Build My Own Website

One of your first questions will be – how to build my own website? Where do I start? What do I need? How much will all this cost and how much time will it take?

Great questions. Let’s see if we can answer them.

How To Build My Own Website – Where to start?
First, you need to decide what you want. Sure, that sounds obvious and perhaps even a bit lame, but – really – you have to make a few decisions about your site before going very far. For example, what will the site be about? What is the intended purpose? Do you need to target a specific audience? Do you need the site to be ranked #1 on Google to drive tons of targeted traffic to your business, or are you simply interested in getting a few web pages up for family and friends to visit now and then?

The reason is important, as it defines what the next steps you take will be. For example, if you are looking for a personal web page, then you probably don’t care if 99% of the people searching on the web ever find you. When you say you’ll build my own website, all you really need is a web presence so the people you give your URL address to can find you. That’s a fairly easy task.

On the other hand, if you have a business, you need it to be profitable or it simply won’t last long. Assuming you don’t want to pay for that traffic, then the higher you are on page 1 of Google, the more free traffic you will get. That means more people will visit your site, and that equates to more sales you can make. That’s why you want to think about what the site needs to do before you jump in and just “build my own website” to the tune of a lot of wasted time.

So What Do I Need to Build My Own Website?
First of all, I assume you already have access to the internet. That’s a must, and the public library can provide that for free if needed.

The next thing is a name, or more specifically a URL. Without getting into too much detail, “URL” stands for Uniform Resource Locator and for our purposes, it is simply the online address at which your website will be found. If you want your website building experience to be completely free, then you can get a URL from services like WordPress, Squidoo, Blogspot, Hubpages and many other “Web2.0” services. Google any of these to get the actual address if a free site is what you’re looking for.

But be warned … because they are free, you won’t actually own the site. That means it can be taken down without your permission for any reason, at any time. Granted, unless you break their terms of service, chances are your site will be safe and online for as long as you want it to be. But if you’re running a business, especially if you build my own website all on your own time, be careful using free services.

The other option is to actually buy your own domain name. There are literally hundreds of services to choose from, some being much better than others. GoDaddy is extremely active with their marketing and their service is quite good, but I think they’re a bit pricey. does a fine job as well, but I still prefer They usually have coupons for discounts, and even if they don’t, a .com, .net or .org domain name usually only costs about $10 a year … and they have privacy options that allow you to put up a site without everyone on the internet being able to figure out your name, home address, phone number and all the other information you might want to keep private from the general passer-by. After all, people who know you already know that stuff … right?

Anyway, to build my own website (or sites), I register most of my domain names with

Build My Own Website – Going Live
If you decided on a free service, then all you need to do is register with them, pick the name of your site and start posting. For personal sites, that’s as simple as saying “Hello World” and hitting the publish button. Of course you’ll want to put up pictures and write some comments, but seriously, your website will be live as soon as you tell it to publish your comments.

For business sites, you’ll need to take a bit more time to create your initial post or article that says just what you want, with just the right photos to go with it. Either way, the free method is fairly simple, and for questions, each of the Web2.0 properties listed above have great help screens you can follow.

Finding A Web Hosting Service.
Once you know how to build my own website, you’ll need to get it published. If you prefer to actually own your website, meaning you have control when it’s live on the net and when it’s not … then you need something called a web host, or web hosting service.

Good rule of thumb … never host your website at the same place you registered the domain name. Why? It has never happened to me, but lets just say many forums have horror stories about hosting services holding sites hostage for one reason or another. If your hosting service also registered your domain name, you’re stuck. If your domain was registered elsewhere, then all you have to do is pick another web hosting service, transfer your name over to them, upload your backed up content and you’re live again.

Like registrar’s, hosting services are a dime a dozen. I’ve had good luck with, but you have to know a bit about a site language called html, or at least know how to install wordpress on your server from scratch. Granted, it really isn’t all that difficult, but the “Fantastico” button on a service that has Cpanel is an easy one button installation. Cpanel, by the way, is just a place you set up your site at.

I also use HostNine, but it’s a bit expensive if you only plan to have a single site. Since one of my business models is to host sites for others as needed, I chose their reseller account. It’s about $25 a month, which probably doesn’t make sense if you’re just starting out.

Hostgator has some great plans for as little as about $5 a month for a single domain, or $8 a month for unlimited domains. That’s not bad … especially when it allows you to have control of your own website.

Build My Own Website – What About The Look And Feel?
If you use WordPress, you’ll have plenty of free themes to choose from to get you started. If you decided to build an HTML site, then you’ll need to search a bit for a free template you can use that fits your needs. Either way, theme or HTML template, they are simply a framework to display your posts, articles, pictures or graphics in a nice looking way.

With WordPress, you have everything you need to get started right away. If you use an HTML (or a standard PHP) site, then you’ll need something called an FTP program as well. This is simply a software package that transfers what you want to show up on your website from your computer, to the server on the internet that will actually display it to the world. Once I build my own website, I use FileZilla to get it on the server. It’s free, fairly easy to use and I can recommend it without reservation.

So How Much Does It Cost To Build My Own Website?
Other than your time, it can be completely free. If you prefer to own your own web site, then $10 a year for a domain name and $5 – $10 a month (or up depending on what you need) for somebody to host your site on the Internet is about the minimum above the cost for online access itself.

How Long Will It Take To Build My Own Website?
That completely depends on you. If it’s a personal site on a free service … about 30 min to an hour to register with one of the web2.0 properties and do a little reading on how to make a post can get you live.

If it’s a serious business site, probably 15 – 30 minutes to decide (and find) just the right domain name, another 30 minutes to sign up with a registrar (being sure to read terms of service and privacy policies) and actually registering the name. Another 15 – 30 minutes will be needed to find and sign up with a good web hosting service. After that, you’ll need to factor in some time to find a theme or html template you like, learn how to post or “FTP” your content to the server, and then write or contract out the actual content itself.

It may sound like a lot of work to build my own website, but if you choose WordPress (free or as a framework for your own domain), it really isn’t that hard to get a site live. For personal sites, you just add content as you want and you’re done. For business sites, it will take a bit more time to get it just right … so you can start on the second phase, which is getting it noticed on line.