If you are going to build a business online, what do you think the very first thing you are going to need will be? Cash? A business plan? Wrong. You need a website! And I can show you how to create a website for free.
You don’t even need a computer. That’s not right. Of course you need a computer.
Pick a niche
First things first, let’s think about what your online business will be. It does not have to be an eCommerce or internet sales idea but it certainly can be. You can monetize a website that is about anything. In the online business world this is what we call a niche. I highly recommend that you pick something that you enjoy doing or talking about. Pick a hobby or a passion. It will make the content creation for your website a lot easier.
Do you love hiking? You could create a website that talks about that? What about fishing? I could write a thousand blog posts about angling the trout streams in the Shenandoah Mountains. How about music? Everyone loves music. You could write reviews for albums or if you’re anything like my wife who is a walking encyclopedia of rock & roll you could write about music history.
One thing you need to do though is make your niche very pointed. What I mean by this is make it narrow. You want to target something specific. I think the biggest problem a lot of people have with their niche is they make it too broad.
Suppose you chose the niche “exercise”. That’s a really good one because the trend today is to workout more and to have a healthier lifestyle as opposed to when I was growing up which was to not work out at all and to eat big macs. But what kind of exercise do you want to target? Is it body building (which is not just for body builders), aerobics, crossfit, jazzersize, P90X… That list could go on and on.
The point is you want to target just one specific thing. One that you are or can become an expert in because while creating your website is easy, building its content is going to be some pretty hard work. But don’t forget that hard work can be fun as long as you pick something you enjoy. Hard work does not have to be hard!
Pick a website name
Once you’ve decided on a niche for your website it’s time to pick a website name. If you are going to create a free website it will be what is called a sub-domain. That’s just a fancy word for a site that is hosted on another site.
a subdivision of a domain.
“artificial intelligence is a hazily defined field with two related subdomains”
an Internet domain which is part of a primary domain.
“within the .us domain, there are subdomains for the fifty states”
Suppose I selected the niche “body building”. You want your domain name to reflect what the site is going to be about. But don’t overthink it. We are starting with a free website but at some point you may want to purchase a domain. This is definitely not required but it is something to keep on mind. So let’s head over to NameCheap and check for domain availability.
For my niche I like the name Build a Better Body. Let’s check that. Here’s how to do that.
Once on NameCheap and you’ll be greeted with a search form that looks like this:
Now that I’m there, I’ll punch buildabetterbody into the search form (where it says “Find your new domain name”) and click the “Search” button. After a few seconds NameCheap will display the results for the website domain we’re searching for.
Rats! buildabetterbody.com is taken. We could select the dot net offering but I really prefer to get the dot com. I’m from the US and that’s what most people are used to and I want my targeted audience to be able to find me quickly and easily.
As you can see, we do have the option to make an offer to buy buildabetterbody.com but that is not something I would do or ever recommend. You want to pay retail and whoever owns the site is probably going to want an inflated price. Let’s try something different.
How about “bodybuildingresults”? Jackpot! I like that name better anyway.
As you can see, we got the shopping cart button on that one, so bodybuildingresults.com is available. You can purchase it if you like. It is only around $11 (at the time of this writing), but we are concentrating on doing this for free. I just like to see if the domain is available when building my free sites. It makes swapping them to a domain I own easier if I decide to do that down the road.
At this stage, I’m not going to purchase the domain. If that domain does sell (which is not likely) before I decide to buy the domain it is not going to hurt me at all. I just might have to make some changes to some of my content if I’m referencing it as a brand. I just want you to be aware that at some point you are probably going to want to buy a domain so you can develop your brand, but it is definitely not required. You can do everything for free.
OK, so we’ve selected our niche and picked a good domain name. You know what time it is now?
Time to create your free website
There are scores of places that offer free website creation. At some point or another I’ve probably been on most of them just to check out their features. Some of them are pretty good and offer some decent web authoring tools. But remember, we’re not just building a website here. We are building a business. The absolute, hands down, best place to host your business website is Wealthy Affiliate. Checkout my review of their product and create your starter account here.
Wealthy Affiliate supports building a website with WordPress which is not only the most popular blogging tool on the planet, but it also a very robust content management platform. That’s fancy talk for a way to create your website content. It also allows you to create and manipulate menus, widgits and controls the look and feel of your site. There are over 29,000 plugins for WordPress to help you get the look and feel that you want.
If you’re a techie like me, you can also get your hands dirty and write some code (in php) to further customize your site.
Once you have created your starter account and are logged in, roll up your sleeves and let’s get ready to create your fee website.
Put your mouse pointer over the light blue menu item on the left side of your screen that reads “SiteRubix”. In the sub-menu that pops up will be “SiteBuilder”. Click “Go” on that.
You will then be brought to the page that will build your website for you. Remember, we are concentrating on doing this for free, but if you ever purchase a domain, you will come to this same screen to create your website with it.
For step 1 you want to click on “A Free Website” and a dialog will appear below it. Punch your domain name you selected earlier in that dialog. For me, I’m entering bodybuildingresults.
Remember when I talked about sub-domains a few minutes ago? Your site will be a sub-domain of siterubix.com and its web address will look like this: bodybuildingresults.siterubix.com. It’s basically telling all of the servers out there on the public internet that it is a website within a website. Sort of.
For Step 2, you want to add a name. This is pretty unimportant. It is just how your website will be displayed within the Wealthy Affiliate interface. I usually name mine the same as my website. You can change it later if you want, but you cannot change your domain name. Ever. You can create a new domain and transfer all of your content to your new site but that’s a topic for later.
In Step 3 you will select your theme. Your theme is how your website will look when people visit it. A Wealthy Affiliate starter account has limited themes. If you upgrade to a premium account you will have access to thousands. But for now, just look through the starter themes and select one that you think looks good.
I’m a fan of clean looking sites. It is your content that is going to make your site popular, not the look and feel, but let’s not downplay that too much. As a normal, rational thinking human being, I am attracted to shiny objects. The better your site looks, the more apt someone will be to read its pages and posts and the longer they will stay on it.
Scroll through the themes and demo a couple of them by clicking the demo button on that particular theme. I like the “Hero” theme for my website, so I’m selecting that. You can change this later if you decide you like a different theme.
Finally, I’m ready to build my free website. At the bottom of your page you should see a grayish looking box with a big blue button in the middle of it. Click it and standby. You’re a few seconds away from having your free website.
Wait for it…
Wait for it…
Bam! You’re done. You are now the proud parent of your very own free business website. (Make sure your business is sucker free.) See. That was easy.
Alright, as I always preach on Sucker Free Online Business, there is now some hard work to do. If you check out your site, you will see it’s void of anything useful.
You need to get busy creating content for your website. But as long as you were smart and followed my advice about picking a niche you are interested in, that hard work does not have to be hard.
You can checkout your website and log into the content management by clicking the links on the page that displayed after your website was built. Click on “Domain Name” to visit your site. If you want to log into your site to manage the content and look and feel, click the “Login Now” button under “Your Website Administrator Users”.
You probably need some help in getting started in your content creation. I highly recommend that you follow Kyle’s training at Wealthy Affiliate. He is one of the owners over there and a really smart guy. Click the green “Getting Started” button in the upper left hand portion of your screen and you will be brought to the beginning of some really fantastic training. If you follow his training carefully, you will soon have a revenue producing website.
How to Create a Website for Free
I hope you have enjoyed my guide on how to create a website for free. It has been fun for me to write. If you get stuck or have any questions at all, feel free to ask in the comments.