Step One: Buy a Domain
A domain is the online “property” that you are renting. You can buy 1+ years and you usually save money if you buy multiple years. However, you may miss out on future deals if you buy ahead too many years. I would suggest buying no more than 5 years at once. Usually you pay $5-$20 per year, depending on what kind of words are in the domain.
There are several reasons to buy a domain name:
- It looks more professional www.mentalwellnesscounseling.com vs. www.wordpress.mental-wellness-counseling.com (not a real site because it looks stupid)
- The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tends to be better. Google, Bing, and Yahoo can all find it easier
- You can create specific names that all redirect to the same site to track marketing.
I have always used Name Cheap. I know a lot of people like GoDaddy because it is a bit cheaper, but I feel like their advertising doesn’t reflect what I want in my practice. Both of them usually offer domains for $10 or less.
Step Two: Buy Hosting
A host is where all of the information is stored for your website. It is so important to find a good host that will keep your information secure from others and easy to access by you.
I knew that I wanted to use Word Press, which I will talk about in just a minute. Most of the hosts I evaluated had you download Word Press to your own computer, then upload it to the host. This seems like a waste of time. Also, it did not work very well when I tried it (I just wanted to see what happened).
That’s an hour of my life I’m not getting back, but at least it helps you.
Lastly, some hosts have limits on what they can host and what they cannot. I knew that I would eventually want to do a podcast, e-book, and several other projects that take my counseling practice to those that can’t visit me in Traverse City.
As I considered all of this, it seems that Blue Host is the best. If I find out otherwise, I will be sure to let you know on my blog.
Also, I share a plan with a colleague. Since Blue Host allows unlimited domains, it is great! It’s usually around $5 per month. I also really like how well it integrates with the publishing platform WordPress. It’s really easy to install and get started. Watch my blog for more tutorials on the subject of setting up Blue Host: PracticeofthePractice.
Step Three: Publish
I use www.wordpress.org, which is free and super simple. I will be dedicating more to the specifics in future articles.
You might also like this article about how to make your email end with @whateveryourwebsiteis.com
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is a therapist, counselor, psychologist, and owner of Mental Wellness Counseling www.mentalwellnesscounseling.com in Traverse City, MI. He helps angry kids, frustrated parents, and distant couples…and just about everyone else. He is a frequent speaker in the Traverse City area, Michigan, and nationally. He helps counselors in private practice through his blog www.PracticeofthePractice.com and through individual consulting.