Starting Your Own Website

1) Choose a domain name

A domain name is the URL or web address on which you run your site, eg. highexistence.com. There are a few key things to consider when choosing a domain name:

a) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You’re going to start hearing this term a lot — it is the process of making your website more likely to be found on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. For domain names, it is smart to include a keyword that people might search to find your site. For example if your site is about waffle recipes, a domain like JordansWaffleRecipes.com would be good for SEO.

b) Simplicity
At the same time, you should also make your domain name as short and catchy as possible. Depending on the type of site you are starting, it might be more beneficial to forget about including keywords in order to make the domain name more simple. It doesn’t even have to be a real word eg. Twitter, Vimeo, Posterous. Continuing with the waffle site example, a good domain name might be Wahfulls.com.

c) Meaning – Try to choose a name that I visitor can look at and instantly know what your site is about. This isn’t necessary because you could just as easily put an explanation at the top of your site, but it would be helpful.

Domain names are registered for anywhere from $2-30 per year. I always use GoDaddy.com for my domain names because it is the cheapest at $11.99 for a .com domain (different extensions like .net or .biz are cheaper than .com)

2) Purchase a Hosting Account

The job of a hosting company is to store your website content on their servers and makes sure it is constantly available for download. They also do a lot of complicated things you do NOT want to do yourself that I won’t go into. Just know that you cannot do your own hosting unless you have very advanced knowledge.

There are different kinds of hosting for different sized sites, but for your first site a shared hosting account will work just fine. It is called a shared account because you share the server bandwidth with other accounts based on moment-to-moment needs. You can easily upgrade to a faster, dedicated account later when your site attracts more traffic. This will run you $8-15 per month and most cheap providers will ask you to buy a year of service upfront.

I have tried Bluehost, HostGator and GoDaddy and absolutely hated all of them. My sites were down all the time and their customer service wasn’t too great either.

My favorite hosting provider is VMStorm, which is what HighExistence runs on currently. They have extraordinarily cheap plans at $8.97 per month, and do not make you pay for a year in advance like the previously mentioned hosts. That price includes full managed service, meaning they will help you out with any server issues you run into. Note: I do not receive any kickbacks if signing up with VMStorm, they just rock!

3) Get to Know Your cPanel

When you log into your hosting account, it should take you to your cPanel automatically. This is the back end of your hosting account where you can create email addresses, change settings, manage domain names, create new FTP users, etc. It looks really complex right now but I promise it will become easy soon enough.

The best way to learn here is through experience but if you need extra help, see the Unofficial Guide to cPanel

3) Download the Necessary Applications

You need 1 or 2 different applications to start a website depending on what you want to do.

1) File-Transfer-Protocol (FTP) + Code Editor Program

This is an absolute must because it allows you to edit and transfer files to and from the hosting server your just purchased. They are very easy to use once you get it to connect to your server. If you’re having trouble setting it up, contact your hosting provider.

a) Coda (Mac only) — by far the best app out there but will run you $99 (unless you use a little site called PirateBay to get it for less, wink wink).

b) Aptana Studio 2 (Mac/Windows/Linux) – a free application that does almost everything Coda does. It’s a little less polished but it will definitely get the job done.

2) Digital Design Program (optional)

If you would like to design elements like the logo for your website yourself, you need one of these fun applications.

a) Adobe Photoshop and/or Adobe Illustrator– the industry standard for digital design. Illustrator is more targeted at designing things from scratch as opposed to photo editing, but Photoshop will have everything you need. Every single graphic and most of the images you see on this website has been created in Photoshop. Both of these apps cost $199 BUT Adobe also offers a 30-day free trial, no credit card required.

b) InkScape – the free alternative to Adobe Illustrator. I have no used this program but it looks to have everything you would need to design a logo.

4) Choose a Content Management System

In the old days, web designers had to create websites using pages and pages of code. Luckily for you there are now content management systems (CMS) out there that have made it so you can create a beautiful site without ever touching a line of code. Unless your site is a completely custom idea like Twitter or StumbleUpon, you will be able to do it all with a CMS.

There a three major CMS’s out there for you to choose from:

a) WordPress – The most popular and easy to use CMS available. If this is your first time doing anything web-related I highly recommend you choose WordPress.

b) Drupal – While being more advanced and customizable than WordPress, Drupal is aimed more at users with some coding experience. The only reason you should choose Drupal over WordPress is if you require fine-tuned customization like multiple dynamic content types (press releases, news articles, blog posts, etc.). For a better comparison of the two, check out this article.

c) Joomla! – Joomla is more customizable than WordPress but not as feature-rich as Drupal. I think you should either go with the simplicity of WordPress or the advanced options offered by Drupal. I don’t see the point in using Joomla, but that is just me.

5) Pick a Design

WordPress, Drupal and Joomla all work with themes, or templates that dictate how your site will look. There are literally thousands upon thousands of themes on the internet for you to choose from.

If you’re tight on cash, there are plenty of free, beautiful themes. However if you have an extra $20, it’s definitely worth it to buy a premium theme. The advantage is premium themes usually come with a whole bunch of custom settings that make them more customizable than free themes. Some premium themes even come with free support so you can go in and ask the developers how to change certain things.

Premium: ThemeForest |  WooThemes | StudioPress

Free: WordPress Theme Directory | Drupal Theme Directory | WPRex

6) Choose a monetization model

If part of your goal in creating the site is money, you should start thinking early on how you want to go about generating income. There are 5 basic revenue models for you to choose from:

a) Advertisements 
Depending on the ad service you use, you will get paid a certain amount per 1000 impressions/pageviews (CPM) or per click (CPC). CPM rates can vary from 10 cents to $25 or more while CPC can vary from 1 cent to multiple dollars. It seriously depends on the quality of the ad network you use.

Options: Google Adsense | BuySellAds | Chitika | Kontera

b) Products
You can also sell your own products online such as an eBook, CD or your brand of energy drink. Digital products are the best to shoot for because you don’t have to stock inventory, ship items or deal with returns. Here are a few e-commerce options to choose from:

WordPress Ecommerce Plugin – A free plugin for setting up an online store if you went the WordPress route

Network Solutions Ecommerce Shopping Cart – an all-in-one domain, hosting and ecommerce solution for any sized online store

c) Affiliate Products
Don’t have your own product idea? Just sell someone else’s and get a share of the profit! Sites like Clickbank make it easy to find other people’s products to sell on your website. You simply place affiliate links that have your unique affiliate ID and if anyone clicks on them and purchases the product, money is immediately in your account.

d) Premium Membership
Some sites offer extra content or privileges to users if they purchase a premium membership. For example, Amazon.com offers a ‘Prime’ membership for $60 per year that gives members free 2-day shipping on any purchase. Another example would be a site that only shows normal members half of their blog posts/forums/pictures and charges $5/month to see everything.

7) Learn some code

I swear coding for websites is not as hard as it sounds. HTML is the most simple coding language out there and CSS can’t even be considered a language. Here’s a quick example:

<p style=”color:blue; font-size: 20px;”> Hello everyone! </p>

<p> stands for paragraph. As you can probably guess, that paragraph would be colored blue and have size 30 font. Of course it’s not all that simple but I wanted to show you that it’s not beyond your capacity to learn.

Learning HTML and CSS will give you the ability to make your website look however you want without paying someone $50/hour to make the changes for you. It is well worth your time and it’s fun too, I promise 🙂

Check out the tutorials over at Tizag.com in this order:  HTML –> CSS –> PHP –> Javascript (the last two aren’t necessary unless you want to get into creating custom functionality in addition to design)

8) “…but I have more questions!”

Google is now your best friend. If you have ANY question about anything, just Google and you will most likely find some forum where someone has asked the exact same question.I learned everything I know about websites through Google. No books, no class, no teachers or webinars… just Google.

If you can’t find the answer anywhere, create an account on StackOverflow.com and ask the experts. You will get an answer back within minutes.

If all else fails or it’s a very general question, do feel free to ask in the comments section below.

Happy Web Designing!!!

I don’t give a fuck

People often say the key to confidence and success in life is to simply “not give a fuck.” Indeed, we often refer to the strongest, most admirable people we know in terms of their lack of fucks given. Like “Oh, look at Susie working weekends again, she doesn’t give a fuck.” Or “Did you hear that Tom called the company president an asshole and still got a raise anyway? Holy shit, that dude does not give a fuck.” Or “Jason got up and ended his date with Cindy after 20 minutes. He said he wasn’t going to listen to her bullshit anymore. Man, that guy does not give a fuck.”

Chances are you know somebody in your life who, at one time or another, did not give a fuck and went on to accomplish amazing feats. Perhaps there was a time in your life where you simply did not give a fuck and excelled to some extraordinary heights. I know for myself, quitting my day job in finance after only six weeks and telling my boss that I was going to start selling dating advice online ranks pretty high up there in my own “didn’t give a fuck” hall of fame. Same with deciding to sell most of my possessions and move to South America. Fucks given? None. Just went and did it

Now, while not giving a fuck may seem simple on the surface, it’s a whole new bag of burritos under the hood. I don’t even know what that sentence means, but I don’t give a fuck. A bag of burritos sounds awesome, so let’s just go with it.

The point is, most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many fucks in situations where fucks do not deserve to be given. We give a fuck about the rude gas station attendant who gave us too many nickels. We give a fuck when a show we liked was canceled on TV. We give a fuck when our coworkers don’t bother asking us about our awesome weekend. We give a fuck when it’s raining and we were supposed to go jogging in the morning.

Fucks given everywhere. Strewn about like seeds in mother-fucking spring time. And for what purpose? For what reason? Convenience? Easy comforts? A pat on the fucking back maybe?

This is the problem, my friend.

Because when we give too many fucks, when we choose to give a fuck about everything, then we feel as though we are perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times, that’s when life fucks us.

Indeed, the ability to reserve our fucks for only the most fuckworthy of situations would surely make life a hell of a lot easier. Failure would be less terrifying. Rejection less painful. Unpleasant necessities more pleasant and the unsavory shit sandwiches a little bit more savory. I mean, if we could only give a few less fucks, or a few more consciously-directed fucks, then life would feel pretty fucking easy.

What we don’t realize is that there is a fine art of non-fuck-giving. People aren’t just born not giving a fuck. In fact, we’re born giving way too many fucks. Ever watch a kid cry his eyes out because his hat is the wrong shade of blue? Exactly. Fuck that kid.

Developing the ability to control and manage the fucks you give is the essence of strength and integrity. We must craft and hone our lack of fuckery over the course of years and decades. Like a fine wine, our fucks must age into a fine vintage, only uncorked and given on the most special fucking occasions.

This may sound easy. But it is not. Most of us, most of the time, get sucked in by life’s mean trivialities, steamrolled by its unimportant dramas; we live and die by the sidenotes and distractions and vicissitudes that suck the fucks out of us like Sasha Grey in the middle of a gangbang.

This is no way to live, man. So stop fucking around. Get your fucks together. And here, allow me to fucking show you.

SUBTLETY #1: NOT GIVING A FUCK DOES NOT MEAN BEING INDIFFERENT; IT MEANS BEING COMFORTABLE WITH BEING DIFFERENT

When most people envision giving no fucks whatsoever, they envision a kind of perfect and serene indifference to everything, a calm that weathers all storms.

This is misguided. There’s absolutely nothing admirable or confident about indifference. People who are indifferent are lame and scared. They’re couch potatoes and internet trolls. In fact, indifferent people often attempt to be indifferent because in reality they actually give too many fucks. They are afraid of the world and the repercussions of their own choices. Therefore, they make none. They hide in a grey emotionless pit of their own making, self-absorbed and self-pitied, perpetually distracting themselves from this unfortunate thing demanding their time and energy called life.

My mother was recently screwed out of a large chunk of money by a close friend of hers. Had I been indifferent, I would have shrugged my shoulders, sipped some mocha and downloaded another season of The Wire. Sorry mom.

But instead, I was indignant. I was pissed off. I said, “No, screw that mom, we’re going to lawyer the fuck up and go after this asshole. Why? Because I don’t give a fuck. I will ruin this guy’s life if I have to.”

This illustrates the first subtlety about not giving a fuck. When we say, “Damn, watch out, Mark Manson just don’t give a fuck,” we don’t mean that Mark Manson doesn’t care about anything; on the contrary, what we mean is that Mark Manson doesn’t care about adversity in the face of his goals, he doesn’t care about pissing some people off to do what he feels is right or important or noble. What we mean is that Mark Manson is the type of guy who would write about himself in third person and use the word ‘fuck’ in an article 127 different times just because he thought it was the right thing to do. He just doesn’t give a fuck.

This is what is so admirable — no, not me, dumbass — the overcoming adversity stuff. The staring failure in the face and shoving your middle finger back at it. The people who don’t give a fuck about adversity or failure or embarrassing themselves or shitting the bed a few times. The people who just laugh and then do it anyway. Because they know it’s right. They know it’s more important than them and their own feelings and their own pride and their own needs. They say “Fuck it,” not to everything in life, but rather they say “Fuck it” to everything unimportant in life. They reserve their fucks for what truly fucking matters. Friends. Family. Purpose. Burritos. And an occasional lawsuit or two. And because of that, because they reserve their fucks for only the big things, the important things, people give a fuck about them in return.

quote-i-don-t-give-a-fuck-if-they-remember-me-at-all-frank-zap

SUBTLETY #2: TO NOT GIVE A FUCK ABOUT ADVERSITY, YOU MUST FIRST GIVE A FUCK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN ADVERSITY

Eric Hoffer once wrote: “A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.”

The problem with people who hand out fucks like ice cream at a goddamn summer camp is that they don’t have anything more fuckworthy to dedicate their fucks to.

Think for a second. You’re at a grocery store. And there’s an elderly lady screaming at the cashier, berating him for not accepting her 30-cent coupon. Why does this lady give a fuck? It’s just 30 cents.

Well, I’ll tell you why. That old lady probably doesn’t have anything better to do with her days than to sit at home cutting out coupons all morning. She’s old and lonely. Her kids are dickheads and never visit. She hasn’t had sex in over 30 years. Her pension is on its last legs and she’s probably going to die in a diaper thinking she’s in Candyland. She can’t fart without extreme lower back pain. She can’t even watch TV for more than 15 minutes without falling asleep or forgetting the main plotline.

So she snips coupons. That’s all she’s got. It’s her and her damn coupons. All day, every day. It’s all she can give a fuck about because there is nothing else to give a fuck about. And so when that pimply-faced 17-year-old cashier refuses to accept one of them, when he defends his cash register’s purity the way knights used to defend maidens’ virginities, you can damn well bet granny is going to erupt and verbally hulk smash his fucking face in. Eighty years of fucks will rain down all at once, like a fiery hailstorm of “Back in my day” and “People used to show more respect” stories, boring the world around her to tears in her creaking and wobbly voice.

If you find yourself consistently giving too many fucks about trivial shit that bothers you — your ex-girlfriend’s new Facebook picture, how quickly the batteries die in the TV remote, missing out on yet another 2-for-1 sale on hand sanitizer — chances are you don’t have much going on in your life to give a legitimate fuck about. And that’s your real problem. Not the hand sanitizer.

Way too many fucks given.
Way too many fucks given.
In life, our fucks must be spent on something. There really is no such thing as not giving a fuck. The question is simply how we each choose to allot our fucks. You only get a limited number of fucks to give over your lifetime, so you must spend them with care. As my father used to say, “Fucks don’t grow on trees, Mark.” OK, he never actually said that. But fuck it, pretend like he did. The point is that fucks have to be earned and then invested wisely. Fucks are cultivated like a beautiful fucking garden, where if you fuck shit up and the fucks get fucked, then you’ve fucking fucked your fucks all the fuck up.

SUBTLETY #3: WE ALL HAVE A LIMITED NUMBER OF FUCKS TO GIVE; PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE AND WHO YOU GIVE THEM TO

When we’re young, we have tons of energy. Everything is new and exciting. And everything seems to matter so much. Therefore, we give tons of fucks. We give a fuck about everything and everyone — about what people are saying about us, about whether that cute boy/girl called us back or not, about whether our socks match or not or what color our birthday balloon is.

As we get older, we gain experience and begin to notice that most of these things have little lasting impact on our lives. Those people’s opinions we cared about so much before have long been removed from our lives. We’ve found the love we need and so those embarrassing romantic rejections cease to mean much anymore. We realize how little people pay attention to the superficial details about us and we focus on doing things more for ourselves rather than for others.

Bunk Moreland, not giving a fuck since 2002.
Bunk Moreland, not giving a fuck since 2002.
Essentially, we become more selective about the fucks we’re willing to give. This is something called ‘maturity.’ It’s nice, you should try it sometime. Maturity is what happens when one learns to only give a fuck about what’s truly fuckworthy. As Bunk Moreland said in The Wire (which, fuck you, I still downloaded it) to his partner Detective McNulty: “That’s what you get for giving a fuck when it wasn’t your turn to give a fuck.”

Then, as we grow older and enter middle age, something else begins to change. Our energy levels drop. Our identities solidify. We know who we are and we no longer have a desire to change what now seems inevitable in our lives.

And in a strange way, this is liberating. We no longer need to give a fuck about everything. Life is just what it is. We accept it, warts and all. We realize that we’re never going to cure cancer or go to the moon or feel Jennifer Aniston’s tits. And that’s OK. Life fucking goes on. We now reserve our ever-dwindling fucks only for the most truly fuckworthy parts of our lives: our families, our best friends, our golf swing. And to our astonishment, this is enough. This simplification actually makes us really fucking happy.

Then somehow, one day, much later, we wake up and we’re old. And along with our gum lines and our sex drive, our ability to give a fuck has receded to the point of non-existence. In the twilight of our days, we carry out a paradoxical existence where we no longer have the energy to give a fuck about the big things in life, and instead we must dedicate the few fucks we have left to the simple and mundane yet increasingly difficult aspects of our lives: where to eat lunch, doctors appointments for our creaky joints, 30-cent discounts at the supermarket, and driving without drifting to sleep and killing a parking lot full of orphans. You know, practical concerns.

Then one day, on our deathbed, (hopefully) surrounded by the people we gave the majority of our fucks to throughout our life, and those few who still give a fuck about us, with a silent gasp we will gently let our last fuck go. Through the tears and the gently fading beeps of the heart monitor and the ever-dimming fluorescence encapsulating us in its divine hospital halo, we drift into some unknowable and unfuckable place.