I want to start my own website!

heart house
thanks Trey Ratcliff!

Deciding to start your own site instead of using a free service like Blogger or WordPress.com is like buying a house instead of renting an apartment. In a house, you have to take care of details like lawn maintenance and repairs. When something goes wrong, you're responsible. But you get to paint the walls, have a backyard, and as many pets as you want. You get to make the house yours.

To make a living from your website and have complete freedom over what you do with it, you buy a house on the Internet. Web hosting is the house and everything it holds and the domain name is the house's address. Having your own address and space for files is a powerful way to assert yourself as a professional. It's also a fun way to learn how to use the Internet as an artistic medium. And of course, the opportunities for monetization are endless.

So what comes next, after you take the plunge and buy the hosting? The following steps will help you get comfortable in your new home!

1. Learn how to google. Seriously.

Everything you need to know about making a website is on the Internet. Everything. I promise. I taught myself how to make websites and you can too. Whatever your question is, type it into that omniscient search box and the answer is yours.

2. Don't be afraid to mess things up.

Sure, you can break your site. But then you get to fix it. And that's how you learn how it works. Don't take it too seriously. There is always a solution. Have a little confidence in your intelligence!

3. Install WordPress yourself.

WordPress is the blogging software I use to run this site and that I recommend you use for yours. Learning how to install this software on your server will force you to get familiar with your cPanel, which you access by logging into your web hosting account. Your cPanel is where you set up your database, get your FTP access information, create email accounts and backup your site. (Alternatively, you can install WordPress with a single click through Bluehost; just look for the WordPress icon in your cPanel.)

If you mess up your first WordPress installation, it doesn't matter. You can just delete the files and start over. Installing WordPress yourself is a great way to build confidence and feel like you really know what you're doing.

4. Ask for help.

If you can't find your answer on Google, there are hundreds of people who would love to help. Ask questions in WordPress forums. Email a web development guru. Ask around on Twitter, or Cha Cha, or Quora.

5. Let go

When you have a sticky problem that irks you for minutes, hours, or even days, LET IT GO. This is the NUMBER ONE thing I've learned in all my years as a web designer and developer. Thinking about the problem keeps it alive. If you can let the problem go and distract yourself from thinking about it, the solution will come to you.

A friend will call who knows the answer. You'll come across a blog article that explains the missing piece. Your site will fix itself. Anything is possible. The Internet is comparable to the universe: vast and mysterious. If you feel nothing but gratitude and love for this incredible medium, it will give you the same in return.

If you haven't bought web hosting yet, help support the School of Life Design by choosing Bluehost! They're the company I use for my sites and I am very happy with them!

2 thoughts on “I want to start my own website!

Comments are closed.