are planning on taking your website to the next level and are interested in the juicy extras, the prime option at $5.95 a month is completely worth it!
But if you aren't sure or this is your first site - don't worry. The $2.95 plan has everything you'll need (and you can always upgrade later).
Click the green 'Select' button for the plan you want for your business.
You should now be at this screen...
Which means you now get to pick your domain name!
If you know the domain name you already want, go ahead and skip to the next step!
If you don't know what your domain name is yet, here's some helpful tips.
Our domain at Ditch your Desk is DitchyourDesk.com
Facebook's domain is Facebook.com.
So we need to make sure your domain is available. This means we need to be sure no one is already using your domain name. You can do so on the current Bluehost screen.
Here are a few things to keep an eye on when picking a domain name...
How annoying would this be?
"Hey check out my site! It's no9-5foru.com! That's spelt n-o-number-nine-hyphen-number-five-f-o-r-letter-u.com!'
Wayyy too complicated.
Do yourself and your future audience a favor - no numbers, no hyphens, no shortened versions of words (you/u) and no slang. You want your domain to be simple and clear.
Simplicity is key. Any domains over three or four words should be reconsidered. You want to convey the message of the business in as few words as possible.
Think of www.TheBrokeBackpacker.com.
Simple, easy to remember and the message is immediately apparent. There's no guessing how it's spelled or debating what kind of content you'll find on that site.
Often the path of our online endeavors will change. It's almost a guarantee. Life will throw your curveballs, your niche/market will evolve and your personal interests will change.
So the best way to set yourself up for this? Choose a domain that isn't too specific. You want to settle on a name that doesn't tie you down and that will give you some room for flexibility.
Let's say you want to start a pizza-review blog based in New York, so you name it NYSlice.com
Which is all fine and dandy...
Until you move.
Then you're fucked.
Then you have to decide whether you have to continue with this name, re-brand, or sell the site.
So instead, do yourself a favor, and choose something that is more flexible.
We see this problem a lot in the travel blogging niche. Someone names their site VietnamTraveler.com - and it'll be a great first year! But then after a year eating Vietnamese food, the VietnamTraveler now wants to venture to other parts of the world...
The lesson? Instead of tying yourself down, give yourself a domain name that is malleable. You want something that can adapt and evolve as your brand will adapt and evolve.
*Ditch Your Desk Hustle Notes* - An idea worth considering is just to go with www.yourname.com. While the domain won't reflect your niche, as your site grows, it will give you an enormous edge in personal branding. But with pros come cons. A website named after you will be very difficult to sell further down the line.
As Bruce Lee said - be water.
Once you have chosen your domain name, you should be taken here...
Please set up your payment information with a debit or credit card.
Now you should be looking at this screen.
Click the green button.
...and create your password! You'll know you've chosen a good password when you click the blue 'Next' button and see this screen.
If you click 'log in', you will now see this screen.
You are going to choose a theme on Bluehost, but don't worry which one you pick - it's only temporary. We are going to easily change it a bit further down the line.
For now, pick whichever you like and head to the next screen.
Once you see this - you can start building your site! Click the blue button to get acquainted with your new best friend, WordPress.
You now should be looking at a screen like this.
Choose the 'Business' option.
You'll then be taken here...
Click the blue 'Launch' button, which will then show you this screen...
Type in your site title and go ahead and give it a bit of a description. Anything will do. Don't worry about making it perfect - you can easily change it later.
Click 'Next Step' and BOOM! WordPress is now installed!
Go ahead and click 'Log in to WordPress'.
YOU DID IT!
You have now completely finished setting up your first website and can get to the fun stuff - making it look awesome.
From now on, you'll have little interaction with Bluehost. Remember, they are like your landlord. They collect your rent, but mostly they leave you alone (unless you need help with something technical).
Most of your time on your website will be spent with your new best friend - WordPress.
Thanks to Bluehost, we now have a business name (domain) and our office (hosting) in the internet universe! Yay! We now have a legitimate website.
Our website is empty.
Don't worry, this is the process. You see, Bluehost only rents you the room. They are a landlord, not an interior designer.
Now you have to decorate.
That's what WordPress is for.
WordPress will give you a free hand in designing your new site. It helps decorate, and organize your entire website.
While it can come with a bit of a learning curve, WordPress is an absolute godsend. It has simplified the blogging process and currently powers nearly 30% of the world's most popular websites.
Now it's time to decorate. We do this in WordPress by picking a WordPress theme.
Coming soon - A Theme for Every Budget (And our #1 Pick!). In the meantime, you should probably start brushing up on your SEO here.
**Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase, Ditch Your Desk will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you**
City dweller. Noodle crusher. Obsessed with business growth and optimization - Aaron Radcliffe is Co-Founder of Ditch Your Desk.