In this post I share how to quickly setup your own academic website, by buying hosting, a domain name, and installing WordPress. As there are many tutorials already on how to do these steps from the technical side (and things might differ between providers), this is more of an overview if you are considering this approach.
This post does not cover why you should have your own academic website, or why you should pay money for it. Yes, this is not a “how to quickly setup your own website for free” post, but don’t worry, all of this can be done for less than 10 EUR per month. Also, this is not THE only way to setup a website, but this is the way I have done it for several websites in the past, including this one. So, I’m assuming you already decided already you want your own professional website, and you think the website I have is decent 😉
Step 1: Decide on a domain name
Since you are going for a professional website, the best bet is probably some-variation-of-your-name.com. For the name, try your first name (like Felienne at felienne.com), or your whole name, if it is easy to remember (like Noeska at noeskasmit.com). If neither option is possible, you have to be a bit more creative. Whenever I say my last name out loud, I add that “it starts with C-H” in an attempt to remove some confusion. So, that’s why you are now on veronikach.com.
Why .com, you ask, if you are not a company? Yes, .nl is cheaper, and .net is prettier, and you can even get lots of cool alternatives, like .science. But the people who will want to go to your website, will probably type “.com” anyway, so just help them out. You can always register additional domains later 🙂
Step 2: Buy domain name and hosting
Since I’m assuming this is your first own website, you will want to buy both a domain name (around EUR 10 per year) and some hosting. Most hosting providers offer both – I’m currently quite happy with Siteground, where the StartUp package will cost you from 6 EUR per month, Bluehost has some cheaper alternatives.
When buying a domain name, most hosts will offer you the option to anonymize yourself as the owner of the domain. I did not do this, since it is clear that the website is about myself. However, the data you enter will be visible to people who look up your domain. So I would recommend using your work address/phone number.
Now, go ahead and proceed with the checkout. After a few steps, you should be the owner of your very own website. Congratulations!
Step 3: Find the administration panel
Once you get an email with all your hosting details, there should be instructions on how to access different options of your hosting package, through a tool like cPanel or DirectAdmin.
With SiteGround, I just log in with my customer details on their website, and go to the “Websites” tab. Each website has a “cPanel” button next to it.
Step 4: Install WordPress
CPanel has lots of interesting tools to improve your website, but now we want the WordPress autoinstaller.
Here a number of defaults will already be filled in. Most importantly, don’t forget to enter a valid email address, and to store your username (this should NOT be equal to “admin”) and your password in your password manager.
You can leave the other settings at their defaults and click “ïnstall”!
Step 5: Add some content!
Now your WordPress website should be ready! Login with the username/password you just created and explore the WordPress dashboard. Edit the pages/posts that are already created by default, and you have just setup your very own academic website!
Maybe your website is a bit basic now, but that can change very soon, as WordPress is easy to customize and there are a lot of themes and plugins available that you can install with a few clicks. If you are looking for some inspiration, you might like my other pages about academic websites:
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