How to build a simple website
I’ve been making websites since I was in University. I had learnt how to use photoshop and was doing designs for people. Then my wife who was my girlfriend at that time learnt how to build websites with Dreamweaver then she started learning HTML, CSS and PHP. That’s where I decided to also learn and after a few months of sleepless nights learning I learned how to build a website. The first website looked terrible of course but to me, it was the beginning of something big. Let’s start with why you should have a website at all.
Why you should have a website
Many people have an Instagram page, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter or any other social media platform. So why do you have to get a website? I have a few reasons which I’m sure you will agree with.
1. Share your ideas
Your website gives you your very own space to share your thoughts ideas and even theories. Your website is exactly that, it is your website. Nobody can sensor you or ban you from the internet. Unlike a social media network, your website is managed by you so you can express yourself to the fullest.
2. Improves your professional life
When you run a Google search on your name, what do you see? Some people might see the embarrassing social media post but if you have your own website it serves as a kind of CV. Employers who Google you will most likely find your website and that creates an impression about you and your skills. I have had many clients Google me and said how they found my website and read some of my articles.
3. Gives you lots of connections
People from all around the world can reach out to you through your website. People who might be searching on a topic you might have written on your website will easily find you and get in touch with you through your website. I have met up with CEOs of large companies just because they read an article on my website and decided to meet me to discuss further.
4. Give you opportunities
Lots of connections open up many opportunities. You can be invited to interviews, podcasts, or even a Youtube video that could reach thousands. Once you put out content, it will attract the people that are looking for it.
5. You can have an Impact
Having a website makes you an authority on your subject so you can have an impact on the lives of others through your website. You will be able to expand your network and hence impact more people. Not having a website means you will not interact with many people that you do not yet know.
6. It can make you money
Apart from all the great benefits of networking, you can also monetize your website. Google Adsense is a common way to monetize but you can also strike deals with brands as your website grows to advertise their products. It may take a while but it is very possible.
I really believe that everyone watching this should start their own website after watching this video.
How to build a website
Creating a website is not as complex as it used to be back in the day. Back then, you had to know how to code in order to build a website but now, there are free website building tools like Squarespace, Wix and WordPress which also serve as a content management system. To get your website on the internet, you will need a domain name, a website builder and a hosting service provider.
In this tutorial, I will focus on a website where you get to own your own domain. Eg, if your name is Kekeli Buckner, you can have kekelibuckner.com as your domain name.
Buying your domain name and hosting your website
Your domain name is the URL like kekelibuckner.com, facebook.com, etc.
You can buy your domain name from a domain registry. There are many registries you can buy your domain name from but I would recommend TMD hosting for their reliability, their awesome customer service and you can easily host your website here as well. Hosting is basically putting your domain on servers so it can be accessed via the internet. I know this may seem complex to some of you but that is why I recommend you use TMD Hosting. They have experts who can guide you through the entire process.
So you can go ahead and buy a simple domain. On average, a domain name should cost around $10 and hosting around 50$ for the whole year. I know some people who tell me that they don’t have the money for this. If you break it down, that is $5 per month to have your very own website. I don’t know what more you could ask for. If you can pay for Spotify and Netflix then I think you should be able to invest in your very own website.
Believe me, it’s a good feeling to have a domain to your name. You can search for a domain name at these registries and you will receive a response whether your domain is available or not since each domain is unique.
Building your website
So now that you have the domain and have hosted it. The next thing is to build your website. Now here is where people think you need to know how to code in Python, HTML, CSS, PHP etc but you will not need all that. There are Content Management Systems like Wix, Squarespace and WordPress that allow you to use drag and drop tools to build a website. I would recommend WordPress. It’s being used by about 30% of websites on the internet and it is very customisable. You can ask TMD Hosting to install WordPress on your domain and then log in and build your website. You don’t even need to be a designer, WordPress has what it calls themes which you and install and edit to build a website. There are free and paid themes but for this example, you can use any of the free themes.
You don’t need much for your first website. You can just have the blog page, about page and contact page. Don’t stress yourself about the design at this stage. Keep it simple. Most people are going to view your website on a mobile device anyway so most of your design work on a desktop will not really show. Besides, WordPress themes are designed to be mobile-friendly anyway so you do not need to worry much about that. Most of the people that will visit your site are not there to look at the aesthetics, they are there for content so make sure your website has great content above all else. If you want to edit your website then you should use a page editor like Elementor.
What to do with a website
Ok, so now that you have a good website what do you do? A website is nothing without content just like the way a house is useless without people in it. You need to get into the habit of producing content and publishing it on your website.
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Content production can seem daunting but it is basically you sharing your experience or expertise with the world. Our education system makes you feel like if you do not have a certificate you can’t really contribute anything meaningful to society. This is far from the truth. Each one of us knows something that will be of value to another person. Document this down and share it on your website and viola! You have content.
You must select the type of content you want to produce. As much as you have the freedom to write on anything in the world, you must also narrow down your content to a niche that you are comfortable with in the beginning. Each of us has different interests. Like I create content that teaches people how to build websites and take advantage of the internet. You might like to cook and can create content on how to cook. With time, you will gain a community of people that are interested in cooking. Think of helping people with the content you create and you will always create great content that is useful and shareworthy. Develop the habit of creating and publishing each week and with time you will gain relevant followers.
When creating content, don’t limit it to articles. You can shoot videos with your phone and upload them to Youtube. Social media is a great way to share your website and start growing an audience.
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Share your Website
No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. – Jesus
Your ideas are like light to the world. Imagine if someone like Henry Ford kept his idea for a car a secret and never shared it. Your blog should not be kept under a basket. Share your posts on social media. Use hashtags so that many people can see them and benefit from them. Ride on trends to get your content out there
A good practice I would say is to learn about SEO and apply it to your website. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It basically helps your website to rank on search engines so if you have a recipe for fufu and groundnut soup for example. When people search for a recipe on Google your site should appear at the top. This helps direct organic traffic to your site and any website with a strong organic traffic flow will see consistent growth over time.
I love to create content but I don’t want to use my name and face
I used to have that as well. I felt like, what would people say, what if I don’t do it well and get bad comments? When I had to start doing videos the fear of putting my beautiful face out there for people to pause, rewind and fast forward was unbearable. What will my family, friends, coworkers and those that know me think about me?
Well, the thing is that you are overthinking it. I always tell people to just start! Your family and friends will be your first audience and will help bring the first new visitors. As long as you are not doing drugs or anything illegal you should be fine. As you continue to create content, you will start attracting new friends who will become your biggest fans. So don’t worry about it.
READ ALSO: SEO in Ghana
I hope this article on how to build a simple website with WordPress was useful. If it was, kindly share it with a friend. I want as many people as possible to have this skill. Happy creating.