Starting Your Own Website

This article is a little off topic from my usual financial hints and tips. I know however, that quite a few people out there that read these posts are also looking at ways to start their own website or company. Getting your voice out into the internet domain through your writing, products or services has also been proven by many others to be a great way to earn extra money. The three biggest challenges I had when starting this website were fear (people are just going to laugh at me doing this), mentally overcoming the barrier to starting something completely new (I'm not going to have time for this), and picking the correct software (I've never used any of these platforms; this is going to look really crap). This article addresses the third point around the software I used to build my website. 

If you have not logged in for a while, you will have seen that the website has had a much needed facelift. I have had a new website up and running for a couple of weeks now; it is still using the same underlying software, SquareSpace, but I am using a different template (which was slightly more complicated than I first thought it would be); I'm excited about how much easier it is to navigate and use than before, and how professional it now looks (if I do say so myself). I'm enjoying building out a website, and the creative outlet it provides, and I want to get my website to a place where it can actually form an income source for me. 

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Creativity is something that many of us stifle down in our lives. We go about our 9 to 5, or more realistically the 8ams to 9p.ms, earning money that allows us to escape from this world. I got particularly sick of this world about 4 years ago, working for a large corporate in Canary Wharf, and decided I needed to change jobs. Since that point I've worked in more and more entrepreneurial environments, and recently I picked up my website alongside my current role as a chief financial officer / chief operational officer. 

Starting a website is a super easy and very simple thing to do. Starting anything in life is quite a simple thing, although we often perceive it as a massive barrier to climb. We live in a fabulous generation where there are so many resources and options available to us that starting or doing anything is easy. Where it requires real tenacity and grunt work, however, is where we need to really apply ourselves. Where we need to dig deep and put the hours in. Nothing in life comes without work, and often, really dam hard work. Relationships, studies, the job, fitness, the body all takes a lot of work. Not one off, do something and then leave it work, but incremental and dedicated steps of work. 

A lot of people out there writing content, and producing their own websites detail about how easy it is to start a website, and then print lots of money. WRONG. It's fun, but it requires an input of energy and time. Every time I have dedicated more energy and time, I've seen more returns (interaction on social media, comments on my posts, increased number of readers). 

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My website revamp has been no different; it required quite a bit of work to get it to the place it's in. As mentioned, at the moment I use SquareSpace, although I have also played with Wordpress, Wix.com and Website Builder. Any of these are fantastic sites to launch your website on. The idea is that you just get started, and you can figure it out as you go. 

I've dabbled with all, but I wanted to start with Wordpress. If you are looking to start a website, Wordpress is one of the simplest tools to use and to get started on. You can either click through the link here to start, or you can register with Wordpress through a hosting site, such as Bluehost. Bluehost provide you with an easy launch a blog with this tutorial. I know what you thinking...what is Bluehost? I'll come onto that. First lets start with Wordpress. 

Wordpress has many many many advantages in the market compared with other hosting websites. Here are my top 3 reasons to start with Wordpress. 

  • Firstly, starting a website or blog on Wordpress is incredibly easy. I am no expert at website design or building but I have tried to launch a number of different blogs over the last couple of years, although never fully committing to them and putting in the hours. The main one I started up was a little cycling website, detailing trips that people go on, equipment they use and how they planned their routes. I really enjoyed interviewing people for the blog but I never launched it (as I was too afraid) and it fell by the wayside. 
  • Secondly, the basic version of Wordpress is FREE. Yes, absolutely free, which is great way to try out whether you like blogging or not. It's not for everyone, but this package allows you to get started.
  • Wordpress are industry accepted. What does this mean? Basically, what I'm saying here is that many companies know Wordpress and offer great website plugins. From search engine optimisation plugins, to plugins that automatically update all broken links, Wordpress has them, and keeps expanding them. (plugins are tools that can be used in conjunction with Wordpress, that do specific things). 

If you're looking to start a website, Wordpress offers a great starting point; it's not the website I started on (I'll explain that in my next post) but it's the blogging platform that many people begin on. If you want to begin on Wordpress, sign up here to start using their platform completely free. 

WordPress, powers over 30% of the internet, which is HUGE. They really are leaders in knowing what people want to build on the internet, and helping them get there.  

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Now, on to Bluehost, and website hosting in general. It took me a while to get my head around this. Websites should be hosted on independent servers to the company you sign your website up through. Think of hosting a bit like the phone line. You have a phone (your website) but unless you connect it to a phone line, it's completely useless. When you take out web hosting, you rent space on a server (a bit like renting through Booking.com room or Airbnb in a guest house). Your website gets to take up some space on that server. One of the key perks of a website hosting company is that your domain name (i.e weescotfinance.co.uk for me) is hosted independently from the content management tool (i.e Wordpress). If something happens to Wordpress, my website will live on in Cloud heaven (and I have access to it). 

Many of these hosting companies offer a huge range of perks, from 24 hour services to discounted domain purchases, and most and go hand in hand with quit a few content management services (i.e WordPress). Bluehost in this example is a strong choice, and works very well with WordPress; if you use this link, you can sign up for a discounted price, and get a step by step tutorial to using Wordpress.  

So, I've raved about WordPress and Bluehost quite a lot, and you may be wondering why I'm not on WordPress. Here are my top three reasons:

  • when I first started my website, I wanted to try a new tool called Website Builder; I tried this but promptly moved away from it, due to the lack of professionalism. I thought I knew best and would try a different hosting site, buck the norm, and sign up with this provider. Don't get me wrong, it's a great tool, but as someone who was completely new to starting my own website, and in general, being creative, I personally needed something with strong templates and structure, to put my thoughts down. 
  • my friend does website designs using SquareSpace as a basis; when I first decided I needed help and needed to move away from Website Builder I enlisted his help. He was brilliant and wonderful, and found the right template I needed for my website, in SquareSpace. At the time I didn't want to invest significant amounts of time into the website, so I took to SquareSpace with his help. 
  • I'm a snob. There I said it. When I first logged into Wordpress, I thought, "that's not pretty". How wrong I was. What I couldn't see at the time was the potential I could put down into Wordpress. I chose SquareSpace as it looked beautiful. I was also very novice as well, and something being beautiful was what I was judging it on. 

Wordpress powers 30% of the internet for a certain reason. If you want to sign up and start using WordPress for free, click on this link here. Alternatively, sign up using Bluehost for a discount to the paid WordPress sites, to get going. Both these platforms support more than blogging and you can build out your own company, e-commerce platform, media business, personal training service, food website. Starting your own side hustle has never been easier, and like on my cycling blog, don't be scared of publishing. Get your voice out there and see what happens. 

What is stopping you? What business do you want to start?