Learn how to start your own website from the ground, up!

How to start a website

So, you have a personal idea or business that you would like to translate into a website, but aren't sure how or where to start, then this page is for you!

Below you will find step-by-step information on what is needed to get your website up and running, from registering a domain name, to choosing a web hosting service, then finally selecting a design and software platform for your website. If while reading this information, you feel you would rather have someone handle the initial steps for you, feel free to contact me. For a small fee, we'll discuss your project, get a domain name registered, and then decide on what hosting options and website platform will work for your needs.

Registering a Domain Name

In order for visitors to reach your website, you will need to register a domain name using a domain name registrar. A couple well known & reputable domain registrars would be Godaddy.com or Register.com. I prefer GoDaddy, as their domain control panel is very easy to use & their prices are very competitive. If you're not familiar with the term domain name, it's simply the user friendly name a visitor will use in order to get to your website. For instance, right now you're viewing a web page from the domain name DiscountWebsitePro.com.

When trying to decide on what domain name to use, there are some things you will want to take into consideration.

  • Keep your domain name short but to the point.
  • Think of a domain name that most people would remember if they heard it through word of mouth.
  • Try selecting a domain name that is relevant to the products or content that will be on your website.
  • Be careful not to select a domain that could be easily misspelled.

Also, make sure you choose the correct domain extension (.com, .net or .org). Remember, most people (in the U.S. anyway) are accustomed to .com domains, so that might be a good extension to go with. If you feel that this new domain name is something that you are going to keep for a while, then it might be safe to register the .net & .org versions of that domain too, just so no one else registers them.

If someone else registers a domain name for you, always make sure it is done under your own account. You wouldn't want someone to register your domain under their account, because essentially they would own the domain name, not you.

Choosing a Web Hosting Company

A web hosting company rents server space out to clients (you) so that their website will be accessible via the internet. Many hosting companies offer different varieties of hosting services, from Windows based hosting to Linux & Unix based hosting. The software platform that you choose to build your site around will largely dictate the hosting service you will need to purchase. For instance, if you choose to build your website on top of Umbraco, which is a content management system that utilizes ASP.NET technologies, you will need to purchase a windows based hosting service. On the other hand, if you built your website on top of Wordpress, then you could go with Windows or Linux hosting, as Wordpress will run on both.

Once you have purchased a hosting plan, you will need to go back to your domain registrar and point your domain name to your hosting provider. Your hosting provider should be able to give you the information you need to point your domain name to them, & your domain name registrar should be able to provide you with instructions on how to point your domain name to your hosting provider.

Remember, cheaper isn't always better and that is definitely true in the hosting world. Some hosting companies will try & squeeze as many websites as they can on one server to make a little more money. What that ends up meaning for you is a slower website.

Designing Your Website

Now that you have your domain registered and are thinking about hosting plans, you need a design for your website. By a design, I mean the way your website is going to look.

There are three ways of coming up with a design for your website.

  • Create the design yourself
  • Hire a designer to design a look for you
  • Purchase a pre-designed website template

If you're not in the graphic design business, trying to design your own website could end up being a complete waste of time. After all, you want to have a professional looking website, not something that looks like it was designed in Microsoft Paint! So, unless you know how to use Photoshop & have a design bone in your body (not to mention time to spare), we'll discuss the next two options.

If your project budget allows it, then hiring a website designer wouldn't be a bad option. When hiring a graphic designer, you can express your wants and needs to the designer and they can build a design around your vision. On the other hand, hiring a graphic designer to design a website will increase your overall cost of starting your website, so taking a look at the third option may be worth the time.

Pre-designed website template will cut start-up cost dramatically when trying to launch your website. As your idea or company grows and starts to make profits, then hiring a designer to design a brand for your company might become more realistic. If you're looking for a Wordpress site, then there are plenty of professional pre-designed templates on the internet that can be purchased for anywhere from $20.00 on up. A couple of sites that offer professional pre-designed Wordpress templates are Elegant Themes & Template Monster, to name a few.

On the other hand, Wordpress may not be the best fit for you or you may have ideas you would like to implement into your website that Wordpress doesn't support. That is where a site like Dream Template comes in. Dream Template offers professional website templates that can be used in almost any type of website, but usually require a website developer to actually build and/or customize the website for you.

Bottom line, using a pre-designed website template enables you to dramatically decrease the cost of starting up your website which enables you to put a little extra money into developing the features you desire for your website.

Developing Your Website

If you know how to write HTML and CSS code, then you should be ready to start building your website. However, if you are not a web developer and don't know the first thing about HTML and CSS code, then finding a website developer would be your next step. Since this is my website and I am a web developer, the only reference I can point you toward would be, myself of course!

At this point, you would sit down with your web developer to discuss the design layout you have picked and functionality you would like to have in your website. Once your developer is finished developing your site, & you have paid your developer for all the great work they have done, then you're ready to launch your site.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me & I'll help you out anyway I can!

Let's Get Started

If you need some help getting your website started, let's discuss your project & budget. I'm sure we can work something out!
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