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Make Money

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!
start wordpress website

Disclosure: Some links are affiliated so we may earn commission on referring you to a service. There's no extra cost to you, but does support our site and could entitle you to exclusive offers.

I've been a website developer for more than 14 years, so I've learnt the easiest methods for starting a new website and sourcing the best prices available.

Follow my quick and easy steps for total beginners and you will have a live website and your own (free) domain name within 20 minutes, for less than the cost of a coffee each month!

After creating your website, I'll share my best 5 hacks for getting traffic and 20 ways to make money from a blog. 🙂

It may help you to open the setup page in a new window before we kick off.

You do NOT need to hire a web developer! Anybody can start their own website. Even my 82 year-old Grandma is a webmaster for her village's museum website.

5 reasons to create a website

  1. Worth it just for your résumé and a professional email address
  2. Generate passive income (make money in your sleep - keep reading)
  3. Gives you freedom to work from anywhere
  4. It's ridiculously easy and affordable (and fun)
  5. So my grandma doesn't show you up... here's what you're up against:
website example

Grandma's WordPress site.

Get My FREE Email Course!

How to start a successful blog, inc. 20 ways to monetise your site from day one!
You'll also be invited to join my Private Facebook Group to ask me anything.


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What makes a website?

There are 4 parts to creating a website: domain name, hosting, content management and design.

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.

WordPress BluehostWordPress is a free Content Management System (CMS) that sits on your web host. It's a bit like the operating system for your computer, and allows anyone to make, design, write and manage their own website without knowing any code. The platform powers 25% of all websites (including CNN, NASA and this site!) and is totally beginner friendly.

Confused? Don't be! We'll be using Bluehost who take care of everything from the domain name to design templates. The best thing is their 1-click install for WordPress, so you'll be set up and ready to start posting for the world to see in no time! 😀

I contacted Bluehost and negotiated a special 60% off discount, plus a free domain name for you. Woohoo! We receive compensation by partnering with them, but we'd still recommend them anyway!

Why Bluehost? 6 main reasons:

1. Affordable (from £3pm)
2. Reliable (99.9% uptime)
3. Free domain name, email addresses & 1-click WordPress install
4. Brilliant 24/7 support and training guides
5. 30 day full refund policy
6. Officially recommended by WordPress

4 steps to start a WordPress website

  1. 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, .biz.

    Registration typically costs £9 ($12) 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.

    check domain name

    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 (wordhippo.com is handy), using hyphens (-), adding a number or pick a different extension.

Don't stress if you can't think of the right domain name now. You can click the "Choose Later" link at the bottom. Names often pop into my head as I build my sites, and it's also easy to move an existing website to a new domain. Today is about getting the site live!
  1. Setup website hosting

    The "Basic" package is more than enough for most new websites, and you can uncheck the other paid options for now if you don't want them.

    bluehost package

    Cost of the Basic 12 month plan.

    To secure the super-low monthly price, you need to pay for at least one year (£44.79) but it's cheapest (£2.22pm) for three years. 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").

    20 Ways to Make Money from a Website

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  2. Choose a WordPress theme

    Now you'll be asked to choose the initial theme design for your new site!

    I recommend selecting "Ocean WP" because it's free and versatile for any kind of site (even e-commerce). You can always change it later if you like.

    Hover over the panel and then click "Use this theme". It can take a few minutes to be applied.

    wordpress themes

    In the meantime, check your email inbox to verify your account, activate your domain name and get details for accessing your control panel.

    If you go to view your site now, it'll likely show a holding page as your website can take a few hours to go live across the internet.

    This is a good chance to start exploring WordPress and perhaps even write some content!

  3. Add some content

    On your Bluehost control panel click "Login to the WordPress" to get going.

    WordPress makes it easy to start writing content that looks great. Clicking on "Posts" > "Add New" will open up the editor window, which allows you to build, format and write your post without any need for code.

    Wordpress admin editor

    WordPress Admin Panel - Free with Bluehost

    Once you have a couple of articles published on your website's topic, there are endless opportunities to start growing your audience and even make some money!

    To learn more about what you can do with WordPress and how to use it, read First Steps with WordPress. You can also reach out to Bluehost support 24/7.

A well designed logo will do wonders for your website (and social media). Have a browse of these Fiverr gigs to get one for just a couple of quid.

5 ways to get traffic today!

Aside from publishing high quality content, the most important thing is to get visitors (traffic) to your website. How do you get visitors to your website? Here are some practical ideas to get you off the mark right away!

  1. Post on Twitter using hashtags

    twitter

    Twitter is an awesome marketing tool for website owners. One of the best ways to get your content noticed is to use hashtags relevant to your audience.

    A handy free tool like Hashtagify allows you to search for hashtags you’re considering using and view popular related hashtags.

    From these results, you can find well-known hashtags to add to your tweets – just be careful not to use too many tags. Two to three are best to avoid looking spammy!

    If you don’t have time to spend on Twitter, consider using TweetDeck to schedule and plan your social media content for the week ahead.

  2. Share links on Facebook groups

    facebook groups logo

    There is likely to be at least one active Facebook group related to your topic (use the search field on Facebook). And because they are already focused on a niche, they are a powerful way to build a loyal audience and traffic quickly!

    Many groups offer ways to share your content with others, for example, posting links on particular days. If you’re sharing your content, it’s important to be authentic by creating conversation with other members and never just spamming.

    Feel free to share your website on my Starting a Website Facebook group.

    I also recommend creating your own Facebook group to complement your website. It means you have full control over it, and you'll soon attract new members searching for the topics you cover!

  3. Join Pinterest groups

    pinterest logo

    Pinterest is one of the most underrated methods of growing your blog traffic. Engaging with other users is guaranteed to boost your website hits, providing you use the right strategy.

    A Pinterest group board is one with several contributors and it normally has a small two-person icon in bottom right hand corner. Group boards tend to have more followers than regular boards, meaning more people will re-pin your content and visit your site.

    To find groups boards in your niche, take a look at PinGroupie. This free tool reveals how many subscribers and re-pins a board has. If you want to join a group board, you’ll usually need to email the Pinterest account holder to get an invite to pin on that board.

  4. Comment on well-known blogs in your niche

    google alerts

    While commenting on popular blogs in your niche may seem like an exhausting exercise, it’s still one of the most effective methods for getting traffic to your site.

    Instead of spamming other blogs with your website URL, craft thoughtful comments related to the blog content and leave your site link as a by-line – this is a genuine way of attracting new readers to your website.

    Set up Google Alerts for related phrases to be emailed to you when blogs post on a topic you can comment on!

  5. Facebook Ads

    Despite it being a form of paid traffic, Facebook Ads is insanely effective at building you an audience in literally no time. When you create an advert on Facebook, you're able to hone in to reach a very, very specific demographic.

    For example, at Save the Student we could target ads towards Facebook users who are at university, live in Manchester, are interested in doughnuts and are single.

    facebook ad example

    Facebook Ad targeting

    You can start with as little as $10, but I appreciate most new bloggers aren't in a position to spend right away (unless you're already monetising your site), so this is just something to keep in mind!

Click here to join my Private Facebook Group for new webmasters. Share your website and connect with others!

Generally 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 search engines like Google use to rank websites (SEO). And free Google traffic is the best kind of traffic. 😉

How to make money from your website

Once you have some kind of traffic, your website can then be monetised in dozens of ways!

The most lucrative opportunities for new bloggers to make money tend to be:

  • Sponsored articles
  • Google AdSense
  • Product reviews
  • Consultancy (or freelance work)
  • Email marketing
  • Affiliate marketing (the big one!)

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is earning commission from a company for promoting an online product or service to your website visitors. The retailer or merchant provides you with a unique link that will track any sales which originate from you. The link could be placed within a relevant article, an email or on social media.

what is affiliate marketing

This is now a huge industry in itself, which is unsurprising when you consider how many e-commerce websites there are today!

But don't get overwhelmed by the scale of the opportunities yet!

Sign up to Affiliate Window from day one. They are an established and large 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 the link across and including it within your content!

Get My FREE Email Course!

How to start a successful blog, inc. 20 ways to monetise your site from day one!
You'll also be invited to join my Private Facebook Group to ask me anything.


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For more of an insight into how websites generally make money, have a look at our guides on making money as a blogger and passive income.

Take action

creating a website

I started my first site way back in 2002, it wasn't pretty, but honestly it was the best decision I ever made. It ultimately led me to found STS in 2007 and kick-started my career (read about my 10 year journey).

Every week I come across more and more bloggers who have quit their 9-5 job and are making a living from blogging.

Obviously this doesn't happen overnight, but you have to start and take the first step.

That's why I wrote this guide to starting a website, and thankfully today it's MUCH easier to get a site live. You don't need to know a thing about coding or servers - as my own grandma has proven! - thanks to Bluehost and WordPress.

If you still haven't created your Bluehost account, click here to take advantage of the limited discount and free domain name.

Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below or in my Private Facebook Group. And finally don't forget to join my free mailing list for more tips and tricks!

Comments

Deon Christie

Blue Host is also my personal favorite. Allow me to add the importance of first discovering your profitable niche and target keywords. Yoast SEO is also a crucial part of actually getting your blog to rank in Google.

Simon Bryson

Hi,
In need of a break financially (didn't even make tax threshold last year) but find that along with my existing work I do have a lot of free time and have always considered starting a website to generate some extra cash. Never looked at affiliate marketing although am very well up on google ads. Don't know how easy these two systems are to implement using WordPress and I'm guessing it isn't viable to be doing both on the website at the same time. Great website you guys have and the offer on bluehost seems really good, is there any genuine opportunity here to make some cash?

Jake Butler

Hi Simon, there definitely is potential here and you can run both ads and affiliate marketing if you want to. The main issue with both is that they obviously depend on volume. The focus is more on generating traffic to your site.

Louisa

It's asking me to provide a VAT registration number, which I don't have. Is there a way around this? Or should I go to another service?

Save the Student

Hi Louise,

Just select "Personal" and leave the VAT number blank 🙂

Conor

Hi Owen,

This is great! Thanks for the help.

I'm trying to start a page but don't quite understand the "Personal", "Business" or "Charity" options when selecting the VAT information. And for that matter, I don't know what the VAT Registration Number is!

I was wondering if you had any idea what each option means, and what to select if I'm looking to make a little extra money (like in your 40 ways guide).

Thanks,
Conor

Save the Student

Hey Conor,

Just select "Personal" and leave the VAT number blank as I assume you don't have one 🙂

Joe

Hi, I've just set up my blog with wordpress and Bluehost and I've tried to add Google Adsense but I don't know how. Can you help?

Save the Student

Congratulations Joe!

Once you've setup your Adsense account (https://www.google.com/adse... you might want to install a free plugin to easily add the adverts to your site, here's a popular one: https://en-gb.wordpress.org...

Seth Carnett

Ah how refreshing. I favor wordpress!

Beth

Hi! This is a really interesting article. Is it possible to make money off a free website made on weebly, for example? Or wix?
Thanks for your help!
Beth 🙂

Owen Burek

Thanks Beth 🙂

Well yes, but seriously stay away from free platforms, for lots of reasons. For example you will never rank in Google or have full control over your own site.

It's also extremely hard to get readers to trust and invest time in your site if it's obvious you don't care enough yourself to get a proper domain/site.

Go with WordPress and pay a little in setting up your hosting to do your site and content justice!

chandu

Hi there,

Thank you for the above advice I am a second year Psychology student and have recently been researching affiliate marketing. Do you have any further advice or guidance on this.

I gather I would follow the above steps and then go on from there?

Oh I must add I am NOT a internet whizz kid….

Thanks in advance
Chandu

Owen Burek

I'm hoping to put together a guide to affiliate marketing soon as it's a whole other beast.

I would recommend you start with one network (like Affiliate Window), pick no more than 3 brands you think will work with your audience/content and really work hard at creating content that would complement them, and then driving traffic. Twitter is a good start as you can engage with other sites and people in your niche.

TLDR: start small, test, then grow slowly!

Jake Butler

Hi Chandu, you're taking the first steps which is good. After reading this guide and setting up your website I would suggest heading to Google and doing some research on how to take your site to the next level and work with affiliate marketing.

Rebekah

Hi Owen,

Thanks for this helpful article - I have recently purchased a domain name for a review website that I would like to launch one day, but assumed I would need a web developer to build this as it is more complex than most websites.

I was just wondering if you agreed or if it would be possible to set this up myself, as I would certainly consider this.

Thanks in advance,

Rebekah

Owen Burek

Nope, I would definitely go with WordPress and get a prebuilt review theme from Theme Forest (might cost $100) that you just install and comes with all the settings you'd want.

Most people think WordPress is just for bloggers, but today there are lots of shops and more complex sites using it as a base to build on!

rishav

Hey how i can make money if my website is a free to read website like yours........please mention the steps

Avik Mondal

hi..thanks for the helpful site..that is so cool

Kerry

Hi there,

Thank you for the above advice I am a second year Psychology student and have recently been researching affiliate marketing. Do you have any further advice or guidance on this.

I gather I would follow the above steps and then go on from there?

Oh I must add I am NOT a internet whizz kid....

Thanks in advance
Kerry

Jake Butler

Hi Kerry, it's all about learning as you go. Start with the advice above. When you get stuck or want to learn more just search for extra advice and you'll find loads of it.

Katie Cooney

Hi Owen,

would like to thankyou for your 'easy read' guide!
I have contemplated with an idea for a website for a while now and your 'go for it' attitude has certainly given me drive to start with the set up. Will definately search for more of your info and guides along the way

Many Thanks
Katie

Josh

Hi Owen,

Apologies for this question being slightly off topic. But i had a query regarding email address with providers.

I have an account with Yahoo, but I would much prefer to use a physical program for emails (as Mac Mail / Windows Outlook etc). How can I remove all my correspondence from the Yahoo mail website to a program; or simply is there a way that I can completely cut out the website and use the program as per usual (like the old 2008 Microsoft Outlook programs). I feel that this is my only obstacle in starting up my own website.

Many thanks,
Joshua

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