This post was part of the #12DayGiveaway

This post is part of the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway, with prizes drawn on December 24, 2014. See the rest of the posts in the series by viewing the winners page

1 Year Hosting & DomainToday is the third day of the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway series – Small Biz Essentials. 

Read on to find out more about building your website & enter to win a full year of hosting & 1 domain name from A Small Orange.

During the giveaway I’ll share with you tools & resources online business owners use to run their business. And, I’ll be giving away a copy of the tool I use to random commenter (see more details at the bottom of this post)

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Note: This post contains affiliate links (disclosure). If you choose to purchase a product after clicking through one of my links I may earn a few dollars. There will never be any additional cost to you, and I’m very grateful when you do! Thanks




Websites, Hosting & Domains….

Obviously running an online business means wrapping our heads around the basics of website design, hosting, etc. It can be quite a shock for some – and quite exciting for other people. If you’re someone who enjoys rolling up your sleeves and doing the work yourself, you might identify yourself as a DIY’er or someone who is “bootstrapping” her way to success.

Or, you might prefer to ask for help & outsource your website creation to someone else. In many ways outsourcing makes the most sense. Instead of spending countless hours learning the ins & outs of a web design, you can instead focus on other business building activities.

But, still we all need to know the basics:

  • how to create a simple blog post
  • choosing images and uploading them to a blog post
  • creating a basic sales page
  • occasionally adding a bit of code, or inserting something into a widget

Four of the most commonly used website platforms for online entrepreneurs are:

  1. Wix
  2. Weebly
  3. Square Space
  4. WordPress (self hosted)

For the past 7 years I’ve really only used WordPress, because of it’s never ending flexibility. There are thousands of WordPress plugins that help make the basic version of it expand to be nearly anything you could possibly imagine.

Themes with WordPress

Themes are usually the design/framework of your WordPress website. But in some cases they not only control the look and feel, but also some very specific functionality. There’s a theme that helps your WordPress website function as a Learning Management System (LMS) so that you don’t need to buy any additional plugins to manage a school.

Other themes will create a directory listing, or job board. Or, another theme might be specific for creating review styled websites.

The theme I currently use on this website is Divi, by Elegant Themes

Plugins with WordPress

All of the things I mentioned above can also be handled by plugins. So, if there is a theme you really like, you can then install a plugin that will help your website do what you need it to do.

For example, I use plugins to manage the shop (ecommerce), membership area, courses (LMS) and improve SEO.

Some of the plugins I currently use are:

  1. Woocommerce
  2. Namaste LMS
  3. PopUpAlly
  4. CommentLuv
  5. Jetpack (for site statistics and to send me an email if my site has gone down for more than 2 minutes)



This is the URL people type into their web browser to find your home on the internet. Usually people will buy a vanity domain (their own name – like mine, as well as at least one domain that represents their business (like – which ultimately just forwards here to this website).

Some people will buy lots of different domain names, for all of their projects, products and courses. They might build small websites for each one, or like me, forward them to one main website. There’s no right or wrong way to do this, just personal preferences

I currently use GoDaddy to purchase all of my domains & then forward the information to my hosting company

Website Hosting

This is the space on the internet where all of the files, images and code lives. Your blog posts, themes and plugins will all exist on cloud based servers that you’re basically renting from a hosting company. Most entrepreneurs will start out with a shared hosting plan (usually anywhere from $4 – $10/month). In my case, I’ve been on a shared hosting plan for 7 years with HostGator (who happen to have a 75% off sale happening tomorrow, December 16th) and it’s been more than adequate for my needs.

Last month I switched to a shared small business plan with A Small Orange.

I needed a slightly bigger server space & speed to manage the membership area, with a slightly larger monthly bill – but still very reasonable.

And, they’ve graciously contributed todays giveaway

A Small Orange has donated a free for a year Small Shared Hosting Plan ($50 value).

The small plan comes with a free domain for a year as well 🙂

Small Shared Hosting & 1 Domain – $5/ month

Excellent choice for small websites with room to grow.

  • 5 GB storage
  • 50 GB bandwidth
  • Unlimited Domains
  • 24/7 Email + Live ChatSupport


To enter the contest:


  1. Leave a comment below.
  2. If you want an extra entry, share this post with a friend and ask him/her to say you referred them. 1 entry for them, and an extra one for you.


On December 24th I’ll draw a random name (through from the comments left on this post, to select a winner of website hosting & domain package from A Small Orange.


Please feel free to add your favorites in the comments below.

Happy Holidays!


p.s. remember to come back tomorrow to see what I’m giving away next.

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