Musings of a twenty-something entrepreneur.
Jul
21

For anyone who is familiar with setting up a website, you can stop reading now as you won’t get much from this. Read this or this instead, if you want.

But for those of you who have never created a website, I’m here to correct the misconception that its difficult or that you have to be some kind of computer genius to do it.

The process of launching a startup goes through many stages, from the initial spark, to figuring out exactly what your business is going to do, to then getting it running and launching, marketing, sales, etc.

But it starts with a spark, and inevitably we’re drawn to coming up with a suitable name for our would-be venture, which is often limited by the availability of that name as a “.com”, or sometimes “.net”. In order to prevent that precious “.com” from being stolen in the interim, better to buy it well ahead of any intended launch date.

Assuming you’ve bought the domain, if you actually intend to go through with the project you’ll be talking with a lot of people about it. And you’ll talk with someone important about it, tell them the name, and there’s a decent chance that they’ll go ahead and look it up online. But if all they find is a “Not Available” screen when they go to your website, you’ll look unserious and lose some credibility.

The instructions and video below are for the simplest of websites, when you need to get a blog up and running, or more commonly (for me), when you want to set up a placeholder page before you’re actually ready to put up a real website.

So, here’s how to do it:

  1. Buy a hosting account. I use and love Bluehost, which is $7 a month and allows you to host unlimited domains. For example, right now I have 20 domains hosted on Bluehost, but I pay just $7 a month for it. Also, Bluehost has great support, with 24/7 live chat with support, which I’ve used many times when I’ve been stumped or don’t understand how to do something. The last point is that Bluehost, as well as some others, have a one-click WordPress install button, which allows to create a website in just a few minutes. (Full disclosure: If you click on the Bluehost link, I get a referral fee. There are other options too, but I can’t vouch for them personally. Other options include Dreamhost, Hostgator, etc. Whatever you do, DON’T use GoDaddy. All you need to know is that GoDaddy is a pain in the ass.)
  2. Purchase the domain. I said to get a hosting provider first buying the domain you want through your hosting provider (e.g. buying the domain using Bluehost) will save you a couple of steps that can be confusing if you haven’t done this before (like changing CName, DNS, and MX record entries.)
  3. Assign the domain to your account. “Assigning” the domain is basically saying “I own this domain and I want it hosted on my Bluehost account.”  This is easy. Just go to your Domain Manager, click on the domain you just bought, and there will be an easily visible option to “Assign” it to your account. You have to do this because owning a website name and having it hosted on a server are two different things.
  4. Install WordPress. One reason I recommend Bluehost is that there’s a on the front page once you sign in that installs WordPress for you. So just click the “WordPress” button on your control panel and follow the instructions. If you don’t use this option, you have to jump through a lot of hoops to install the proper files on your server (and do things like set up user permissions, create a new database, etc.)
  5. Once WordPress is installed, then you just need to use WordPress to edit the content of the page. So, you would upload a header image with your logo, remove widgets that don’t make sense for you (like Archives, Recent Posts, etc., since all you want is basic info on the homepage). Edit the first post to say “Coming Soon”, and then you’re done. You’ve got a website up and running that can serve your purpose during the earliest stages of your project while you’re still developing the actual website and content that be up as you approach launch and once you do launch.

To show you how easy it is, I’ve also created a video where I create a placeholder website in less than four minutes. The instructions above should suffice, but maybe some of you will find this video useful.

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About jesse:

"I move Onward, the only direction. Can't be scared to fail- searching perfection... Loiterers should be arrested!" -Jay Z Find out more about me at www.JesseMaddox.com

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11 Responses to “From Zero to Website in Under Four Minutes”

 
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