How to Create a Small Business Website, Part 1

The purpose of this tutorial is to show small / medium business owners how to create a website without help of web developers. Most people, who just don’t know, are blown away by simplicity of this process. Tutorial may seem long but it actually isn’t. I added a lot of less than necessarily screenshots just to make sure that you don’t overpay in the process. Other than that, I will try my best to keep it as lean as possible, so nobody gets confused.

So our today’s mission is to

  • reserve website address (domain name), something like YourCompany.com;
  • get that hosted in a nice safe and cheap place;
  • install content management system that will allow you to add, edit, delete pages and images as you please. “Install” may sound scary but as you will see it’s a matter of one click.

As a result we will end up with simple yet functional website. Later we will work on content and customizing its look. We will also get professional email address something like you@yourwebsite.com and install contact form on your website. Let’s get started!

STEP 1

TIME REQUIRED: 3-5 minutes

This step is easy but I decided to make a lot of screenshots with comments because I don’t want you to pay more than you have to. I will show you what is absolutely necessary and will uncheck the rest. I will also offer you a 25 percent discount coupon. We are going to use Hostgator, one of my favorite web hosts.

Go to this link you will see this:

hostgator

Click on “View Web Hosting Plans” (as red arrows show).

You will see this:

hostgator signup

We are going to choose the cheapest plan (Hatchling plan). This plan allows you to have only one website but if you need more later you can always upgrade. Why pay more?

Click on “Order Now”, you will see this:

hostgator order form

1. Make sure “Register new domain is checked” and type in your desired domain like yourcompany.com. If .com version is not available use drop-down menu (left) to check availability of .net and .org version. If not available consider this:

  • add dashes like your-company.com (or .net or .org)
  • add additional word like “co”, “site”, “online” or your city like “london”, “nyc” etc.

If you own a bakery in London called Yes Sweetie! you could consider following domains

yessweetie.com
yessweetie.org
yessweetie.net

yes-sweetie.com (or .net or .org)

yessweetiebakery.com (or .net or .org)
yessweetieco.com (or .net or .org)
yessweetieonline.com (or .net or .org)

yessweetielondon.com (or .net or .org)
yes-sweetie-london.com (or .net or .org)
yessweetie-london.com (or .net or .org)

It doesn’t matter what you choose. It doesn’t affect the performance of your site. If you like it and think it’s ok to put on your business card or your ads in newspaper then go for it!

Once you find your desired domain a message will appear. It says:

Highly Recommended – Secure ownership of our most popular top level domains.

This is NOT necessary. You can buy these domains too, but in my experience this doesn’t make any difference and is generally waste of money. Just buy one domain that you are actually going to use.

2. Choose your billing cycle. Click on arrow in drop-down menu and see what options you have. You can pay monthly, or once per 6 months, or once per year, or once per two or three years. I will also give you coupon that will give you 25 percent discount. The longer is your billing cycle, the less you pay long term. But there is nothing wrong with paying monthly. You can cancel anytime and there is 45 days money back guarantee.

3. Chose your username and security pin, which is basically just numbers of your choosing.

4. Fill your billing information.

Now second part of the page…
Hostgator order 25 off coupon

5. All hosting addons like SiteLock, site backup and increasing search engine visibility are not necessary. I suggest that you uncheck them to avoid additional costs. If, for some reason, you prefer to have them keep it, but keep in mind that it will add additional $50 per year and discount is not applicable here.

6. Their default discount coupons give only 20 percent. If you want to get 25 percent discount delete their default coupon (SNAPPY in my case) and paste this one instead

webmasterdiary25off

Don’t forget to click “Validate” to apply discount.

Now review your order and complete the payment. You will receive email confirmation with your password and other important information. Usually site will be available immediately, so let’s go to the next step.

STEP 2

TIME REQUIRED: 3 minutes

Believe it or not, sometimes free is the best. We are going to install best content management system ever, it is called WordPress and it’s absolutely free.

Type into your browser this:

yourdomain.com/cpanel

Replace yourdomain.com with address that you just purchased. You will see a login form like this:

Hostgators cpanel login

Enter your username and password you found in Hostgator’s confirmation email. You will see something like this:

Scroll down and somewhere closer to the bottom under Softwares / Services you will find QuickInstall icon (see arrows). Click on that and next you will see this:

Choose “WordPress” from menu and follow instructions. A form will appear and you will have to fill it with your data. Here is example:

Please note that second field after slash is left blank. It should be that way. Make your password long and hard.

Click “Install” and follow through the end. Congratulations! We are done!

I will let you rest for a couple of days, but if you are curious you can login to your content management system by typing your browser

yoursite.com/wp-admin

Obviously, replace yoursite.com with your site’s address. You will see this:

wp admin

Enter username and password that you just created (the one for WordPress NOT the one you got from your host) and you will see your site administration area. Here you can work on design, create pages, blogs and do a lot of other interesting stuff. It is NOT how your site looks like to outside world, this area is only for you.

You can type in yoursite.com into the browser and see how your site looks like right now. It’s very basic and we will not keep it that way, but it’s a functional live website.

See you next time!

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Comments

  1. HI Elena,
    I intend to start a small website using a domain name purchased from godaddy. I also intend to use my Existing wordpress account, does your tutorial imply applying for a New wordpress account while installing it with the hostagator software?

    • No it will work for anything, it was meant for people who know nothing at all about building websites that’s why I concentrated so much on what type of account to buy. I am not sure what you mean by existing account though. It will work for any self hosted WordPress. The issue is I haven’t completed part two and am a little busy now, so this tutorial is incomplete at the moment.

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