There are many ways to make money online without a website but I don’t do any of them so I won’t be writing about them.
Vicky and I do, however, have several websites so that is the topic of this post.
Everything you see online is just a digital file, same as you have on your own computer. These files are hosted on a server, which is just a computer that is optimized for sharing files over the Internet.
You could use your desktop computer to host your website but you would need server software and a static IP address. I have done it but it really isn’t worth the headaches. Unless you are a company there’s really no point and besides it is not an option for a digital nomad.
There are a gazillion hosting companies that will be happy to host your website on their servers. The cheapest option, and all you need, is called shared hosting. This just means you only need to rent a small part of the server along with several other people’s websites. It’s like being a tenant in an office building. You’re just renting an office, not the whole building.
A downside to shared hosting is that many of the hosting companies get greedy and try to cram too many sites onto one server. It’s like renting the broom closet instead of the office. In this situation your site may run slowly and may even be unavailable for several minutes at a time.
I have changed my hosting provider many times over the years searching for the best one. I finally settled on NameCheap. Best price, technically great servers and absolutely the best customer service you will find in any company – not just hosting companies.
I’m providing an affiliate link to NameCheap because this is the one company I think you should use and not for the few dollars we will get paid if you sign up using our link. But before you click our link you need to think about a domain name.
Domain names are like an entry in a telephone book (remember those). The telephone system understands the phone number, not the name. The Internet is the same, it understands 22.214.171.124 not geoffandvickywells.com.
Before you can create your website you will need to register a domain name. As it’s name suggests, NameCheap is one of the cheapest places to register your domain name. This is an annual cost so it pays to get the best price. Don’t be fooled by companies that charge a small initial fee and then stick it to you every year after.
Pick your domain name carefully
If possible make your domain name the same phrase you expect people to type into Google when they search for whatever it is your website is about.
For example, https://instantpotvideorecipes.com is one of our websites that collects videos of Instant Pot recipes. Another one of our sites is, https://videomarketingtemplates.com which, not surprisingly, is a site where we sell marketing videos created from a selection of templates.
Even if you plan to pay for advertising, (which can be very expensive) you need to pay attention to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and having a search keyword as your URL is a huge benefit.
When you get to NameCheap you will be able to search for available domain names. All the domain registrars are searching the same database so no point in searching anywhere else. Over the years, what you may think of as the “best” domains have already been taken but not to worry you just have to get a little more creative.
Try to narrow down the subject you are interested in and come up with a domain name that reflects that narrow focus. If you use that “long tail keyword” as your domain name you will have a better chance to rank higher in the SERP’s, Search Engine Result Pages.
Try to get a dot com domain if possible as they tend to rank higher and are more expected by visitors and therefore are more trusted.
Actually you don’t have to leave this page, you can search for available domain names using the tool below. Just type the domain name you would like to check and click the button.
Which hosting plan should you buy?
As I mentioned before you should be looking at Shared Hosting and, same as most other hosting providers, NameCheap has three options.
If you are just starting you should choose one of the first two options. The major difference between them is that the starter plan limits you to three websites but the middle plan lets you have unlimited websites.
Of course, it is not anywhere near that simple or straightforward. All hosts offer these unlimited plans but they aren’t really unlimited. Only certain parts of the configuration are unlimited. For example, you can host unlimited domains but you will quickly exceed the file allowance so this is a practical limitation. The cheapest plan allows you to host three domains but this is not an actual limit to the number of websites you can have.
You can get around this limitation by creating sub-domains such as store.domain.com or books.domain.com. You will see that I have done that with most of my domains like https://store.reluctantvegetarians.com and blog.reluctantvegetarians.com. In these cases, it is not to get around any hosting limitation but to allow me a way to separate three different parts and designs of the same domain.
OK, that’s enough for this post. Click the button, go to NameCheap, buy your domain name and hosting plan then come back and we’ll talk about WordPress.