How to make a website for your business the easy way

When looking for a service or product these days the first place you look is on the Internet so if you haven’t got a website you are missing out on a huge potential database of customers and they are probably going to go to your competitor who does. You might think that your business is not the kind that needs a page as maybe you are just a local business or an individual but you wouldn’t believe the business you are still missing out on, even with when looking for local businesses they will still google them first. Word of mouth is great but it can only get you so far and you wouldn’t want to stop people from finding you if they are looking.

You might already want a website but don’t want to shell out thousands or become an IT expert. Don’t worry this is no longer the case, you can get your webpage online and start advertising your business with very little effort or IT skills and for very little cost or even free of charge!

The easiest way to build and publish your own web page is by using a built for beginners website builder service like Wix or Weebly that allows you to build your page with a drag and drop builder that is no more difficult to use than using Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. These kinds of services are designed for simplicity so that anyone can operate them regardless of technical abilities.

When using one of these services you need to get yourself a domain name ie example.com , sometimes this will come with your website builder package but if not you can usually just add it on for a yearly fee on top of your regular subscription.  If your website building package provider does not include the facility to buy one through them you can buy domains from tons of sites. Godaddy generally tends to be the cheapest registrar for domains and they often have promotions sometimes giving away domains for £1.

A lot of web hosting providers include a website builder with their hosting packages, this tends to work out much cheaper than dedicated website builder providers as well as coming with lots of extra great features like email accounts. This way is slightly more complex than using a dedicated website builder but if you’re a little tech savvy then it should be no issue. You can compare web hosting plans here. Domain names also often come free of charge with web hosting services which is another perk.

How to start a blog for beginners

In today’s world blogs are the new book’s, you can now publish your own unique content to the world without the need to have been signed by a publisher or heavy investment in printing and marketing. As well as getting your word out to the world blogs can also be highly profitable through display advertisements and product/service endorsements. Years ago launching a blog was not possible for anyone without extensive tech knowledge or paying an expensive developer, today however it is possible for anyone to start one provided you have some basic computers skills.

The most simple way to get your blog online is to use a service like Wix or Weebly which provide you with a drag and drop builder for designing the site and a very straightforward interface for adding content and managing the blog. Simply signup, fill in a few basic details such as your blog name and personal details then you are away!

What I would highly recommend as an option is opening a blog on WordPress which is an open-source platform that runs through a web host, see our WordPress Hosting Comparison page for WordPress hosting & this article I wrote for instruction on installation. Once you have an active WordPress installation, you can then to get your blog to appear how you desire visibly, buy a WordPress theme from a site like ThemeForest or TemplateMonster These themes are normally pretty customisable, check the descriptions of these themes for details of what you can customise. Look out for themes that come with/are compatible with a plugin called WPBakery. WP Bakery is a drag and drop builder which allows you to easily edit elements on pages within a WordPress theme visually.

SSL Certificates, what are they and how to get one free

On most websites these days you will find a little padlock in the address bar of the browser, especially any reputable shopping website. People tend to trust websites with this sign of security and are more likely to trust the thing you are trying to sell or the information you provide. It is quite a crucial thing to do also because generally people are under the impression they are more susceptible to hacking/viruses which is something you definitely don’t want users to worry about.

In order to get this trusted symbol of authentication you will need to get yourself an SSL certificate, these make the connection between the visitors browser and the server secure. Your web host can provide you with this certificate and a lot of them are providing free certificates signed by a foundation called LetsEncrypt who are trying to make the internet more secure. If this is not supported by your hosting provider you will be able to purchase one from them. There are different grades of SSL:

  • Standard
  • Wildcard
  • EV

A standard certificate is all that is required to get you the padlock, the others offer more features such as PCI compliance & turning the address bar green. You can find the option to buy SSL certificates in your hosting’s billing control panel usually under add ons. It is generally pretty straightforward purchasing a certificate, all that is required is an address to register the certificate to.

Installing a LetsEncrypt certificate in cPanel

LetsEncrypt security certificates are very simple to install in cPanel if that is included with your hosting, here’s how:

Go to your cPanel homepage and under the category of security you will see an icon for SSL/TLS, click this icon.

You will be taken to this page:

You will see your domain name and any sub domains or prefixes. On the right of your domain click issue.

On this page just make sure all variations of your domain are checked that you want secured and select issue.

That’s it, your website is now secure! You can ensure this by prefixing your domain with ‘https://’ in the address bar in your browser and hitting enter. You should be able to see a padlock on the left-hand side of the address bar and if you click the padlock it should detail that the certificate was issued by LetsEncrypt.

How to set up and use a professional email address with your domain using cPanel (eg john@johnsbusiness.com)

An essential feature to look out for when choosing your hosting plan is if it includes email hosting with it, as not all of them do. This feature allows you to have custom email addresses @yourdomain which to any potential visitors or clients would look far more professional than a gmail or hotmail email address. 

This guide is catered for hosting plans that use cPanel control panel which is the most popular control panel among web hosts, however the steps would be very similar with any other control panel provided by your hosting provider. If your hosting provider does not include email hosting with your package do not worry as you can get separate email hosting with another provider or often you can purchase it as an add on with your existing provider.

First things first, head over to cPanel, you will find the link to this in your web hosting control panel or welcome email.

There is a category called ‘Email’in cPanel, under this you will find an option called ‘Email Accounts”. Click this link.

After following the link you should be brought to this page where you can add your email address: 

If this is not the first page you see click the ‘Add Email Account’ Tab at the top. 

Fill in your desired email address, it can be anything you like. After entering your password you will need to give the mailbox a quota, this is the amount of storage space you are allocating to the email account you are creating. The quota you provide here will depend on your mailbox storage capacity provided by your hosting and the kinds of messages you intend on sending. If you intend on sending and receiving a lot of HD videos you will need significantly more space than a mailbox only being used to send and receive raw text. You can always start of with 250mb-1gb per inbox depending on your allowance to see how you manage with that and then change the allowance or upgrade the storage at a later stage if necessary.

Click ‘Create Account’ and you’re done! Congratulations you have just created your own custom email address. Now you just need a way to access and use this email address.

There are 2 ways you can access your emails:

Using your own mail client such as Outlook, Mail or Thunderbird

To set this up you need to be on the ‘Email Accounts’ tab in the ‘Email Accounts section of cPanel(where you added the new email address. Start by clicking ‘Connect Devices’ and some new links will appear under your email address, you want to click on the ‘Set Up Mail Client’ link. 

On older cPanel versions there is no option to ‘Connect Devices’ you just directly click ‘Set Up Mail Client’.

You will after that be brought to a page where you can either click a link to download and automatically install the information required to use your mail client or if your client/device is not supported by the automated install you can find the details to manually key in to your client below.

Via webmail

This allows you to log straight in to your email address without any setup using a web client as if you were signing into gmail or hotmail. To launch webmail you can click the link on the right side of the email address on the page that lists all email accounts as shown below.

You can often access your webmail by simply adding ‘/webmail’ onto the end of your url or by prefixing your domain with ‘webmail.’, this is entirely down to your host though. Normally you will be given the option of 3 web clients when you navigate to webmail: Squirrelmail, Roundcube & Horde. They are all basically the same but I tend to lean more towards Roundcube.