Jan 23 2013

Why and how I created this website

Posted by dale in

By Easy, staff writer and founder
easy@easygrowsit.com
January 23rd, 2013

Why I created this webite

In December of 2012, I decided that I was going to create a companion website for my You Tube channel, Easy Grows It. I wanted to be able to offer even more information than my video channel alone could convey. I also wanted my You Tube channel and website to promote each other as well.

Things to consider

The last time I ran a website was from 1995-2001. It was 250 web pages, all hand coded with plain old HTML and tons of daily work. Things have changed much since then so I already anticipated that I was going to be enduring some sort of learning curve. How steep remained to be seen, but I was hoping that it would be more easily managed than my previous site. In anticipation, I figured I needed to consider the following…

  • What domain name will I use?
  • What kind of website do I want and not want?
  • What software will I use to create the site?
  • What web hosting service will I use?
What domain name will I use?

At the time I decided I was going to make a web site, I had no name for it nor had I given it any thought. I just knew I would have to choose one and that I wanted it to be related to my You Tube channel. Up to this point, my YouTube channel had no name or tagline. I wanted the name to be related to growing things since my channel was mostly related to growing plants or gardening with an exception here or there. What I didn’t want to do was limit my website by making it too tight of a niche name. It took days of thinking, asking others their opinions and checking to see if the names I came up with were even available domain names. In the end, I went with Easy Grows It because it didn’t lock me into gardening only subject matter plus it was backed by my vote and the popular vote of my You Tube friends.

What kind of website did I want and not want?

I did not want to create a blog site. Blogs are based on chronological order and monthly archives. My main dislike with blog sites are when I do a Google search and the site that has the most relevant info showing up in the results list turns out to be a blog site, when you click the link in google to go to that site, it takes you to the main page of the blog site, typically not the actual page that has the information you saw in the Google search result. If that blog article that you’re wanting to read wasn’t created in the same month and year you did your Google search, it will be archived somewhere in that blog’s website. The two problems with that scenario is that you don’t know from Google’s link what month and year that blog post was created so you won’t know the month or year of the archive you need to locate to see the article. You’ll have to go into the archives and click on all the various months until you find it, which if there are years of articles, can be quite frustrating and I usually give up in disgust. The second issue with blog sites is that almost always, none of them have a built in site search. For these reasons, I decided to create a regular website based on web page articles and not chronological posts. When someone searches a term and my article comes up in the Google search results and a person clicks that, they will actually go to the page that has my article. In addition to that, my web site is searchable right on my site. No needle in a haystack without benefit of a metal detector No frustration, but most of all, my article actually gets found AND read!

What software will I use to create the site?

Last year, when I was originally contemplating a website, I searched You Tube videos and came across a great channel about making web sites called 2createawebsite by Lisa Irby. This channel has great information about making websites to go with your You Tube channel as well as making affiliate marketing websites or even doing a little of both together. Her You Tube channel and her website are truly great places to go to get started. Lisa has been doing this for years and she is very successful. She started from the bottom using free blog sites and over the years learned all the ins and outs of making good, productive websites that receive a good amount of traffic. Not only that, she shows people like you and I how you can do the same.

Onto the subject at hand. Lisa prefers using WordPress software to make her websites. She not only prefers it, she loves it. She has tons of tutorials and videos about WordPress on her You Tube channel. The great part about her tutorials is that she explains things in great detail so even someone who has never done this before can follow along easily. There’s not much WordPress can’t do. In fact, I found little else that could do as much or had as much support and following. It also has support for Google Adsense as well as many other ad based affiliations in case that’s something you’d like to try down the road.

What are the alternatives to WordPress? The main alternative is software called Dreamweaver by Adobe. It’s a powerful commercial software package that too, has a great following but it has a big cost to go with it. I wanted the power, I didn’t want the cost. Since Dreamweaver costs hundreds of dollars and WordPress is free, you can imagine why I chose WordPress. Now, when it comes right down to it, I am sure that Dreamwever can do many things that WordPress cannot but it should, considering the costs. Do I need all that extra fancy stuff to do what I want to do with my website? Absolutely not.

What web hosting service will I use?

So, now that I’ve decided on a domain name, what type of site I want to make and the software, I needed a web hosting service to put it all on. There are many large and powerful web hosting services out there. Some of them are well known even to people who never even thought about making a website. If you watch any prime time TV,  I’m sure you might have heard of GoDaddy.com. It’s one of the big players and maybe the most well known due to the amount of money they sink into advertising on such things as the Super Bowl. Other big web hosting companies are DreamHost, BlueHost and HostGator to name a few. These are the four I went with as my possible choices. They all had similar packages that they offered so how would I decide on who I would go with? They all had one click installation of WordPress. They all had good monthly and yearly rates. They all gave most of the same “free” services.

In the end, for me, the main differences were support and speed. At the smaller, cheaper package level, some only had support via chat. If you wanted to talk to a human and ask questions, well, that would cost you extra my friend. That didn’t give me the warm fuzzies whatsoever and cut my choices in half right there. Making progress now.

As it turns out, the web host isn’t the only place where the good support was to be found. A good online friend of mine runs a You Tube channel and a website where he dabbles in affiliate marketing. He clued me in that many people who are affiliate marketers of a certain company online prefer using one particular hosting service. As it turns out, it was one of the two web hosting services left on my list. No only that, these affiliates had a forum for helping each out using WordPress as well! Getting close to deciding on my web hosting service now!

There was one last thing I wanted to know before I committed to a host. How fast are they? IE, how fast will my web pages load for someone clicking through my site? The company I work for is an internet service provider and my job there is working on large internet backbone networks for large companies. Speed, cost and reliability is everything to them. So, of course, that’s what I wanted to know about my web hosting provider.

What I did was find various small web sites and blogs that were hosted on the four web hosting services I started with on my list and see how fast these web sites loaded and navigated through pages on those web sites. From my tests, I found that two web hosting services gave much faster and consistent web page load speeds than the other two. These are the same two web hosting services I had already narrowed my search down to when comparing customer support.

Now I’m left with two web hosting services that excel in all aspects, but which do I choose? They are both comparable in almost every way. In reality, I couldn’t really go wrong with either one but as I wrote earlier, one was preferred much more so by people doing affiliate marketing for a huge international company. I needed something to tip the scales between my last two choices and that was it. These marketers make a living doing this. It’s important to them to have a fast, cost effective and reliable web hosting service. If it’s good enough for their money making ventures, I’m sure it will be more than adequate for my little web blog/article site. Folks, we have a winner!

What now?

Now that I have addressed everything I wanted to consider, it was time to put the plan into action. I needed to register my domain name first. You can do that through any domain name registrar or you can do that through whatever web hosting service you’ve chosen. For simplicity sake, I chose to register mine through my web hosting provider. Typically a web hosting provider will do that for you for free if you sign up for their services. Next, you’ll have to choose a plan from the web hosting provider and then choose if you want to pay for that up front by the year, two year, or three year options. I chose the one year option as there wasn’t a large enough savings to me to warrant doing otherwise. After choosing my plan, I paid for it.

The next step was receiving my login and password to my location on my web hosting service. Once logged in, I did my one click install of WordPress on the web hosting server. After doing so, I received my login, password and location to go log into WordPress where I can create and publish my web pages for my site.  One thing to note, you’ll have to decide where to install your WordPress on your site. Either in the root directory or a subdirectory. I chose the root directory as I wanted my whole site to be WordPress powered.

After I got to that point, I went back to You Tube and watched some of Lisa’s tutorials where I could even pause the videos and try it myself on my WordPress account.  I’ll post a link at the bottom of this article to one of Lisa’s best and recent WordPress tutorials to help you along in case you decide to make a WordPress based web site yourself.

Wait a minute! You never said what web hosting service you chose!

That’s very true. I didn’t, but I’ll let you in on that now. The web hosting service I chose was HostGator. I can say that I am very happy with their service and have yet to be disappointed! ! I feel that I made a very wise choice. The plan I chose is called the baby plan, it’s the second cheapest plan but it let’s you add other domains for more websites down the road with the same HostGator account. There are other added features with the Baby plan but that’s why I chose that particular plan.

Even better, when I signed up with HostGator, I used a discount code from one of the many articles I had read. I just entered the code and got an instant 25% off!. As it turns out, if you use HostGator, you can offer the same 25% off to others that come to your website as well. To sign up for HostGator and get 25% off a hosting plan, just go to


Hostgator.com

 


and enter the discount code easygrowsit in the discount code box to get 25% off when you enter the information to pay for your plan.

In summation…

Thank you for reading this article. We hope that it was both helpful and informative to you. If you have any questions, please feel free to email Easy at easygrowsit@gmail.com

Here’s a link to Lisa’s awesome WordPress tutorial Build a Website With WordPress 3.5 (2013 Edition)