A guide to setting up a website or blog
Setting up a website or blog can be a brilliant way to secure a job, and it’s easier than you think. In this guide, we talk you through the stages.
Do you have a blog or a website? If not, you’re really missing out for so many reasons. It’s a fantastic way to impress employers, teach you some new skills, help you to pursue a particular passion, and everything else in between.
And best of all, getting started is so much easier than you might think. Thanks to a few pieces of really great technology, it’s no longer just computer geeks who can show off with a fancy website.
Here, we look at the reasons why you should have one, and talk you through the stages you need to follow to get up and running with minimum time and fuss.
The benefits of setting up a website/blog?
It’ll impress a potential employer
While your peers are still sending out bits of paper with details of their previous experience, you could have your very own corner of the web that showcases your skills and talents.
You can essentially create an online CV, which is guaranteed to win you some brownie points and show just how much initiative and creativity you have in the new online world.
You can flex some very important skills
Regardless of what job area you want to go into, the chances are that you’ll have to use the internet in some capacity. Candidates that have great skills in this area are in high demand.
If you can demonstrate that you’ve built your own site, employers are likely to have added confidence in your skills.
You could make money from it
Making money online is still something that most people are sceptical about, but the truth is that so many people are already doing it. Depending on the nature of your site, there are many options.
You could use affiliate programmes, which involve advertising other people’s products and taking a commission from every sale, sell advertising space, create ebooks and guides for something you know a lot about, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t a ‘get rich quick’ method of making money, but’s it definitely achievable if you’re willing to put in the effort.
However, sometimes it can be best to lay off the money making and simply sell yourself instead, it’s up to you.
It’s a great way to pursue an interest
If you’re really passionate about a certain subject, you could find that blogging about it brings you endless pleasure.
Some people have fashion blogs where they upload pictures of their daily outfits. Some have food blogs where they share their favourite recipes. Others have beauty blogs where they review the latest products.
Whatever your interest, there are already blogs out there that you can get inspiration and ideas from.
How to get set up
Buying a domain
A domain is basically just your website address. You can choose anything you like, as long as it isn’t already taken by someone else, but you should obviously take a common sense approach.
If impressing employers is part of your reason for building a site, steer clear of anything that might be offensive. A sensible choice would be www.yourname.co.uk.
You can buy them from several different suppliers, though we’d recommend 123-Reg or GoDaddy. You can get a .co.uk domain from 123-Reg for £2.99/year, plus VAT. There’s a 2 year minimum contract. GoDaddy is a good option if you want a .com domain. Prices start at £7.35/year.
Setting up a personalised email address
Getting a personalised email address means that you can ask people to email you at an address such as email@example.com. It looks much more professional than a Hotmail or Yahoo address, and the easiest way to set it up is to use the domain provider that you bought your website address from.
Just login to your website account and you’ll be able to find the option to set up your email.
Buying website hosting
Before you can set up your site, you need to buy your own little piece of cyberspace for it to be uploaded to. Think of it a bit like the files on your computer, but out there on the web.
Again, you have loads of options, but HostGator is a good choice. Prices start at $3.96 per month, and better still, we’ve got an exclusive discount code that you can use to get 25% off. Just type in sts25discount to claim your saving.
You then just need to point your domain name to your server by setting the ‘Nameservers’, which are suppled by your hosting company. If you get stuck, get in touch with the host. Their support teams are usually very good and will get you unstuck in no time at all.
Installing WordPress (your website theme)
WordPress is immensely popular, and you’d be amazed at just how many websites are created using this handy piece of kit (like this one for example). It’s the quickest way to get your site uploaded to your online space.
If you’re using HostGator, they’ve got a really simple system for getting everything up and running.
Alternatively, you’ll have to download WordPress, unzip the files and then use an FTP client to upload to the server.
Customising and creating content
Once you’ve got the technicalities out of the way, it’s time to get creative. You can use WordPress themes to customise the overall look of your site, and you might want to experiment with uploading pictures or a simple logo.
Then, you can get writing. If you take your time and focus on just one task at a time, you’ll be surprised by how much you can learn and achieve in a short period.
Do you have your own online presence in the form of a website or a blog? We’d love to see what you’ve created, so please leave the link in the comment box below!