4 steps to creating your own website
Having your own blog or website is one of the best kept secrets of impressing a potential employer. STS founder, Owen, shows you how to set one up for yourself.I have been a website developer for over 14 years and I go through the process of setting up websites all the time. With this experience I have been able to learn the best methods and source the best prices out there.
Today setting up your online pad is as easy and as affordable as ever. If you follow my own dead easy simple steps you can be up and running easily within 30 minutes for less than £30.
I have gone through the steps below with many graduate friends, and they have all benefited from an employer’s raised eyebrows when applying for jobs. Most of the sites don’t even have much on them, the domain name or email address alone can be enough to impress.
Aside from actually landing a great job, setting up your own website will be the best thing you have done for a long time.
So here’s the key to the best kept secret most students and graduates have not even thought of…
4 basic steps to create your website
The core ingredients you will need are a domain name (ie. myname.co.uk), an email address (easy to set up with your domain name registrar), a website host (someone who stores your website’s files on a server) and optionally a free platform called WordPress (helps you manage your website without having to know any HTML etc).
Choosing and registering a domain name
As you probably know there are a range of domain name extensions available. The most common for the UK are .com and .co.uk. It’s your choice which you go for, assuming that the domain name you want is still available.
.com domain name
Cheapest Registrar: GoDaddy.com
Price: ~£7.35 per year
Notes: Select GBP from top right to pay in £
.co.uk domain name
Cheapest Registrar: 123-Reg.co.uk
Price: ~£2.99 per year
Notes: Minimum 2 years, exc. VAT
Setting up your personalised email address
The easiest way to create your email address under your new domain name is to do it with your registrar from step 1.
Once you login there will be an option to set up email addresses which you can then hook up with your usual email client (eg. Hotmail, GMail, Outlook).
There are loads of guides out there on doing this, so I’ll leave this to Google for now.
To upload content onto your domain name you will need a bit of server space (just like storing files on your computer). There are hundreds of web hosts out there now, and you could spend forever looking.
Top website host: GoDaddy
Price: From £2.99 per month
You will then just need to point your domain name to the server by setting the “Nameservers”, which will be provided by your web host. If you need any help in getting things sorted, never hesitate to get in touch with the hosts as their support teams are usually very good.
Technically your online presence is secured, but if anyone goes to www.yoursite.com there won’t be much to see! The quickest way to get something on the site is to install the incredibly popular and free piece of kit called WordPress.
If you have gone with GoDaddy they have a very simple system in place which allows you to install WordPress through them.
Otherwise it is a case of downloading WordPress, unzipping the files and uploading it to your server via a FTP client (I use FileZilla). Again, there’s loads of stuff on this process, WordPress Docs are a great start.
Once you’ve set up your site there’s a whole world of opportunities to grow your website and even make some money from it. In the coming weeks I will be working on guides teaching you how to apply themes to your WordPress site and how to go about monetising what you’re doing online. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss out!
In the meantime, you could sign up for Affiliate Window, a popular affiliate network for promoting products and services for commission.
Perhaps more importantly, we will be looking on the best ways to get eyeballs (traffic) on your website by exploring search engine optimisation (SEO) and link building.
Websites = Employability
Pretty much every student and graduate now has an online presence of some sort. Whether it’s a Facebook or Twitter profile, an account on a forum or even just a humble free email address, you will have a whole network of footprints across the web.
But there’s nothing like having your own website and your own email address. It can be a bit of a novelty, but having your CV or portfolio at myownwebsite.com really makes you stand out from the crowd.
A website makes you easier to find and allows you to promote yourself.
Heck, put the actual website that you have set up on your CV itself! And of course you can also use email@example.com as your professional looking email address. No more blushing when spelling out firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registering a domain name, creating your own website and personalising your email address gives you an identity and explicitly demonstrates that you have certain skills which employers crave.
If you have any questions or want to share your own experiences, please do comment below.