If there’s one thing the Internet is good for it has to be giving every single person a soapbox to stand on or the ability to own property, even if it’s digital. It doesn’t work out for the best always — many have abused the anonymity of the Internet to indulge in questionable behavior. But often enough, the digital revolution has enabled a personal or professional revolution for many people.
People like you. A guy, who has the things he likes, the thing he doesn’t like, ideas he’d like to see through. You’d be surprised how much freedom and opportunity you can create for yourself online. The Internet is huge, so there’s plenty of room for everyone to carve out their own personal piece of it. All you need to get it going is a website.
Picking the Right Theme
Before you take any actions towards creating your own online haven, the first thing you need to figure out is what’s it going to be about. That’s the most important decision you will need to make because it will affect everything from how much time you need to spend working on your website to how much money you’ll need to invest in it.
Do you need a place to vent? Your website will accommodate that need. Do you want to write about things from your unique perspective? You can. Do you want to create a website dedicated to your favorite guilty pleasure? There’s nothing stopping you.
Of course, you might be looking for opportunity more than entertainment. E-commerce is growing rapidly, with some sources estimating the growth at 23% year-over-year. Maybe you have an idea for a line of merchandise or have some other products or services you’d like to sell. Either way, using online channels to do it is usually a sound choice, and your website can be the perfect starting point for your new venture.
Name Your Domain, Find Hosting Services, and Get to Building
Your virtual piece of land will need a domain name. Most hosting service providers you’ll be looking at will probably offer domain registrar services, allowing you to register the domain name of your website. But it would be a good idea to do a brainstorming session or two before you start checking the availability of your domain name. Ideally, you’ll want to come out of those sessions with a few possible choices that are memorable and linked to the type of website you’ll want to create. Crazyrants.com might be a good address for your blog, but it probably wouldn’t be a good name for an online store that sells baby merchandise.
Your choice of hosting services will have a large impact on the performance of your website. It might not be so obvious early on, but as your website grows, bad hosting will start showing its ugly head soon enough and your website will start suffering for it. Be sure to research guaranteed downtime, bandwidth limits, and maybe read up on different hosting options.
You have two choices when it comes to actually creating your website. You can do it on your own, or you can hire someone who will do it for you. The former costs you time, the latter costs you money. You should seriously consider using WordPress to create and manage your website — it’s the world’s most popular content management system, used by publishers such as Forbes or The New Yorker. With a couple of plug-ins, it can also be used to build your very own online store.
Congratulations! Your Own Chunk of the Internet Is Ready to Be Populated
When you have the theme sorted out, the domain name bought, a good hosting plan with a reliable provider and a real website you can call your own, you can rest easy. For a minute or so. Your website needs to be populated by content, and it should have at least some of it before it goes live. You should have a couple of posts ready for your blog right away, or a couple of rants, or game reviews, or whatever you want to publish.
Or, if you chose to build an online store, it should be furnished with quality copy, product descriptions and images, and a payment system that will allow your visitors to actually buy your products. Soon enough, you’ll wish you’ve invested more in your home office setup because all of these activities will take some time.
And that’s without mentioning opening social media profiles and thinking about marketing. You can treat your slice of the Internet as an island that doesn’t host visitors, but the whole idea of having it in the first place was to publish things people will see. You’ll need to attract those people, and you can’t do it in this day and age without the help of social media and several other marketing channels. But hey, no one said that carving out your slice of the Internet will be easy. It might be worth the effort, though.