How To Build Your First Website
If you’re thinking about building your first website, it’s easy to feel daunted just by the idea. You might not be a programmer or professional website designer, or you may not even run a business. But that does not mean you cannot learn how to build your first website.
Just like riding a bicycle for the first time there are things that you will have to learn. And you might even fall off. But just about anyone can ride a bike. And almost anyone can build a website. You don’t even need to know any programming.
Let’s get the wheels in motion…
What Is A Domain Name?
One of the first things you are likely to need when building your website is a domain name. It’s the address of the website. Take a well-known example: Amazon. Its address (or URL) is www.amazon.com – this is Amazon’s domain name. Here are some other tips to pick the best domain name for your business.
To get a domain name, go to a registrant like iPage.com and search for the name you want. The most popular domains are .com, .net and .org, but there are others you can choose, like .biz.
The Domain Name I Want Is Not Available
Get ready for an arghhhh moment. This is very common, particularly when it comes to .com domains. Just about every word in the dictionary has been registered as a .com domain, even unusual words like:
- Autolatry is a word that’s seldom used. But it means to worship yourself (and it goes hand-in-hand with the next word).
- Selfie is the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year. Hold onto your monocles, friends. Selfie.com is unsurprisingly taken. The word (along with selfie photos) seems to be everywhere these days.
- Runcation is the correct word to describe the act of weeding (through all of those endless selfies)! Hardly anyone uses this word. But runcation.com is not available.
If the word or phrase you want is not available it might be possible to buy the name from whoever registered it. But be prepared to pay a lot more than the $15 to $20 it usually costs to purchase a domain name.
What Is Hosting?
Web hosting is the not-so-interesting part of building your first website. But it’s crucial. A hosting company is the place where the content of your website will reside. At a very basic level, it is a computer (or server) in a data center somewhere in the world which stores the files and information that make up your website. When someone accesses your website they are getting the information from that server.
Hosting can be inexpensive. But you get what you pay for. For the vast majority of first-time websites, the basic option from a reputable hosting company will be more than sufficient.
Right, I Have A Domain and Hosting – What Is Next?
The next stage is to start building your website, which you can do with a web builder or website creator. These tools are like using Microsoft Word to write letters, or Microsoft Powerpoint to create presentations. You can use a web builder to create static informational websites or even ecommerce websites where you can sell your products.
Site builders are easy to use and flexible systems that can create almost any type of website. Like any new software there is a learning curve with web builders, but after a short period of time you should be up and running.
What Are Website Builders and Where can I Find a One?
A site builder is software that allows you to choose from templates of pre made websites where you can add information and photos to personalize the design. Some builders will even let you drag and drop information into place. Many hosting companies now offer website builders as part of their packages. Many offer these at no additional cost when you purchase a hosting plan. Website creators are restrictive in terms of how much you can customize and change, but for a first website, they’re a massive time saver.
What If I Just Want A Blog?
If you want to create a simple blog, Wordpress is a good choice. Applications like Wordpress allow you to get a blog up and running quickly and easily.
You will be restricted in what you can style and change with pure blogging software. But they are a perfect solution if you simply want to create posts that are displayed on a page in reverse order (this means that the blog posts will be displayed in the order in which they were written, but that can be often adjusted in most blogging applications).
You Don’t Even Need A Helmet
That’s what it takes to get your first website up and running. And as you can see, you don’t need any protective clothing or special programming skills. You don’t even need to start drinking overpriced coffee in coffee shops. You can just be you, no bike helmet required.