Ever since I finished my A/Ls I wanted to start a website. I didn’t know anything about websites but I was fascinated by how people created websites and made money! I wanted to do that.
I struggled for 6 years without knowing exactly how to do it. I didn’t want to get it done by someone else because I’m stubborn like that. I wanted to do it myself. I started reading ebooks about creating websites. I started practicing HTML and CSS (coding languages) with little or no avail. I would start to code a website and give up after few weeks.
Finally, in 2015, I did it. I created www.jump.lk and it was super easy. I created it without using a single code.
So what did I miss? I missed guidance and advice for 6 years. Gladly, you’re not going to waste 6 years like I did because of this post. This is the post I wish I read before starting my first website.
After receiving so many inquiries from our readers (people just like you), I finally decided to write a post on everything you need to know about creating a website in Sri Lanka. Once you finish reading this post, you will know exactly how to create a website which has a .lk domain (something like www.jump.lk).
Before starting anything, let’s shatter some common myths about building a website.
# Myth 1 – You need to know coding to create a website
If you’re stressing out that you don’t know any “coding” or other “technical” things don’t worry. You don’t need that. I have basically created two sexy websites (www.jump.lk and www.jumpbooks.lk) without any technical knowledge whatsoever. And even if you need technical knowledge, it’s freely available on the internet. That’s how I basically did everything.
#Myth 2 – You need a lot of money to build a website
Creating a website doesn’t cost you so much money. To create www.jumplk I only spent about Rs.15, 000. If you follow the steps in this post, I’ll share exactly how I did it and you can even do it with less than that.
#Myth 3 – Creating your website is difficult
Creating a website is not very difficult and it’s not easy either. But any creative thing in life is challenging. Otherwise, everybody would do it. But the satisfaction of creating a website on your own beats all the little difficulties you face. If you follow every instruction I have given to the dot, you will find it a piece of cake.
What is a website?
I’m not going to be all technical here because if you want the technical definition, you can Google it. Following is my simple definition of a website.
A website is your home on the internet. That’s where people would find you and your products or services on the internet. That’s your little space on this vast internet.
Someone can argue that you’re on Facebook and people can easily find you on Facebook. Yes. I agree. But your Facebook page is not “your home.” It’s like you’re living there on “rent.” If Facebook decides to kick you out, they can do it. Also, you don’t have full control of your followers on Facebook. You can’t message everyone at once and there are so many restrictions.
It’s the same with every social media network out there. Even though you can create free profiles, you really don’t have the total control of your page.
Why do you need a website?
When you’re selling a product or a service, you need to have total control of your customers and followers. That’s why you need a space on your own. Where you can do whatever you want whenever you want to.
When you have a website, it’s “your” home. No one else can tell you can do and cannot do. You can even run naked and no one can kick you out because it’s your home.
If you need to engage with anyone (customers, followers, fans etc.) you need a website on your own. Even if you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur, small business owner, writer or anyone for that matter, you need a place on your own on the internet. That’s going to be your website.
If you’re still not convinced, trust me and get a website. You will thank me later.
Step 1 – Getting a domain name
First things first. You need a name for your website. That’s how people are going to find out your website. If you want to find me on the internet, you have to type www.jump.lk. That’s the domain name of this website.
Think of the domain name as your home “address.” Every house has to have an address. Otherwise, how on earth would people visit your home.
There are various kinds of domain names. .com .org .net .lk .co .io. .biz .club and the list go on. This post is about creating a website with .lk domain. In case you’re super dumb, .lk stands for “Lanka.” Every country related domain names such as .in .us .uk .ca are called Top Level Domains.
If you’re planning to target Sri Lankans as your customers or followers, I would highly recommend you to get a .lk domain name. That would immediately convey that your website is Sri Lankan. If you’re planning to reach the global market, I would recommend you to get a .com domain since it has a more worldly application.
Now let’s get your domain name.
Visit www.nic.lk. That’s where you can get your .lk domain name. They are called the LK Domain Registry and they are the sole administrator of .lk domains in Sri Lanka. LK Domain Registry also has a list of official partners who resell .lk domain names. You can check them out here.
If the domain name you request is available, you will be prompted to the next page. Remember. You can’t buy domain names which are already registered. You will have to come up with your own unique domain name.
Gladly no one is dumb enough to buy idiot.lk so hurray! That’s available.
Then select the second option (CAT2) which is LKR 3000.00. Don’t select the first option unless you need all those unwanted domains. Just click Add on CAT2.
Then scroll down until you see the following Order Summary. Click Continue.
Then you will be prompted to the next page where you will have to provide a reason for your domain purchase. Mention the exact reason with relevant information for purchasing your domain. If it’s to start a cupcake business, mention that you’re going to sell cupcakes online. If you want to create a blog about online marketing, mention that. If your reason is not clear, they will email again for a valid reason. You don’t have to go through that if you mention the correct reason for sufficient details.
Then click Login and Continue. Then you will be directed to a Sign Up page. You can follow the instructions and sign up for a new account. It’s super simple. Just follow the steps. Since I already have an account with them, I simply logged in.
Once you finish the signup, you will be prompted to the following page. Just click Continue.
Then you will see the following page. Again click Continue.
Then you will see the following page. Again click Continue.
Then you will see the following page. Click Continue again (No more Continues. I promise).
Finally tick I accept the Terms and Conditions and click Finish.
Then they will send you the following email. You have to click the link they send you to verify your domain name request. Even though they ask you to click on the link, it will not take you anywhere (because they haven’t linked it!). So copy the link and paste on your browser. Then follow the instructions.
Once the verification is successful, you will get another email requesting your NIC copy, Proof of address from a utility bill and a signed letter. This wasn’t there previously when I registered my domain. But nevertheless, send the required documents.
Once you send the required documents, you will receive another email with the payment details. Follow the instructions and make the payment.
Once you’re in your account, go to My Domains and you will see the domain you requested. On the Actions tab, you will see a small dollar note. Click on that to make your payment. I usually pay online. It’s super easy. You can do the same.
Once you make the payment. Everything is done. Then you will get an email confirming your domain registration. Then you can take a break and do a little victory dance. You deserve it!
Step 2 – Getting hosting for your website
Congratulations! You have a name for your website. The next part is getting hosting for your website.
Do you remember our analogy about a website being your home on the internet? Well, all you have right now is the address. But you also need a land to build your home. This land is your space on the internet. That’s also known as hosting.
Think of hosting as a space given to you to host your website. It’s like your computer hard disk drive but located on a server which is connected to the internet. When a user types in your website name, they will be directed to space where your website is hosted. That’s where the website content (images, text, videos etc.) will be hosted. Hope you get an idea of hosting.
There are different companies who provide hosting. They can be Sri Lankan and International providers. You can choose anyone and purchase hosting for a fee.
I have done my due diligence when it comes to great hosting companies and my highest recommendation is a company called Siteground. They are by far the best hosting provider for the money you pay. All my sites are hosted on Siteground. They have been ranked by so many web developing experts. They also have one of the best customer services I have ever seen so whatever the problem you come across, you can contact them for help.
They have different plans for different needs but for your need, I think their StartUp plan is enough. If you go through my link, you will get a 60% off from the usual price. So it’s going to be only $3.95 per month. But you’ll have to purchase hosting for 12 months. That’s how it works. So click the following link.
Then select “I already have a Domain” and type in the domain you got from www.nic.lk. Then click Proceed. (If you are planning to a get a .com domain name or something else, you can choose “Register a New Domain” and follow the instructions.)
Fill in the form and select 12 months (or more based on your preference) and make the payment online.
Once you’re done, you will receive access to your account at Siteground.com. Then login to your account and select My Accounts. Then click on Go to cPanel.
cPanel is where you’re going to manage everything about your website. That’s the backend of your website. Now we have an important task to do.
Step 3 – Nameservers
You have an address to your home. You have a land to build your home. But there is one problem. You address is not linked to your land!
You bought the domain name from www.nic.lk and you bought your hosting from Siteground.com You’re going to build your website on the space you got from Siteground.com but your domain doesn’t know where that space is. So you need to link your domain and your hosting. Once you link them, when you type in your domain, it will direct to where your site is.
Next step is to link your domain and your hosting account. (Directing your domain name to hosting only happens when you purchase your domain name and hosting from two different companies. If you bought your domain name from Siteground.com, you don’t have to do this.)
Go to your account at www.nic.lk and click My Domains. Then you will see your domain. Under Actions, click on the small pencil icon to access Technical Records.
Once you’re there, go to your cPanel on Siteground.com and copy the name servers on Account Information box.
Then go to Technical Records page on www.nic.lk and paste the name servers in the first and second boxes and click Save.
You will receive an email from www.nic.lk saying that your nameservers have been modified. Then you’re done.
Step 4 – Installing WordPress
Alrighty then! Now you have an address (domain name) and space (hosting). This is where we are going to build your home sweet home a.k.a your website.
There are different ways of building a website. You can code a website from the ground up or you can use a tool like WordPress or Blogger.
Ever since I finished my A/Ls I have always wanted to start my own website. I read multiple ebooks on creating websites. It was hectic. I would sit in front of my computer and read 400 page long ebooks on HTML and CSS (coding languages) and I would practice them. I would start building a website from scratch and I would struggle for weeks and eventually give up.
The struggle ended when a web designer recommended me WordPress! I couldn’t believe how easy it was to build a website using WordPress. You can basically build any website (blog, magazine, news, e-commerce, and portfolio) using WordPress. It’s simple and also advances enough to cater all your needs.
Both www.jump.lk and www.jumpbooks.lk are built on WordPress. I think WordPress is the easiest and powerful website platform out there. It also powers more than 1/3 websites on the internet. To learn more about WordPress, you can visit here.
WordPress is super easy. You don’t have to know any coding to build a website on WordPress. It’s like software. Once you install WordPress on your hosting account, you get access to your backend. Then you can build your website from scratch or you can use a theme that’s already been built. All you have to do is install the theme and you will get a professionally looking website. That’s what I did.
It’s time to install WordPress now. First, visit your cPanel on your Siteground.com account and click the WordPress in Auto Installers.
Then click on the Install Now button.
Once you’re in the next page, you have to choose the Protocol. Unlike other hosting providers, Siteground.com gives you https rather than http free of charge (SSL certificate to secure your website.) So choose that.
Then select your domain name. Leave the In Directory space blank.
Then add a Site Name and a Site Description. You can always change these once you install WordPress so don’t worry too much about this.
Then select a Username and a Password for your WordPress Admin Panel. Don’t lose the Username and the Password. Write it down somewhere so that you won’t forget.
Leave everything as it is and click Install. Then you’re done.
Once the installation is over, you will receive a link that will take you to your WordPress site.
That’s it. You are a proud owner of a .lk website now.
Step 5 – Building your website
Next step is building and customizing your website.
There are so many YouTube videos that will take you exactly through this process. That’s how I started my first website. I’ll link a video that will take you through everything from purchasing your domain name to building your first WordPress site. The only change is going to be if you’re using a .lk domain (which I have already covered in this post.) The rest is going to be similar and pretty easy.
Creating your own website can be challenging but it’s also one of the most joyful things I have ever done in my entire life. Looking at my websites (www.jump.lk and www.jumpbooks.lk) and knowing that I built them from scratch and people keep visiting them to learn and buy things is one of the most gratifying feelings I have.
Take up the challenge. Build your own website. If you face any problems on the way, there are enough resources online to get help. If you really hit the ceiling, you can always contact me.
If you liked this post, or if you need help with anything else, add a comment below and let me know.
If you want to start an online business in Sri Lanka, we have a practical workshop for you. It’s called E-Commerce Essentials. To learn more and join the next workshop, click here.
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