Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)
Does it cost a lot of money to build your own website?
You probably could spend about as much money as you wanted on building your own website, but it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There are basically three areas of expense:
- Domain registration–this is the fee you pay for your web address–the domain of this site is alulrich.com. You should probably budget between $10 and $25 per year for domain registration (first year) or renewal (subsequent years).
- Web hosting–this is a (strongly recommended) fee for storing your website content on a server. Typically web hosting is purchased as a monthly plan, not unlike the service plan for a cell phone. You should budget between $4 and $10 per month ($48 and $120 per year) for web hosting. If you become fabulously successful beyond your wildest dreams, this cost may go up to ~$250-$500 a year. But who cares, you’re fabulously successful. I recommend Blue Host as the web host of choice, because they make it very easy and inexpensive for beginner’s to get started. There is an affiliate link to Blue Host on the right hand margin of this page.
- Design costs–this is the area where you could spend about as much money as you wanted. Web designers can be expensive. However, in my book How to Build a Website and Publish Your First Page in Less Than 5 Minutes, I show you how to build your own site for free.
Do you have to know HTML or other programming languages to build a website?
In the event that you already know HTML or other programming languages, I’m sure it would help you build a better website–but you clearly don’t have to know programming to build a pretty awesome website. Build your site using a WordPress platform and leverage some of the hard work other people have already done to make your website awesome, without the needing to understand complex code and programming.
How long does it take to create a website from scratch?
You can seriously create a nice website from scratch in less than 5 minutes. You have to have fast fingers and click confidently and quickly, but it can be done. Creating a website from scratch is much more like purchasing something online than it is like building anything in the literal sense. You could and should then spend considerably more time customizing and filling your website with content–but hey, that’s the fun part.
What is a content management system (CMS)?
A content management system is the platform on which you build your website. It helps you manage and display your content to the people who visit your site. I recommend you install WordPress as your CMS. It’s free and can be installed with just a few clicks from some of the more popular web hosts.
What is the difference between a WordPress hosted blog and a self-hosted blog?
This can be a little bit confusing. WordPress.com is a website (with a similar blogging platform) where you can start blogging in a matter of seconds. This is totally free in every way. FREE is a really good thing, in a lot of ways, but there are two major disadvantages:
- Functionality and customization are limited
- You can’t monetize your blog by selling products, advertising or affiliate links
With a self-hosted blog, what you do is download and install the WordPress software into a directory on the server you are paying for (through your web hosting plan, most likely). The downside to this is the cost of web hosting, but the upside is virtually unlimited customization and earnings potential. Plus, you retain total control of your content. http://alulrich.com is an example of a self-hosted blog.
If you are just starting out and want to see what it is like, from a technical perspective, I recommend you try creating a blog for yourself at WordPress.com–just to prove to yourself you can do it. But if you are serious about making a website, I recommend you just start with a self-hosted blog.
What is the first step in making a website?
The first step is probably mapping out why you want to make a website and what you want to accomplish with your website. After that, you should search online to see if the URL or domain name you want (alulrich.com is the domain name for this website). Once you have a few ideas about what domain you want, pick a web host like Blue Host, or Godaddy, register the domain and purchase a web hosting plan. I am an affiliate for Blue Host, which means I can earn a commission if you order from them via an affiliate link. No pressure. I want you to do your own research and pick the host that meets your needs the best. If you want to support me and the site by ordering from Blue Host through and affiliate link that would be awesome. But picking a web host you are comfortable with is what is most important. Here is that affiliate link to look around at Blue Host if you are interested.
What is the secret to building a successful website?
The good news is–there really aren’t a lot of secrets. What I can tell you is that there is a direct, positive relationship between the amount of content you create and the amount of traffic and leads you generate. The more you write, the more traffic you will attract. The more traffic you attract, the more leads you will generate. The more leads you generate, the more opportunities you have for success. Write well. Write often. This is advice I tell myself routinely too.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Difficult to sum up in just a few lines, but SEO is basically taking measures to ensure that the content you are creating and publishing on your website is written and tagged in a way that will allow you to get maximum FREE exposure from the search engines. Targeting optimal keyword density, using meta tags and having a back linking plan are a few of the most popular tactics in SEO.
Isn’t WordPress just for blogs?
WordPress may have started out as a blogging platform, but it is now one of the most popular content management systems in the known universe (which is really just here on Earth, but that sounds impressive, doesn’t it?). You can customize your WordPress website to do almost anything you want–including and well beyond blogging.
What are some resources to help me get started?
One place you could start (get ready for the shameless plug here), is with my books, How to Build a Website and Publish Your First Page in Less Than 5 Minutes, and Beginner’s Guide to Improving Your WordPress Website. You can also get a good head start by checking out the quick start guide offered by WordPress here.
If you were starting over and building your first website for the first time, what would you do differently?
Disclosure: I wouldn’t actually say that is a frequently asked question, but I thought it was an interesting question. I hope I don’t provide an uninteresting answer.
If I was starting over, from scratch, I would definitely sign up for a FREE account at Mail Chimp and integrate that with my website sooner to include an opt-in to an email newsletter. It is certainly extra work to create and publish a newsletter in addition to the blog, but it has been an awesome way to interact with my most loyal readers and the growing list is tangible proof and reinforcement that I am attracting a new audience all the time.
At the top-right of this site, you can see a sidebar widget that integrates with my Mail Chimp account where you can subscribe for my email newsletter. I’m sure there are a bunch of ways you could integrate this on your site, but that’s just how I do it. It’s super easy with the Mailchimp sidebar widget.
Incidentally, if you want to start your own email list, you can sign up for your own account for FREE at mailchimp.com. They do charge for some premium features, but the basic (and manual stuff) is free.