Lessons learnt, making a small blog+biz website in 2016

Lessons learnt from building a website in 2016
Lessons learnt from building a website in 2016

While there are tons of products that you can use to create your address on the net, these are some of the leading products with widely acclaimed social proof. We went through our learning curve and we’re still learning by the day. An exciting journey that it has been, here’s a scoop of what we’ve learned by trial and error.

Free website!!!

Wowie! but you get what you pay for

You can create a Google blogger account, that will have a .blogspot.com address. You can choose a website-like template from colorlib and make it look like a website. You can also buy a domain at namecheap and point the blogspot.com address to your own domain name. If you are just dabbling online and nothing more, you can also register a free .tk domain. CAUTION – Read the fine print – Terms and conditions!

Namecheap.com

The catch is Google blogger does not let you use an SSL for own domain (as on 1-October-2016). You will have to live with an HTTP URL and can’t have https (with that green lock on your address bar that says to your audience, that your data is encrypted). A major con of using google blogger is the limitation in terms of plugins and widgets. Compared to the modern platforms, you will find very few options available.

As the famous quote goes: you get what you pay for. If you are just starting out online, still exploring your niche or if you are willing to sweat it out to get any additional geeky stuff done (read some HTML/javascript coding), you can go with blogger. However remember that you don’t own your site. So if you unknowingly violate any of the terms and conditions of google, your blog will be removed forever. You can always maintain a backup of your content, though.

wordpress.com is another option to create your free website. You get a .wordpress.com URL for free. You can sign up for paid plans to get other features. Unlike Google, wordpress.com does not let you point to your domain for free. You need a paid plan to point to your domain.
Having said that, wordpress.com does give you a simple admin interface, professional design and a lot of modern themes to choose from.

Drag n drop website

Easy peasy – just a few clicks n bucks
You can use an online drag and drop website builder like Wix to create stunning html5 websites. Your website will have a trendy design, appealing visuals and all that you need to create a brand for your professional needs.

Wix

You can create a beautiful landing page, point your site to your domain or even make your URL secure, depending on the plan you choose. Wix is one of the best drag and drop builder out there, if you don’t have a lot of time to invest and don’t need a lot of control. It is also a pocket-friendly option for starters. See Wix website for available plans.

The other popular alternatives are Weebly, Squarespace and Jimdo. Just remember that you still don’t own your site. So if you knowingly! or out of ignorance, violate any of the terms and conditions, your site can be removed. However backup options exist and they have marketplaces that sell/provide for free some awesome plugins that you can make use of.

This is a great place to start your online presence with a clean look without any coding experience. These platforms also let you monetise your content. These platforms, being proprietary do provide good customer support, if you’ve opted for their paid plans. The free plans are usually very limited – good enough a for a trial before you decide to buy.

Self hosted website

All yours but shell out and hustle on

If you are looking at building an online business out of your professional website, you will need more control on your site. You will need more plugins to power your content, manage your audience, marketing, products, sales and a host of other biz aspects.

You would also need control on some technical aspects that enable your biz and allow you to scale your website as you scale your business. Self-hosting is a must-have not only for e-commerce sites but for anyone who wants to set up an online business – whether you are a food, fashion or art blogger if you sell your stuff or affiliate with folks who sell, a self-hosting plan is for you.

You will need a great hosting company like Siteground to host your site. Siteground is great for speed, security and support. They let you use a free SSL from letsencrypt.org and have pocket-friendly plans for starters.

Web Hosting

Siteground lets you install open source content management systems (CMS) like WordPress (the open source CMS from wordpress.org), Drupal or Joomla on a click of a button. WordPress is by far the most popular CMS with the widest community of developers to provide a complete ecosystem of themes, plugins, and widgets for all your business needs.

You will, of course, need to buy your own domain. namecheap is a very professional yet pocket-friendly domain registrar in the market. While cheaper top-level domains (TLD) like .xyz are available, a .com, .org. or .net, is your best bet for a professional looking TLD. If the domain name of your choice isn’t available in the TLD of choice, you may want to get a little creative with a small prefix or suffix; such as “the” before your chosen name E.g. the..

The decision on your own website

Making up your mind

While it is important that you choose the right platform for your needs, most of the platforms offer a migration path.

If your intent is to get a hang of online world or just start a hobby site without any investment, blogger is for you. You can move to self-hosting if and when you want your business to take flight. You just have to go through the migration steps meticulously, taking care not to lose your hard earned audience – your link juice!

If you are serious about your site and intend building a business from day 0, but don’t have the skills or time to maintain the nuts and bolts of your own website, it is advisable to start off with a drag n drop builder like Wix or Weebly.

Create your online store and start selling. Try it today at Weebly.com!

If you want to build an online business around your website, a self-hosting plan is a must-have for you. Siteground is an awesomely professional hosting service and namecheap is an amazingly supportive domain registrar.

Disclosure: We’ve either used or have a direct feedback from people who’ve used these products. Dentmaker will receive a small commission if you use the links in this article/site to purchase some of these products, available with a great discount to you. It is a win-win and you do not incur any additional fee.

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19 Comments

  1. I totally agree with you about the free sites. I began hosting on Blogger but eventually switched to self-hosted due to wanting to monetize my blog. However, Blogger is a great way to start out to get in the swing of things.

    Shatreka
    ChicStylez360.com

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