In today’s day and age, there is simply no excuse for every short-term vacation rental property owner to have an attractive and functional website your property. There are free ad-supported websites and WordPress hosting sites that will host your site for just a few dollars a month. Potential renters will appreciate that you have a dedicated website for your property with additional photos and extra info about your space for rent.
It’s so easy to have a professional grade website for your rental property up and running in just an hour or two. WordPress is the perfect platform for attractive websites that will help to provide additional marketing for your Airbnb or VRBO property.
There are 3 primary steps to getting your blog started.
Choose a website platform. Also called a Content Management System (CMS). Our experts recommend WordPress, which powers roughly 50% of the world’s websites. Drupal and Joomla are two other main content management platforms. We’ll get into the pros and cons of each CMS further down the page.
Choose domain name. A very important part of the process! You want to make sure it is memorable, something that catches your attention. You want it be relevent to your topic and uniquely different from all of the other websites out there.
Set up your website, choose your theme, and customize. This is the step where we’ll spend the majority of our time. There are hundreds of free and premium themes to choose from and we’ll share the expert tips on how to make your website have the style you want and the functionality you need.
Select Which Platform You Will Use To Create Your Website.
There are three primary platforms that power the majority of the websites in the world. You may see these platforms referred to as Content Management Systems (CMS). It is important to learn about all three because once you commit to building your site on one content system it is difficult to move to a different CMS.
Certain platforms require you be familiar with some HTML or CSS, while other platforms like WordPress do not require you to have any previous website building knowledge. If you are a beginner you will likely want to choose the easiest to use and most popular platform in the world, WordPress.
WordPress powers more than 50% of the websites in the world. There’s a good reason for this. It is intuitive and user-friendly but also powerful and robust with the features a beginner needs to create a professional website without learning coding or website development techniques.
Choose A Domain Name And Select Hosting Options.
The next step (if you haven’t already done this) is to think of your domain name, make sure it’s available, and get it registered.
8 Tips For Choosing The Best Domain Name For Your Blog
- Make your domain name as short as possible. Studies have shown that short domains are easier to remember and are better for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
- Choose a domain name that’s easy to type. You want to reduce the risk of potential visitors mistyping your name.
- Keywords are your friend. Consider using one or two relevant keywords to help others understand your blog niche right away.
- Using hyphens/numbers/slang is generally a bad idea. As mentioned above, you want a unique name that can’t be mistaken for a different website. Having numbers or hyphens is going to inevitably leave open the possibility of someone visiting a different site when they are actually trying to visit yours.
- Use your location to your advantage. If you’re a local business trying to attract customers in your area, try adding cities or states to your domain name.
- Research your domain name to make sure that there aren’t other similar companies with the same name. Make sure you’re able to get the relevant social media accounts and registrations.
- Make sure the domain name extension is applicable to your subject matter. Of course .com is most popular by far, but after being around for so many years there are a limited number of quality .com domain names remaining in the registry.
- Find a way to make people REMEMBER your blog. Make it something unique, out of the box… a good domain name can set you apart from other websites in your space.
NameStation.com is a recommended free tool for assisting with the processs of discovering new domain names. Using keywords and lists of things like Top 100 keywords or popular prefixes and suffixes, NameStation can help blog owners to quickly research the availability of hundreds of domain names at once.
The nice things about WordPress.com is that it’s free and they will give you a free WordPress domain name. It sounds like an appealing price until you read the fine print and realize that the free package includes slower hosting speeds and the free domain is in the format: “YourChosenWebsiteName.WordPress.com”
This may be fine for casual hobby bloggers but if you really want to get your website started right with professional hosting speeds and your own domain name, I highly recommend installing WordPress on your own hosting account. For only about $3-$6 per month you can get your website started the right way, the professional way, in under an hour. It may sound more difficult compared to setting up a free WordPress.com account, but the long list of benefits will make you thankful that you took these extra easy steps.
When it comes to website hosting, I always only recommend Bluehost. I’ve been a customer of BlueHost’s for more than 8 years and I’ve been recommending them to my clients ever since. They provide genuinely great customer service and they have industry-leading technology for best possible prices. Trust me, I know there are dozens of website hosts out there that have entered the market. I make sure to continue using a variety of hosts to make sure I’m using the best and year after year I continue to recommend BlueHost.
Bluehost is the largest name in WordPress hosting for a reason. Since 1996 Bluehost has been providing top-notch hosting with 24/7 live support. They are endorsed as an official WordPress recommended hosting provider and are frequently ranked at the top of hosting comparison tests. Free website builder offers 1000’s of templates with 1-click installation. Currently offering 63% off exclusively for BlogCost readers.
Some of the reasons our experts recommend BlueHost:
- FREE Domain Name
- FREE SSL Certificate
- 1-Click WordPress Installs
- 24/7 Support
- Host Unlimited # of Websites
- Money-Back Guarantee
Wondering how our experts compare website hosting services?
The BlogCost Proprietary Website Comparison Platform is what sets our website apart from the whole cluster of sites who make an attempt at earning affiliate income by repurposing content online or using press reviews to fill up a blog review website with content. There is a big difference between having experts who are actively using all of the products and services on the market versus websites that create content based on keywords and affiliate links rather than actual knowledge and in-depth experience.
The BlogCost Proprietary Website Comparison Platform uses a variety of different metrics and key performance indicators to accurately guage what type of performance a website hosting platform is actually delivering for their customers, not what they “claim” to deliver in their marketing materials. The testing results and performance data are updated monthly and then compiled and compared to see how each hosting provider stacks up to the competition using accurate, verifiable data.
There are three primary categories of third-party tools that our experts use to constantly monitor performance quality and ultimately narrow down our recommendations to just a handful of companies. These categories are:
Page Speed Monitoring (Pingdom)
Load Testing Software (Load Impact)
Having a fast website is a key to developing a successful online presence. A slow web site will increase your bounce rate, reduce your search engine ranking & reduce conversion rates. These factors can certainly negatively affect the bottom line. We use Load Impact to . Being able to assure quality and performance optimization is becoming an increasingly critical component when trying to attract website visitors. Load testing involves putting simulated user demand on software a website in in order to test behavior in a variety of conditions. Understanding how each website host handles increased simulated user demand allows us to determine how a site will handle a sudden increase in web traffic.
Hosting Server Speed (Bitcatcha)
In addition to monitoring website page speed, it’s equally important to monitor website host speed from various locations around the globe. A host server speed tool like Bitcatcha produces reports on the response time of the hosting servers based on site requests from around the world.
Comparing the Different Types of WordPress Web Hosting Options
Shared WordPress Hosting
For beginners and those still exploring the robust features of WordPress, Shared hosting is far and away the most popular. It is the most economical and is the ideal starting point for many blog owners. Essentially, shared hosting means multiple websites are sharing the same server. The server load is balanced across a multitude of websites it allows server resources to be allocated efficiently and cost-effectively.
Shared hosting is generally recommended by experts for small businesses and for blog owners who are creating a new website.
WordPress VPS Hosting
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. It is a virtual machine created through partioning a physical server into multiple server machines. While you are still sharing the server with other customers, VPS hosting gives you practically as much contral as a dedicated server would. There are increased privacy benefits and the ability to run software on the server itself. For those who want the privacy of VPS hosting without the added IT managment concerns, managed VPS hosting may be for you. Managed VPS means that the hosting provider will manage system upgrades along the way on your behalf.
WordPress Dedicated Hosting
With dedicated hosting you’re leasing a physical server from the hosting provider. Dedicated hosting provides the site owner with the ability to make additional choices such as which operating system and hardware to use. Dedicated hosting is generally used only by high-traffic blogs due to the cost. New bloggers will likely not need to start off with Dedicated hosting; but once traffic increases it may be an option worth considering. If you don’t have much experience with servers and system administration you may want to consider Managed WordPress hosting. Managed hosting provides software updates and server monitoring services.
Managed WordPress Hosting
With the rapid rise in sites using WordPress, several hosting providers are now offering Managed WordPress hosting. The benefit of these hosting services is they provide all of the necessary management your site requires, including optimizing performance, monitoring security, and administering site updates. But these premium services from WordPress experts come at a higher price compared with managing your own WordPress website. But if you can justify the higher expense you can rest assured knowing you have a team of WordPress experts behind your site 24/7. We recommend WPEngine for Managed WordPress Hosting.
Set Up Your Website & Customize.
Once you have your domain name squared away and your hosting account created, the final step to setting up your website is to install your content management system on your hosting account. If you’ve selected WordPress, your web host should have “1-click installation”. The one-click install makes it fairly straightforward but just to be clear here are the steps you’ll need to take:
Log into your hosting account.
Go into your control panel.
Click on “1 Click Installs”.
Locate the WordPress icon and click it.
Choose the domain where you will install your site.
Click the “Install Now” link. You’re done!
Awesome! Your site is installed on the server and it’s ready for your to start customizing.
Login to your WordPress dashboard and then under the “Appearance” section on the left, select “Themes“. This will give you an array of different theme options for your website. You will notice that the themes vary drastically in terms of their functions and design styles. There are hundreds of free themes in addition to thousands of premium themes that are available in the market.
The theme controls several key aspects of your website:
- Page Design & Style
- Color Schemes
- Widget Placement
- Page Layouts
- Font Designs
- Menu Structure
An important step in the process of starting your blog is to make sure that the theme you choose will be able to accompdate the vision you have for your site. With so many themes out there, it’s often not worth trying to do too many customizations to a theme. If you find youself needing to do a lot of customizations, you can may want yo double check to make sure there isn’t a different WordPress theme that will better meet your needs and help you get your site up and running as smoothly as possible.
Using an organization chart can help with brainstorming about the structure you want your website to have. Make sure you’re planned out what your primary categories are and how the secondary categories fit in. It’s not always as easy as it sounds!
There are free WordPress Themes and Premium WordPress themes. With so many hundreds of great themes in the marketplace, it can take some time to align your website goals with your WordPress theme’s capabilities. BlogCost, for example, is built on the Automattic theme called Apostrophe 2. We like to keep the design and layout fairly straighforward so there were not a lot of customizations that needed to be added on.
If your website is going to have more robust features, you may want to consider Premium WordPress themes and plugins. We’ve gathered together several of the very best WordPress theme designers for your review.
Take A Moment To Celebrate… You’ve Created Your Website!
Now it’s time for the fun part… adding your content and marketing your site. Here are a few tips to get started. Always remember that content is king! Having original content on your website is going to drive more visitors and rank your site higher on search engines. A variety of original articles with eye-catching photos and videos will keep your site fresh and keep visitors returning and sharing your content.
Most people agree that blogs (in general) look better with some images and photographs. Even websites that are text-focused often have some images and graphics to lend some color and vibrancy to the blog. But it can be difficult to take your own photos and optimize the lighting and balance while still producing great content for your website.
That’s where stock photos come in. Stock photos are also called “Royalty-Free” images. They can be legally used and reused for commercial design purposes. Our experts have tested more than a dozen different different stock image companies and once again, ShutterStock.com has come out on top.
Shutterstock has an expansive library of the most images at the best prices. Whatever your website topic, you will surely be able to find highly-relevent professional images.
There are also serveral new free stock images websites, including:
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization best practices change periodically according to new algorithms and processes used by the major search engines, including Google and Bing. Beyond just inserting relavent keywords within the metatags of your website, it’s important to keep up to date on the latest SEO trends to see how best to adapt your blog.
There are a total of eight different aspects of Search Engine Optimization. Obviously some are more important than others, but the point is that SEO best practices require a holistic approach to building and maintaing your blog.
The Eight Most Important Aspects of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Website Analysis
- Client Requirements
- Keyword Research
- Content Writing
- Website Optimization
- SEO Submission
- Link Building