I think most (if not all) bloggers have always wanted to have their own website. It’s like having your own home on the internet, where no one can control you but you. For me, it has been what I’ve always wanted since circa 2009. I’m not sure why I only acted upon it now but at least I did anyway.
It was a very random day, and I couldn’t stop thinking about going back to blogging. So while at work, I paid a domain registrar and set up my blog in less than 24 hours! Now let it be known that my journey was no walk in the park! Almost everything was self-taught and if it weren’t for Google search, I wouldn’t have gone this far.
Now that my site is very much ready to go live, I want to share with you the steps on how to create your own website. Before I start the walkthrough, let’s address some questions you guys may have:
- What’s the main difference between registering on blogging platforms & owning a website?
– Just to clear the air, registering on Tumblr, WordPress.com, or Blogger is okay. I guess the main catch there is that you won’t be able to really customize your site. Getting a website of your own gives you that freedom and will give you your own URL without putting another site’s name on it.
- How much would it cost to create one?
– It really depends on where you get it from. I’ll give you the names of the domain registrars later. 😉
- .com, .net, .org, or .co?
– I chose .com because a bigger fraction of people will remember my website more easily. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better than the others, though. Aside from making your visitors remember your URL, they don’t really have much difference anyway. Although I suggest you just choose between .com & .net for better search engine optimization.
Now that we’ve got those things covered, let’s get started!
1. Find a domain registrar
This is where Google will come in handy. I spent hours trying to look for a good domain provider and let me tell you this, it’s hard to find one with a certain price range in mind. What made it harder for me was there were some that would offer a low price per month, but they would bill you annually. Yikes.
To spare you from all the research, below are some popular domain providers and their prices:
- Namecheap− This is what I’m using right now.
₱41 – ₱605/year, depending on your domain (e.g. com, net, org). Take note that this is only for buying a domain.
₱53.64/year. Save up to 67% off when you buy 3 domains!
₱3,540/year. It’s actually ₱295/mo. but it’s a yearly charge. It’s pricey, but for a good reason.
₱2,226.52 – ₱8,427/year, depending on the plan you choose.
Things to look for in a domain registrar:
—It should offer a CPanel (Control Panel). This will help you create email accounts under your domain, and link your site to Wordpress through Softaculous. It’s important to check this prior to purchasing anything. I made a mistake of being trigger-happy, so I ended up paying more because CPanel wasn’t initially included in my order (just around 500 bucks more, but still). You see, without Control Panel, it may be tricky for you to link your website to a blog because not all domain registrars are for blogging. This also explains why some domain providers cost more than the others.
—At least look for one with a money-back guarantee. You know, just in case.
2. Choose a blogging site
I first thought that once you get a domain, you’re already good. I thought wrong. Naturally, you’ll have to have your website powered by a blogging site like Tumblr, Blogger, and the likes. It’s really up to you to choose because all of the sites out there have pros and cons, but it all boils down to what you’re going to be comfortable using. Here are some of the sites that I recommend:
It’s very different from WordPress.com because .org is for shared hosting while the latter is for free blogging. I didn’t understand how the .org works at first so when I tried to link my domain to the .com site, it tried charging me. I did NOT want to pay more, so I did more research. LOL.
Anyway, this is what I’m using. It’s better-looking compared to Blogger. You got that right, I didn’t use Blogger only because of its appearance. It just wouldn’t work for me. Wordpress has a very good & distraction-free admin site and you can customize just about anything. Most blogs with great themes come from WordPress too, so that’s something to think about.
Tumblr had been my home ever since I started. It’s very user-friendly and fun to use because you’ll get inspirations from other bloggers as your dashboard will be all about them. Tumblr users can even like and reblog your posts!
The only downside that I can see is you won’t get that sense of ownership because when somebody logged in to Tumblr goes to your site, they will see that Tumblr logo on it. If you’re not as picky as I am, you may be better off using this. It’s very, very good for starters.
I almost chose this over WordPress.org. It has the simplicity of Tumblr & the customizability of WordPress. When you post something, be it an entry or a page, you’ll get a WYSIWYG interface so you can easily preview your work. You don’t even need to have knowledge about HTML or CSS because the site itself will guide you through that.
Now, why didn’t I choose this. Well, just like WordPress.com, it will ask you to pay a certain fee. It has a trial period, yes, but they’ll charge you after.
I would suggest you use Squarespace if you have not done Step 1 yet. They offer domain registration, too! You pay both that and their service all in one go. I already had my own domain so this kind of turned me away. It was sad because I was already starting to love Squarespace.
Once you’ve set everything up, you’re now off to making your site look presentable. Depending on what you selected on Step 2, there are themes you can choose from. All you need to do is to google. There are a lot of free & paid themes out there.
Things to consider:
- Theme Layout — Is it going to be a full-width page, or a page with a sidebar (like mine)?
- Theme Header — If you can design on your own, that would be fantastic. As for my header, I had to ask help from the awesome artists on Etsy. I also have a friend who’s very good in doodling stuff. Sometimes, connections are important. Hahaha!
- Favicon — A favicon is the image you & your visitors will see on a browser’s tab. It’s sort of like your mini logo that will represent your site. You can use any photos you already have and just convert them into an .ico file using this tool (click here).
- Social media widgets — It’s important to show your visitors your social media sites so that they can learn more about you. What better way to do that than by embedding your content from Twitter or Instagram on your blog?
Takeaways from this whole experience
- It’s good to have CSS or HTML knowledge. You’ll never know when you’ll need it. I was very good with codes back then but I was on hiatus for so long, it brought me back to square one.
- Ask for help from your domain provider. I’ve never experienced being let down by mine, and they’ve taught me a lot— from exporting my old entries down to creating my email addresses.
- When in doubt, google.
I sure hope this helps you create your own sites in the future! I just thought about all the things I had challenges with off the top of my head, and typed it all away. So if you have any questions and/or additional tips, leave ’em below!