Seven Steps to Create Your Own Website
Do you want to create your own website? When a cookie-cutter Facebook page or Wordpress blog just isn’t good enough, it's time to create your very own site from scratch. Relax; it's not as difficult as you may think. Here are seven steps to get you started...
Creating a Website: What You Need to Know
Back in the day, you had to be a computer programmer, or at least a pretty savvy geek to create a website. But those days are gone. You no longer need a degree in computer science, or a friend with a pocket protector to get the job done. This article will tell you what you need to know to register your own "dot-com" name, hook up with a web hosting service, design your website, and make it pretty with free templates, photos and clip art. You'll also learn where to go if you do need to learn some of the techie stuff, and how to begin selling your own products on the World Wide Web.
1. Choose a Domain Name -- A domain name is your unique identity on the Web. It should be as short, memorable and catchy as possible. An unambiguous spelling (one that can easily be passed along verbally) is also a good idea. The trick is finding a good domain name that isn't already in use. Ian Hunter's 1983 hit song "All of The Good Ones Are Taken" predated the Internet, but it describes the domain name situation pretty well. Brainstorm a number of ideas; tools such as BustAName.com can help. See my article How To Get a Great Domain Name for other domain name tools, as well as information on domain backordering and domain escrow services.
2. Register Your Domain Name -- A domain registrar is an organization that manages the reservations of domain names. You can easily find a domain registrar by searching for "domain registration" in any search engine. Some of the most popular registrars are GoDaddy.com, Tucows.com, and Enom.com.
Most registrars charge an annual fee for a domain name, typically less than $15. But you may also want to purchase "privacy protection," which keeps your personal contact information from showing up in the public Whois database of domains and their owners. You don't want the whole world to know your name, address, phone number, and email address.
After registering your domain name, you may have to wait up to 2-3 days for its records to be propagated across the Internet. For additional information and tips about registering a domain, see my article How to Buy a Domain Name.
3. Choose a Web Hosting Service -- A domain name alone is not of much use. You need a Web server associated with your domain, and for that most people use a Web hosting service. A Web hosting service ("Web host" for short) provides all of the servers, software, high-speed connections, and other infrastructure needed to run a Web site. All you have to provide is the Web pages and other content. Web hosting service plans come in all sizes and price ranges.
There are free Web hosts, like Freehostia.com, designed for beginners and very light traffic. But free Web hosts limit the amount of storage space, bandwidth, and features that you can get. For under $50 a year, you can buy Web hosting service that does a lot more.
See my article, Web Hosting for Small Business to learn about shared versus dedicated hosting, and other amenities that enable e-commerce and other business-oriented features.
Many domain registrars also offer Web hosting services. While it's convenient to have both services managed by the same company, it can also be more expensive. Shop around for a Web host that offers the services you need at the best price. You can easily point your domain name to any Web host.
4. Design Your Web Site -- Now that you have a place to host your Web site, it's time to design it and write the HTML code that underlies every Web page.
For many people, starting from scratch is intimidating. Your Web host may offer Web site templates or online site-building tools. You don't have to begin with a blank page; there are many free professional-looking templates available. All you have to do is add or modify some text, insert your own images, and otherwise customize the template to make it yours. You can download some free templates at Free Web Site Templates.
5. Learn HTML & Scripting -- Eventually, you will want to learn a bit about programming techniques for Webmasters. The World Wide Web Consortium offers a free online tutorial to get you started.
6. Photos and Clip Art -- A site full of only text is boring. You'll want to add photos and clip art to your Web site. But you can't just search for a clever image online and appropriate it as your own. Doing so could land you in legal trouble, or on the receiving end of a royalty payment demand from the owner of the copyright.
Fortunately, there are plenty of places to look for free high-quality cipart and stock photos. If you aren't a photographer or graphic designer, see my article, Free Clip Art and Stock Photos for sources of both.
7. Sell Your Stuff -- If you want to sell your own goods or services online, you can create an online store, or use a service that designed to help you sell. My article How Can I Sell My Stuff Online? will help you find an online service where you can market and sell your own products. Services such as eBay, CafePress and Etsy handle the transaction for you, and take a percentage of the sale.
If you want to create your own online store, managing the merchandising, shopping cart, payment processing and fulfillment from start to end, see my article on Shopping Cart Software.
Whether you're just setting up a personal homepage or launching a complex online business, the basic steps of creating a Web site are the same. Building a sharp-looking site is just a matter of learning to use the many tools available, or hiring someone who knows them. Even better, motivated do-it-yourselfers can benefit from the many free online resources for learning webmaster skills.
Do you have other tips for budding webmasters or online entrepreneurs? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 11 Jul 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Seven Steps to Create Your Own Website (Posted: 11 Jul 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved