Your niche is done. We’ve covered that earlier. You’re now raring to go and you want to put some serious pedal to the metal and carve out some shapes on your writing pad. You want to know how to start a website. How to begin. Awesome. Writing is my favourite part of the game. I feel at one with the page, I’ve been doing this for so long that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to start from the beginning; the excitement, the naivety. Ah, how I envy you.
Personally, I’d start with WordPress. It’s free, easy to use, great for beginners and technophobes, and people will discover your content far easier than if you took the paid option. Trust me, I know this through experience. With the free version you don’t need to worry about optimising your content for search engines and the likes. But alas, you will at some point have to use a paid option in your travels, especially if you would like to make some serious money from your blog. But I’d personally go with the free option to begin with. It’s what I did at the start. Think about optimisation and marketing much later.
If you’re serious about how to start a website then I suggest you have a good look at some of the other alternatives out there too. WordPress isn’t the only option as far as I’m aware of. It’s down to a personal choice. I absolutely loathe Google’s blogger platform yet there are people that swear by it. There is no better or worse, only different functions that work for better for different people.
Here are a few options for you to try
- Medium – One of my ‘other’ favourites. Quite a big community here
- Tumblr – widely used, and millions of people use this too!
- Wix – My first ever website was made by Wix
- Weebly – My second was Weebly
- Blogger – I’m not a fan, but many people are.
It may also be worth noting that content and functionality tops aesthetics any day. I’ve been to some of the most awe inspiring websites that really have you searching deep in your soul, but the website and graphics look terrible. As long as a website is easy to navigate and readable then I’d choose a platform that best suits your needs rather than what you think anyone else will think about how it looks. Aesthetics helps, but it’s not crucial when you’re wondering how to start a website.
Terminology – what everything means
If you’re new to this game then it’s probably going to be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the terminologies of the blogging platform that you’re going to use. I’ll give you a few tips. These are a great advantage to know about if you want to know how to create a website.
A post is exactly what this is. Adding a new post is basically writing an article on your preferred topic for your website. Websites or blogs typically have hundreds of posts, or what I mean to say is that as a writer you will be mainly concentrating on your posts, and this is typically what a reader would land on whether they came from social media or a search engine.
Think of a page more of an indexing tool or a landing page. Typically pages can be used to seperate categories of posts. For example I have one page dedicated to dating & relationships, and on that page I have links to my most popular topics from that category. It’s so that the reader can have a more seamless experience. It can also be an entirely seperate piece from your main theme, like an ‘about me’, or ‘contact’ page. I write about a few different topics so I like to divide my content up for my readers, otherwise it would confuse them. Some authors don’t need that much, and just have an ‘about me’ or ‘contact’ page. Pages are really important to get your head around when you’re wondering how to start up a website, because they can be the difference between people staying on your website for more, to reading one post and then leaving.
Think of a category as a way to easily divide your content up. So for example if I was to write a post on ‘cheating men’ on Monday and ‘men that love with all their hearts’ on Tuesday, then I can easily seperate them into two categories. ‘Infidelity’ for Monday’s post and ‘love’ for Tuesday’s post. That way I can seperate the posts if need be, and have them in their own relevant sections on pages and in lists if need be.
Tags are more for the viewer experience. When I started I would tag like a rabbid dog, but then I learned that too much tagging can confuse search engines and make it harder to index my site. So I stopped tagging my posts. But that’s just me. You can tag, just don’t do it too much. Tagging posts are for when a user uses your search bar functionality on your site (usually on the top right corner). If they were to search for ‘how men think’ and I had tagged a few posts with that phrase, then my blog would list them. If I hadn’t tageed any posts, then it would return post titles for the reader. Tagging is a neat way to help the reader search for what they want.
This is where all your pictures and videos are wrapped up in a neat little bundle for you to use at any point. Anytime you want to use a picture, just hit the ‘add media’ button and upload it to your site. That way you can use that picture anywhere, at anytime, and however many times you wish to. I also recommend that if you want to create your own videos, that you use a popular video hosting system like YouTube and link the videos to your website. It saves bandwidth, storage space and a lot of heartache wondering why your website is moving so slow. More on that later. When you’re trying to figure out how to start a website at the beginning, it’s also great to understand how important pictures and videos will be. If you look at Facebook, people engage most with videos and pictures.
How to start a website – Themes
The great thing with wordpress is that themes are so easy to install, and use, and gives you that competitive edge over others if you have the eye for functionality or detail. I’d personally recommend starting off with a free theme from the wordpress repository. You can find this if you hover over Appearance > Themes. You can search a whole range of free wordpress themes by just clicking ‘add new’ on the top right.
I went about it all back to front when I first started out wondering how to start a website. Don’t make the same mistake I did and go all out and buy a big expensive theme. That’s a lot of money to be using at the start with nothing to show for it. Grow your blog and then think about splashing out on it, and not the other way around. What can I say? I’m compulsive and like to jump in feet first! I learned the hard way. Hopefully this website will make the journey easier for you. And you’ll not be worrying to much about how to start a website. I’m trying to make this more seamless for you.
Themes for me were quite confusing at first. I always picked the theme that I liked best, which almost always was a theme for a photographer. I like lovely, wide shots, and beautiful graphic sliders to showcase these. Yet I learned slowly that this wasn’t the best idea because my intention was to write to people and not showcase lovely photos. Even worse that I had no photos to showcase.
Always think functionality and how best the theme will fit/meet your needs. But you do need to like it though!
If you don’t agree with my advice and want to go all out and splash some of your well earned money on some really nice themes, because I’ll give them that, they are nice, then here are a few good places to start searching.
- Themeforest – Probably one of the best and largest resources for Premium wordpress themes
- Elegant Themes – Great selection of WordPress themes in here
- Colorlib – Another great library
- Creative Market – I’m not familiar with this one but it seems to have a great selection
At the end of the day
Whatever I say won’t matter in the end. Whatever works for me won’t necessarily work for you in the setting up of things. I just hope I’ve given you enough options to get started in your venture. If you’re still wondering how to start a website after reading this post then I would suggest just going out and trying it for yourself. Pick a place and write your thoughts and feelings down. There’s no harm in that.
Most of my experience comes from trying and testing platforms out. I tried them all early, before there was an expanse of options like there is now. If it were me I’d just go out see what I was most comfortable with using and roll with that. There’s no right or wrong way to start up a website. Only one that works for you and one that doesn’t.