How to start a website in 20 minutes
Starting a website is one of the best kept secrets for making money and passive income. Let's get you set up with your own WordPress blog today!I've been a website developer for more than 14 years, so I've learnt the easiest methods to get started as well as sourcing the best prices available.
Click here to open the setup page in a new window, then follow my quick and easy steps for total beginners.
You will have a live website and your own (free) domain name within 20 minutes, for less than the cost of a coffee a month.
5 reasons you need a website
- Worth it just for your CV and a professional email
- Generate passive income (make money in your sleep – keep reading)
- Gives you freedom to work from anywhere
- It's ridiculously easy and affordable (and fun)
- So my grandma doesn't show you up… here's what you're up against:
4 steps to start a WordPress website
WordPress is a free Content Management System (CMS) that allows anyone to make, design, write and manage their own website. The platform powers 25% of all websites (including CNN, NASA and this site!) and is totally beginner friendly.
WordPress needs to be installed on a web host. We'll be using Bluehost who have a 1-click install and also handle many other parts of starting and running a website for you. Their process is easy and costs next-to-nothing.
Choose and register a domain name
A domain name is what people type into their browser to view your website. savethestudent.org is a domain name. It's also used for email, such as [email protected]
There's a wide range of domain name extensions available, including .com, .org, .net, .info. .com is considered the best, but also the most popular so your preferred .com name may be registered already.
Registration typically costs £10 ($13) a year, but you can get yours free only with this link:
a. Click here to lock in the free domain name offer
b. Click “Get Started Now” and select the “Basic” plan for now
c. Type in your preferred domain name to check availability.
If your domain name is available, you'll see the “Create your account” page. Congrats! Continue to Step 2.
If it's not available, you'll be told to try another variation. Consider changing a word, using hyphens (-), adding a number or pick a different extension (such as .info).
Setup website hosting
Every website needs to be hosted. A web host is just a home for your site and its content (like a remote computer). The host then ‘serves' the website to visitors when they type in your domain name. It sounds much more technical than it is! In a few clicks you'll be set up and ready to start posting for the world to see.
There are hundreds of web hosts out there, but Bluehost is by far the best choice for beginners.
Why Bluehost? 6 main reasons:
1. Affordable (from $2.95pm)
2. Reliable (99.9% uptime)
3. Free domain name, email addresses & 1-click WordPress install
4. Brilliant support and training guides
5. 30 day full refund policy
6. Officially recommended by WordPress
Once you've found a domain name, simply continue to create your Bluehost account.
The “Basic” package is more than enough for most websites, and you can uncheck the other paid options for now if you don't want them.
To secure the super-low monthly price, you need to pay for at least one year ($71.28) but it's cheapest ($2.95pm) for three years ($127.44). It's ridiculously cheap for what you get.
There's no contract and Bluehost have a no-hassle 30 day full refund policy. Even if you want to cancel after that, you can get a refund for what you won't use!
Make the upfront payment using your normal card details or PayPal (click “more payment options”). Again, it'll be in USD but you don't need an American bank.
Installing WordPress on Bluehost
Technically your online presence is secured at this stage, but if anyone goes over to your site, there won't be much to see! That won't be for long though… you're about to install WordPress which allows you to easily manage your whole site, including content and design, without any technical background or coding experience.
WordPress is used by 80 million websites, including this website 🙂 It was first designed for blogs but even online stores and major news sites like CNN and MTV use it today.
Login to your Bluehost account, and from the Control Panel click “Install WordPress”.
After a couple of minutes you'll be able to login to the admin panel, and write your first post!
Choose your theme
If you go to view your site now, it'll look very basic and empty.
So go ahead and change the theme of your new site. Just click on “Appearance” > “Themes” and browse hundreds of free themes. When you find one you like, click “Preview” or “Install” to apply the theme with just a click!
How to get traffic to your new website
Once you've got your site set up, there's a whole world of opportunities to grow your website and even make some money from it.
Aside from publishing high quality content, the most important thing is to get eyeballs (traffic) on your website. Building social media pages and links to your new site should be your main focus. Not only do they directly send new visitors your way, but they're also the main indicators Google uses to rank websites. And Google traffic is the best kind of traffic!
How to make money from your website
Traffic can then be monetised in lots of ways. Sign up to Affiliate Window from day one. They are a huge affiliate network giving you instant access to thousands of online retailers and services who pay you a commission for any leads. It's just a case of copying a link across and including it within your content (or social media pages)!
For more of an insight into how websites generally make money, have a look at our guide to making money as a blogger.
Websites = Employability
Every student and graduate now has an online presence of some sort. Whether it's a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profile, you will have a whole network of footprints across the web.
But there's nothing like having your own website and your own personalised email address to really impress employers. 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 also makes you much easier to track down, and can even be considered an online platform to promote yourself.
Make sure you put the actual website that you have set up on your CV itself! And of course you can also use [email protected] as your professional looking email address. No more blushing when spelling out [email protected], either. Wins all round!
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 are looking for.
If you have any questions or want to share your own experiences, leave us a comment below or feel free to get in touch.