How to start a personal website

How to start a personal website

With all the benefits of having a personal website, you may be wondering how do I start a personal website? Well, the good news is there are 3 options for you and I cover all of them here.

Let's just clarify one thing from the site. This is not a detailed step by step guide. I think while you need to know something to get started you also need to explore this topic and try things for yourself. After all, you are going to be running the website yourself so you should learn some of the basics. Not only that but the platforms I have mentioned change frequently and I do not go through the sign-up and setup processes that often so keeping a detailed guide up to date would be difficult.

Ghost / Ghost(pro)

The first option and the one I use is Ghost(pro). Ghost(pro) is the hosted and managed version of Ghost an open source content management tool that is really simple to use and delivers a writing experience that is second to none.

Ghost is great if you want your personal site to be focused on a blog and has a lot of tools built in to help you publish quickly and build an audience with newsletters out of the box.

If you do not know how to manage servers then Ghost(pro) is the way to go here and it's dead simple. Head over to ghost.org and sign up for a free trial. At the time of publishing, Ghost costs $9 per month when paid yearly. By default, you will be giving your-name.ghost.io as a domain name but this can be changed to a custom domain name at no extra cost and the setup is straight forward and easy.

It is that simple and now you have an attractive, easy to use, website online ready for you to start writing fresh and engaging content each week.

Squarespace

If you don't want the main part of your site to be focused on your blog or you want to do more on your website than write a blog then you should look at Squarespace.

Squarespace gives you a really easy drag 'n' drop website building tool and a number of really nice looking templates to get started. The writing tools are on par with other services of their type. Plans start at £10 per month when paid yearly and include unlimited page views and storage.

Just like Ghost getting started is easy, head over to squarespace.com and sign up for a free trial. You will be given a site like your-name.squarespace.com to get started and changing this over to your own domain name is easily done.

WordPress

The final option is WordPress. I work with WordPress daily for my day job as a web designer and while it is easy to use you do need more setup. WordPress needs hosting and a domain upfront to work. You can purchase both here.

Once you have your domain name and hosting setup you can install WordPress. Most hosting companies offer this as what is called a one-click install. After you have got your WordPress install running on your hosting you are ready.

WordPress has a large selection of free and paid themes to choose from and a huge collection of plugins to add additional functions to your website some of which you would likely need to install you want to start showing up on Google search. These plugin and theme options make WordPress the most powerful of the 3 platforms discussed here but also the most complex to get started on and maintain.

Domain Name

I have mentioned a few times in this article a domain name but what is one. A domain name is basically your-name.com or like mine matthewtemple.co.uk it is an easy to remember home for your website and they cost around £10 per year depending on which domain name you decide on.    

They are really simple to buy and set up. You can get yours here.