Creating your own website may seem like a scary endeavor, but it’s actually never been easier. In some cases, you won’t even have to spend a penny and you can be up and running in days. Of course, it may not be this easy for everyone, and that’s where this guide comes in.
Whatever the use of your site will be – business, pleasure, portfolio – the same basic steps apply. If you’re new to this game and are looking for some useful advice, look no further! You’re in the right place. Here is a quick, step-by-step guide that should have you up and running in no time.
Step One: Choosing a building platform
This is the provider that you’ll use to build your website. You may have heard of WordPress and Squarespace – these are but two of many. There are a number of things you need to consider when choosing a platform, including:
- Is it mobile/tablet friendly? Most people will be browsing away from a desktop these days, so this is vital.
- How’s the tech support and the community? You may hit certain roadblocks that need answering quickly. A platform with a thriving fan base and 24/7 tech support would be a better choice for you.
- Is it suitable for beginners? The aforementioned WordPress powers millions of sites for a reason. It’s easy to use!
If you’re in doubt, ask a friend, or do some more digging at sources like fitsmallbusiness.com. As long as you’re happy with the features your platform provides, you’re good.
Step Two: Choosing a host and a domain name
Your web host is the space that will house your website and all its data. You can build a website without a web host, but if you want people to be able to access your work, you’ll need one!
There are many options out there for you to choose from. When looking to find the perfect web host for you, consider the following points:
- Server space. This is the amount of storage space you’ll get to house all your data. The more space, the bigger your site can get – in theory. Depending on the goals you have for your site, you may need a certain amount of storage space. This in mind, bigger is generally better.
- Check the bandwidth limits that will be imposed on you. The lower these limits, the less traffic you can receive. If you go over these limits, the host may even turn your site off.
- Payment fees and methods. Some web hosts lock you into a yearly plan, while others let you go month by month. Decide whether being more flexible is better for you. You may also get more benefits in a certain package, so take a look at the details.
- Some other things to look out for include additional maintenance fees, and whether you are required to run adverts on your site. These will all be outlined before you begin paying though.
Choosing a host can take some time, but it’s important to get right. There are numerous sources you could use to compare them, such as reviewsquirrel.com, so don’t rush. Take your time and you’ll thank yourself further down the line.
Step Three: Brainstorming and building
Some people would suggest you complete this step first, but I suggest the exact opposite. Once you start the process of creating a website, it’s far too easy to get caught up in all the little irrelevant details.
You may start stressing over the look and feel and design of your site way early on. It’s far better to obtain a host and choose a provider first. If you brainstorm before this, you may find yourself restricted by the website builder you choose.
So, now you can begin to form those ideas in your head. Identify the purpose of your site and go from there. Though, there are some basic principles that apply, no matter the site type:
- Make some space for an archive or search function. People may want to browse older posts of yours – make this easy!
- Is your website for online shopping? Make sure you have a basket option, and keep payment details secure.
- A contact form for error reporting. Once your site is out in the open, a whole host of bugs and glitches will rear their heads. The public will find these faster than you, so make it easy for them to get in touch.
- Social media buttons. The key to a successful web presence is to stay connected. Link back to your Facebook and Twitter at every opportunity
- Make sure your navigation is good. Have a home button on every page – you don’t want people to get lost or stuck
Above all, just make your site as simple as possible. Don’t overdo the images and videos. Be frugal and keep your interface clean.
Image 1 – By Fabio Lanari – Internet1.jpg by Rock1997 modified., GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20995390
Image 2 – http://bit.ly/23DFvqO
Image 3 – http://bit.ly/23DFVgU