Ask Nile: How To Start Your Own Website?

ask-nile-thumbnailI get a lot of people asking my on how to start your own website. However, it really depends on whether you are going to do it yourself or if you’re going to hire someone. Once you have decided, the plan is nearly the same, but a few added steps within the general ones are needed. Because the majority of the people who have asked me this question usually want to try this alone, I carefully put together 5 steps on how to start your own website.

How To Start Your Own Website

Plan your site.

Yes, you might want to start a business, or a blog, or maybe some of both, but that is a simple decision. It’s what you want your site to do, a site focus. You will need to put together a plan for your site, much like a business.

You will need to include in your plan, how you will present your information or products and even your target audience. This is what you will refer to when it comes to building your site and your marketing campaigns.

Purchase a domain name and web hosting.

A domain name or site address or if you prefer, an official URL is one step in the right direction toward branding your business. However, aside from a domain name, you also need a place to put your website, and that requires needing to purchase web hosting too.

The web host is what lets your site be viewable to the rest of the Internet once you have set up your site.

Install WordPress

For the newbie, WordPress is a content management system that is easy to install, easy to use, and makes creating posts and pages fast. It is open source and free. There are also a lot of free WordPress plugins that add dynamic functionality like contact forms, shopping carts, social network sharing capabilities, and more. I actually have some WordPress videos on my Youtube channel that may help you learn how to use WordPress.

If you are on a bootstrap budget, you can start a site under $50 (for hosting and domain at a per year cost) without having someone doing any WordPress design or development work for you.

In fact, some of the default themes that come as a default with installing WordPress are more than ready to use, and the CMS even has a simple theme customizer built into it in order to change some of the colors to suit your personal preferences. Of course, there are also thousands of free WordPress themes that are more than decent to get you at least started.

You don’t have to be perfect from the start, but pick the theme that will help you.

Write and and publish your content.

Don’t wait for perfection. Just write and publish. You can always edit and adjust your site’s content in time. Thousands of websites are being created each day and waiting for the right time is time lost, and potential money not made.

Make sure your site has a good front page, about page, and contact page to start out with. It’s important to state your site’s purpose so they know what you are offering and what you would like them to do while on your website.

Because this is not an article about promoting your site, and that I’ve been asked to cover that topic, I will cover it in another Ask Nile post.

WordPress 3.7 Available

wordpress-cat-thumbRecently, Matt Mullneweg announced the release of WordPress 3.7, which is nicknamed Basie after Count Basie. Yes, with tradition, this is named after another jazz player. You can read up on Count Basie in Wikipedia.

The hugest thing about WordPress 3.7 is true automatic updates, rather than one click installs. Any security updates or in between smaller updates are to be automatically applied in the future.


Other updates are that WordPress will suggest stronger passwords and better global support for language add-ons and such.

Truthfully, I still want the option to control my updates. In fact, my own update for 3.7 wasn’t as smooth as I had liked compared to my beta site I’ve been testing 3.7 release candidates on.

My site was that upon clicking he update to WordPress 3.7 link in my backend and going through the update, my browser displayed a “No data received” page and I had to reload. When I reloaded, I got a generic “WordPress has been updated” page. I went ahead and put a request to disable automatic updates as I am really picky and want to make sure even for my live site that things go smoothly.

I went ahead and submitted my issue and request for being able to disable the new automatic updates put into 3.7 to the Alpha/Beta forum in the WordPress Support forum.

UPDATE: You can turn off automatic updates, but according to the WordPress 3.7 Master List post, they frown upon it… due to the fact these smaller updates are security updates.

There are several options to disable automatic upgrades according to the Configuring Automatic Background Updates page in the Codex.

Again, this is not a recommended solution for everyone, but it is available if you prefer it, or may need to.

Just a heads up, WordPress 3.8 has been worked on simultaneously and should be around the corner. Some of the talks in these past months were toward API, MD6 proposal for options of other styled user interfaces for the WordPress backend, and other ideas. Whether those make it to 3.8 or beyond depends on the community overall. Podcast – 2013 Mini Episode 5

blondishnet-podcastI give a lot of tough love out to bloggers, mostly due to the fact that when you step into blogging for your business or even making money from it, you have to hold some type of standard. It’s acceptable to get by making mistakes in the beginning, but as a blogger, your blog must reflect your growth.

In this mini podcast episode, I point that out, particular with the bloggers out there using English as a second, third, or more language. It’s tough. I know, I’ve been there, but for many whining about why their site is having problems, they forget to actually go back into the content and read it.

This episode is a little over 3 minutes, but I have a small challenge at the end for bloggers.

Video: Podcast – 2013 Mini Episode 5 Podcast – 2013 Mini Episode 5


#WordPressWednesday 2013 Volume 11

It’s interesting, some #WordPressWednesday are more on development, others on regular news, and then sometimes there are a lot of interesting theme’s released.

I’ve decided to start including in my recap on newly released plugins in the WordPress plugin repository as I’ve been wanting to add this for some time. This allows you to check them out and see how they are. There are a lot plugins out there, but as users, we won’t know how well a plugin will work unless someone tries it.

I’ve noticed there’s been quite a few posts put out in this past week that for those who are developers, or those interested in the progress behind the next WordPress release can keep updated.

#WordPressWednesday 2013 Volume 11

WordPress Plugins

Here are the 10 newest plugins released into the WordPress Plugin Directory this past week:

WordPress Themes

Brian Gardner announces the release of FocusPro, another responsive child theme for the StudioPress Genesis framework.

WordPress Development

Mel Choyce tells us about some of the changes for MP6, which is geared toward the WordPress backend. – MP6 — 3.8 Proposal

WPBeginner shares a few tutorials on How to Create a Custom WordPress Widget and How to Add A Free Live Chat in WordPress.

Andrew Nacin announces the release of WordPress 3.7 RC2.

WordPress Community News

Jeff Chandler shares news on WPShout coming under new ownership.

Brian Krogsgard announces that WordSesh2 is around the corner. This is a online event filled with presentations.

Jeff Chandler brings up the topic on Why Are We Paying For GPL Licensed Code?

Sue Laren covers some areas on Designing Responsively.

I hope you enjoyed this past week’s #WordPressWednesday news roundup.

#SharingSundays Recap 2013 Volume 24

sharingsundays-fb-event-thumbnail Don’t forget to make sure you are keeping your blog fresh with new posts. If you an at least do one in a week, it is better than publishing none at all. Oh, and when you do publish a new article, don’t forget to come by my Facebook fan page and share your most recent post for #SharingSundays. :)

#SharingSundays is an event intended for bloggers to get a little more exposure to their website. While any blogger can link drop, it is making the effort to visit other’s websites, share articles, and leave comments that not only help a blogger grow into good habits, but grow their own blog circle.

This week’s sharing was light, but all of these are great posts.

#SharingSundays Recap 2013 Volume 24

Shalu Sharma, who enjoys writing about travel, tels us How to start a travel blog and make money eBook.

Devesh Sharma teaches us How to Schedule WordPress Blog Posts with Bufferapp.

Sherryl Perry has rounded up some tips on her Friday Finds series Do-Follow Social Media Sites and a Filter for Facebook | FridayFinds

Marquita Herald shares heart warming stories on How a Simple Act of Kindness Creates Everyday Heroes

Stop by these posts, read, share, and enjoy. See you next Sunday!

#FanPageFriday Recap 2013 Volume 23

fanpagefriday-thumbnailAnother Friday means another #FanPageFriday recap post. #FanPageFriday is a weekly event to help fan page owners connect with each other… a mini networking event. :)

To take part in #FanPageFriday, you have to visit and like my Facebook fan page – Nile Flores. Then, you have to do 2 things:

  • Share your own fan page.
  • Share a fan page that is owned by another person.

It’s important to share 2 pages and not just your own because this is an event that encourages goodwill between businesses.

Below are some of the fan pages shares for this past week’s #FanPageFriday event.

#FanPageFriday Recap 2013 Volume 23

Social Media Sass


We are a social media and digital marketing agency in Florida. We make your social media rock!


A site dedicated to helping people start a blog in 4 easy steps.

Natalie Gouche’- Mogul Mom


My passion is helping your business grow! Shall we begin?

Red Rooster Baskets & Gifts

Red Rooster Baskets is a family owned and operated online gifting company run by the Volner Family in Tucson, Arizona.

Amy’s Herb Store


This is a gathering place or library, providing you with information about herbs and health.



Mavatar is the smartest way to shop online, period! Mavatar iPad App or browser addon searches for coupons online as you put items in your cart and applies them automatically, ensuring you get the best price available.

Shift Your Style


Brave Communication LLC


BRAVE Communication LLC provides interpersonal communications skills consulting, training, and coaching to individuals and organizations.

Wholly Healing


The mission of Wholly Healing LLC is to guide men, women, and children of all ages through the healing process of eating well, stress reduction and management, holistic lifestyle changes, forgiveness, releasing emotional trauma, and living a positive and happy life.

Aurelia E Weems, CPA


Mensing Consulting Solutions


Blessing and Success by Ceci Mejia


I will sharing useful articles about starting things, completing things, and trying new things—and being “awesomely productive” when doing so.

Glenda Silen-A Future of Opportunities

Glenda Silen is an Entrepreneur that Encourages and Helps People To Succeed in their Businesses

Internet Marketing Traffic Tips


Without traffic you have no business. Start here!

Sugar Control Diet

Control blood sugar levels to control diabetes 2. You are What You Eat.

Center for Inspiring Greatness!, LLC.


Harmeet Singh

Internet marketer teaching business owners to generate online business income using Facebook.

Carele Belanger

Social Media, Easy as ABC

Nitish Dhiman


Social Media Strategist | Internet Marketer

Navneet Sau


Social media marketing strategist & blogger who loves sharing social media tips to grow an online business on web.

Extraordinary Freedom


Too many entrepreneurs are stressed out, working too hard and for too little money. It doesn’t have to be that way for you. Let me show you how.

Craighead Productions

Craighead Productions is a video production company bringing you films of different variety.



Our FB page is designed to supplement our main site and newsletter. You will find that “extra” information that is reserved for our Facebook fans.

Wow… that was a lot this week. Check them out and hope to see you next Friday for #FanPageFriday. Again, in order to participate in this weekly event, you have to like my Facebook fan page and wait until I post the event on the page.

Interview With An Influential Blogger: Sadie Lankford

influentialbloggerseriesThe first time I met Sadie Lankford, it was at the Show Me The Blog 2012 conference. We connected immediately before her presentation as I like meeting other sassy people.

Sadie is a blogger from the St. Louis area who covers a wide variety of subjects n her site called Slap Dash Mom. Just because the word “mom” is in her site’s name, does mean she’s a mommy blogger. She is a mom of three girls, but she doesn’t fit in the regular niche of mommy bloggers well known for practically talking about their small children or baby products.

Sadie is a also a lesbian who doesn’t fear what others try to say and she’s not afraid to tell it how it is. She really covers it all. She warns new visitors that they could be offended as she does cover some controversial topics. Her connection with her readers and followers are strong, bring in between 100 to 500 responses on individual posts on her Facebook fan page alone. This gal knows how to drive in loyal and active following.

I want to thank Sadie for taking the time to answer my questions for my series on an Interview with an Influential Blogger.

NILE: What inspired you to start blogging, or why did you start blogging?

SADIE: I’ve always been a writer, so it was just natural for me to start blogging when I learned how to type. I was about 14 when I started my first blog. I continued over the years, and have had dozens since then. I started to monetize in 2012.

NILE: How did you go about promoting your own blog/ website?

SADIE At first, I promoted on a mom’s forum I belonged to. It kind of took off from there, via social media.

Currently, I promote all of my posts through Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google Plus.

NILE: Have you ever had some difficulty in the beginning when trying to reach a target audience? If so, how did you overcome that issue?

SADIE: I still struggle with that issue because I talk about so many different things, that my target audience is very broad. I don’t have a specific niche. I talk about everything from fitness to social issues, so lots of different people read. I’m okay with that.

NILE: Now, you are a mom, but don’t like to take up the “mommy blogger” niche? What made you decide upon not being regarded as a mommy blogger?

SADIE: I don’t really like “mommy” blogs. To me, they’re boring. They talk about diapers, baby food, and way too many product reviews and giveaways. Some even come off as super spammy. I know we all have to make a living, but when I visit a blog I want to read real content – not just fluff. And I don’t care how many wet diapers Junior had today.

NILE: What has been the highlight point of your blog?

SADIE: My highlight point was when I shared my daughter’s bullying story and got so much positive feedback! So many
people shared their stories, their kids stories… it was nothing short of amazing. I still get emails almost
daily about it and it’s been over a year.

NILE: Can you share 1 or 2 tips on how to become a better blogger, at least from your own experience?

SADIE: Definitely! The number one tip I tell EVERYONE is… be yourself! Don’t try to be a mommy blogger if you’re not one.

Don’t try to fit into a niche. While niche blogs are profitable, if you want to have a voice you have to be real, and not everyone fits in a niche. Don’t focus too much on fitting inside the box.

NILE: In your opinion, what is it that you believe a person must do in order to become influential amongst their niche?

SADIE: Be honest and real – people can sniff a fake out a mile away. Do your research. You can’t just act like you know it all. If you want to be regarded as an authority, you’ve gotta be able to back it up. That’s why I’m an authority in snark. Yes, if snark were a niche, I’d fit.


Sadie Lankford enjoys photography, learning sign language, scrapbooking, writing, blogging, and playing with her kids and dog… amongst many other things. She also enjoys ranting and cooking.

Have you met Sadie or read her blog?

Premium WordPress Plugin Review: Foobox

foobox-thumbnailFoobox is a plugin built by the guys at FooPlugins that allows WordPress users a responsive lightbox effect for images and videos. Not only that, FooBox allows for social sharing too. Here are some of the cool features of FooBox:

  • Responsive design
  • Works with WordPress galleries
  • Ability to customize look and feel
  • Social Sharing
  • Works with videos
  • Allows you to add CSS classes to help make the plugin integrate well with your site’s design
  • Option to enable image protection
  • Ability to deep link
  • Has an option for a slideshow
  • Can integrate with Facebook Open Graph or if you are using WordPress SEO by Yoast, it will defer to that plugin’s settings
  • By adding a target in linked images, the plugin can deploy the lightbox on single images without having to use the overall site option to force all images to use FooBox

and much more…

This plugin is well built with a lot of options. For some, it may be a lot, but FooBox comes with some documentation to help you set your plugin up to your specifications. I didn’t have much of a problem setting up the plugin on my site. I just caution that you go through all of the options carefully.

For developers, you can go one step further by adding more custom CSS or Custom JavaScript.

I’m actually going to cover some of the option I am using on in order for this plugin to work. I’ve set up my plugin to make sure my WordPress Media Library Galleries use FooBox. On individual posts, I am using the following code in images I have linked to get the lightbox effect:

I’ve taken a screenshot of actual code from an image using this feature:

foobox code example

And, if you click that image above, it will open with the FooBox lightbox effect too. :) Pretty cool, huh?

I will caution that in any plugin using jQuery or JavaScript, you may run into conflicts with other plugins using the lightbox effect. This plugin does have an option to disable lightbox effect for other plugins and adopt the one from FooBox.

The FooBox plugin is a premium WordPress plugin that costs $27 per year for a personal license and the cost for businesses or developers (multiple site use) is $97. The license is per year so it covers updates and any support that FooPlugins needs to do.

This plugin is worth the investment if you don’t want to use NextGen Gallery and want to use your WordPress Media Library. It will integrate with the NextGen Gallery, but I’ve found it better to just use alone.

I want to thank the guys at FooPlugins for giving me a copy of FooBox in order to check out their plugin. They were able to answer my questions promptly, even outside their normal business hours. I don’t expect that from all premium WordPress plugin developers, and don’t expect them to do it for everyone, but they are nice gentlemen who know their stuff. It was well worth the time and I recommend it as a nice little investment for most WordPress users that are using images within their posts.

Have you tried FooBox? How did you like it?