Top Tips: How To Setup Your Own Website Like a Pro

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how to set up my own website
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How do you set up your own website? It's likely the number one question from those just warming up to the idea of having a site. An online website builder streamlines the procedure but can feel restrictive to some users.

Those looking for a more functional site should consider using a Content Management System. It requires more involvement, but the payoff is worth it. Let's take a look at the step-by-step breakdown of setting up your own website.

Why Set Up Your Own Website With A CMS?

Using a website builder will get you a site that works, no doubt. Building with a CMS, though, will allow for a site with more individuality. There are solid reasons CMS is the way to go:

In some cases, you'll be able to create an impressive site without the HTML background. CMS websites allow for WYSIWYG editing, so you'll be able to make edits quickly and on your own. If you need to redesign the site, you can do that without a complete site overhaul.

Want to start your own site? Check out my step-by-step tutorial on how to start a blog.

You can integrate components to make your website better. These range from skins to enhance the appearance to add-ons that add new functionality. CMS have large communities, so new add-ons are often developed and updated.

Among these tools are plugins that aid with SEO and keyword implementation. There are also plugins to enhance readability and the flow of your posts. You'll see improvements in your content with the right configuration.

You can also use CMS to schedule site tasks, uploads, and a host of other functions. CMS helps improve the effectiveness with which you manage your site.

The large CMS user base also means that they are consistently tested for vulnerabilities. You'll benefit from regular security updates designed to protect your site from attacks.

In short, CMS makes your site cost-effective, accessible, user-friendly, and secure.

How To Setup Your Own Website In 4 Steps

Choose Your CMS

Your first is to choose which CMS you want to use for your site. You've got options. Three popular ones are: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.

There are plenty of experts that will tell you to go with WordPress no matter what. They'll even back the claim up with usage statistics showing how superior WordPress is. We'll take a more balanced approach, and look at what all three have to offer.

WordPress

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As we mentioned, WordPress is the most popular CMS out there. They've got about half of the CMS market on lockdown. It's the first choice for many because of its ease-of-use.

In installs into most hosting services with but a few clicks. No HTML or PHP required to design a site either. Just choose your template, then plug in info to your heart's content.

Speaking of templates, WordPress certainly has a good number of them. Some are free; some require a fee. With thousands to choose from, though, there's a choice for just about every creator.

WordPress has expansive customization options by way of plugins. It also has a robust user community with tips, tricks, and general advice to provide to new users. Check out the forum to see how active they are.

To top it all off, WordPress is free. Some of the plugins or themes might cost something, but overall the service costs nothing to use.

WordPress has its downsides, though. Most notably, all of those choices it offers. Having a lot of plugins and themes means there's a lot of low-quality material to sift through. Some beginners can feel overwhelmed trying to find the right ones to use on their site.

Drupal

This is the most powerful of the three options. If you have the expertise, you'll be able to create the most functional sites with Drupal. At the minimum, you'll need a knowledge of HTML and PHP to use Drupal to its full potential.

Drupal is free, and pages load faster than WordPress or Joomla pages. You can also tweak all the elements of your pages to your exact specification, provided you know how.

This is Drupal's greatest drawback. The steep learning curve keeps many a beginner far away from this powerful software.

Joomla

You can look at Joomla as the median between WordPress and Drupal. It's powerful but doesn't require as much technical know-how as Drupal. There are plenty of themes to choose from, and a wide range of customization options.

Like the other services, it's (mostly) free, and offers plenty of support for newbies. The downside is that some of Joomla's plugins cost money, and have compatibility issues.

Find A Domain

setting up your own website
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Once you've selected your ideal CMS, it's time to lay the groundwork. You need to find a domain name. A domain identifies your site and allows potential visitors to get to you online.

Selecting a domain name can be a lengthy process. If you want to take time brainstorming a very specific and descriptive site name on your own. You should follow some of the domain name basics if this is your preferred route.

Coming up with a name can also be a quick process if you decide to go with a domain generator. Just punch in a few keywords and select from the options you receive.

You could also marry the two approaches. Use a generator to give you direction, then tweak your options until you have the perfect name. Just make sure the name isn't already taken.

Select A Host

Now that you have your perfect domain name, you have to select a host to store your site on the internet. Like with selecting a CMS, you have your options. Opinions vary, though, most will tell you to avoid GoDaddy if you want quality.

You might be better served with doing some research into who the best blog hosting sites are for your needs.

There's list upon list with the most important web host attributes. Familiarize yourself with the basics, then do your homework. You should also investigate what other customers think of a web host.

Glowing positive reviews from multiple sources usually indicates they're doing something right. If you run across repeated horror stories, though, you might want to be wary of the host.

Build Your Site

Now it's time to create your site. Most hosts have a 1-click installation process for CMS integration. If they don't, however, you'll have to take steps to install your choice of CMS manually.

No worries, there are manual install guides for WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Follow the instructions, and you should be golden.

Once you have your CMS in place, you have to start creating your site. What you do here is up to you, but there is some preliminary reading you can do to give yourself a leg up.

Make sure you brush up on the basics of web design before having at it:

You will also benefit from reviewing the user guide for your preferred CMS. Check out the guides for Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla.

Depending on which CMS you're using, you may want to select a theme to help smooth the process. There are plenty of “theme libraries” with lots of options. There are also guides on installing the theme you like quickly.

You're likely to make use of various plugins to enhance your site. Again, check out the libraries to see what's available. Be careful not to install too many, though. An overabundance of plugins can slow your site to crawl.

You'll have to decide what to prioritize, but add-ons to help with SEO are generally a good option. If you're stuck on what to incorporate, try consulting a roundup of some of the highest rated plugins.

When you're done creating you'll have joined the club of individuals with a website. Congratulations.

Alternate Method: Build Offline Then Load Your Site

It's also worth pointing out an alternate method for how to set up your own website. You can code the site offline with HTML or an editing program, then upload it to a web host in completed form.

LearnCode has a great tutorial on this method, which you can watch here:

They also have other videos on web development and coding. It's a good resource if you want to get more in-depth with what you can do with a website.

Conclusion

Now you should be able to provide the answers on how to set up your own website. The CMS method will allow you to create a great looking, functional site with varying degrees of difficulty.

WordPress will allow for a quick and easy site. If you decide to increase your coding proficiency, you can make use of advanced CMS like Drupal to create a lightning fast site with solid features. Joomla will offer you a compromise that is suitable for many intermediate web-heads.

Remember to do your research when choosing a domain and selecting a host. When you have everything in place, create your site, then you're ready to rock.

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