The website is an essential web asset that any business should have in order to create their brand’s identity. Even if you later plan to move to social media or advertising, having a website where your consumers can land is a must. For beginners, the process of creating or getting a website creating looks super complex. Well, I won’t say it’s easy peasy but it’s not that difficult either. Yes, you read that right!
Usually, beginners get perplexed by seeing so many different options and technologies to create a website. In this complex range of choices and technologies involved, they often choose to give up. Eventually, they end up paying a fortune to the outsourced resource. While I would like to mention that I am not against outsourcing, I am very much in favor of it. By outsourcing you can, A) let the experts handle what have been doing for years. B) Sit back and relax while enjoying your coffee.
But what if your pocket doesn’t allow you to outsource an expensive web developer’s service? The answer is, you can do it on your own. No matter how naïve you are, you can always climb these easy peasy steps I am going to take you through and build your very first website. Also, this way there is very least cost is involved and you save thousands of dollars that you were going to pay to the developer
It takes years of hard work to build a successful online marketing funnel. But remember it always starts with a website. A lot of people are getting super confused between the building blocks. These include the beginner steps of a website such as getting a domain registered. Most of the digital marketers who have no know how of web design and development also look for easy to make website processes to practice their marketing experiments.
So, in this article, I will take you through the easy process of getting a website up and running from the beginning. By just following these simple steps you can have your beautiful landing page and website ready. I have covered all steps of using site builders to getting a template to getting your social media plugins up and running.
I would recommend you not to go to third-party sites such as WordPress, bloggers, Wix and a lot more. Usually, these websites will lure you with a few clicks and build a website model. But do not fall into that trap. Most of these sites offer both free and paid versions depending on what you exactly want on your site. In case you are just a blogger and writer for fun, only then you should opt for these sites. In all other cases, it’s a big no-no. If you are using your website for your business it’d be great to stay away from these tempting site builders.
In my opinion, it is always far better to have open costs than to pay hidden charges in name of ‘free’. The free plan is basically like ordering a big mac but only getting the box. It doesn’t serve the purpose, right? It has lots of limitations and basically next to zero features. Hence they offer you some plans.
Even if at first glance, they look cheap. They really aren’t. Hence, if you calculate the amount of doing this all on your own, you will find out it’s a lot cheaper.
Yes, these site builders are super restrictive. Hence, your room to practice your own creativity doesn’t get any room either. You can’t customize your website as much as you would want to. More like pret wear, everything comes in a bundle and you have to use it almost as it is.
These websites initially promise you a ‘one click’ website building experience. But in reality, it's far more complex. The time they take is always more than setting up your own custom website using your expertise (I will build some in case you don’t have any).
So let’s get the hands dirty.
Just like all of us, websites also need a home to reside in. These homes are called servers. Web hosting is basically hosting your site on these serves so it can be alive. Your website is a complication of some codes, files, and data, that must be located somewhere. When your website’s files are hosted on a server, they can be accessed from around the world using the internet.
There are different plans these hosting servers offer you. These solely depend on how much space and other features on need on these servers. For larger businesses and more traffic, you can also opt for a dedicated server. A dedicated server only has your website on it. But obviously, you first need to have a large business and lots of money for it. Hence, for beginners, it is okay to go to a shared server. And that my friends are how you find your website a home from where it can be 24/7 live.
You simply have to log in to a hosting website such as Hostgator or GoDaddy and choose your hosting plan. The same hosting sites also offer you domain name registration. They also offer you plugins to make your life even easier. Hosting coupled with domain registration (explained in step 2) makes your website live. Simple, right?
While choosing a hosting server you must look at the following key points:
How can you compare hosting service?
There is no white or black while comparing them. It’s all a gray area. Hence, there is a lot, I repeat a lot of factors that affect your decision of choosing a perfect web hosting.
While thinking a domain name you must be as vigilant when you chose the name of your first child (or will be). This will remain your business’ identity forever. If you already have a name or an idea, you can find a domain on the same name. Usually, the websites that offer to host offer domain registration as well.
The domain registration site will keep recommending you thousands of names but you should only opt for what suits the business for your business and represents it the most. However, there is no perfect domain name in the world. In case you thought is already taken, try to play around the words and use your creativity to find something similar.
It is recommended not to use hyphens or any special characters in your website. I would recommend you not to use a numeric digit either. But in case it’s the center of your business’ universe, you can opt to put a numeric digit in your domain name. While you can register your domain from Hostgator and GoDaddy, you can also register your domain with some highly rated domain registrars such as Namecheap, Name.com and 1and1.
In case you don’t want to come up with something or anything by yourself and feel pretty lazy you can use some online tools that help to create a domain name. One of these popular tools is NameMesh. It just simply takes an idea from you about your business and starts playing with the words. It meshes different words together and comes up with (mostly gibberish) but some amazing ideas for you that might choose as your domain name. Another cool tool for a similar purpose is Panabee.
Once you are done with finalizing a domain name and getting it registered you have to point your domain name to your hosting. This step is also very simple and easy. Once you host your website they will send you your DNS servers (Some numbers with dots that look like server address). Then you need to go back to your domain registrar and end your DNS server there. Congratulations, your basic setup is complete!
In case you don’t know already, CMS is an acronym for Content Management System. CMS helps you edit the website’s files you stored on the server in an easy way. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to go to your server and make changes there every time. CMS saves you from this pain. With help of a CMS, you can easily create and update your website.
If you want to create a custom web app or too much a technical (AI kind of) site you will need your own custom CMS. But in all another case you can choose already available CMSs. So here I am going to give you a quick round through them.
I am sure even if you didn’t know wordpress.org is a CMS or what a CMS is, you know it existed. It is the undoubted KING of the CMSs. What makes it so popular is it easy to use interface. You can handle your website, create content, pages, add plugins and even customize your designs so easily that it will make you fall in love with Wordpress.
A lot of newbies are confused between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. Well, they are two completely different ball games altogether. Wordpress.com is a third party site where you can create blogs for free. But wordpress.org is the CMS that is installed on your site. Once, you have it installed you can control your website through it, without logging into the server every time.
Wordpress is feature rich and lets you add multiple different plugins for all your needs. For example, in case you need to add your social handles on your website, you just have to find a plugin and install it, and boom you are done by just setting up this plugin with links! It has a plugin library of over 40,000 which is huge. You can almost do any magic using these plugins.
Other important and popular CMSs are Joomla. It is the second most popular CMS after WordPress and is pretty simple as well.
Another famous option while thinking of CMSs is Drupal. It might not be very simple to use but it has great advanced features that an expert might look for. It lets you customize a little more than all over CMSs.
This is the most crucial stage of your website. You are done with all the basic and technical aspects. So this is the first look and feels aspect of your site. This step can make or break your business. In case of any CMS, you can easily install a theme by choosing the theme tab from the menu.
There are thousands of free and paid themes out there. I would recommend you never to go for a free theme since that will crash your website a lot. Also, a free theme can never be customized as much as a paid theme.
If you are using WordPress you can look for a theme within WordPress. In case nothing looks cool to you, you can google and search on some other sites for a theme that is relevant to your business. Once you find a theme there, download the zip file and upload in on Appearance > Theme > Upload theme on WordPress. Once the theme is uploaded simply click install and you are done.
You are free to play with colors, fonts, layouts and all other design aspects of your theme from the appearance tab.
Customization literally means editing your site without messing everything and having the world crash down on your head. Beginners are usually scared to start editing their sites. So here is one of the most important things I would want you to do, protect your theme. To do so, you should always use a child theme. This protects your theme from being updated all the time. Usually, themes are updated on regular basis and can wipe out all the changes you made to them in name of customizations. This also protects your site.
However, keeping your site protect from hackers, you must always keep in the update. For example, your plugins must always be up to date.
You are basically done all the necessary stuff out there. Now you can do much more. Here are some quick tips from my side:
There is a wide ocean when it comes to web development. There are probably thousands or even more of options for everything. So you need to take it slow and step by step. You need to carefully enter the wide ocean and then sail your boat. Better than learning and trying to implement everything at once, you can start with the basics and at least the satisfaction of having your site up and running. This is why I would recommend you to with all the most widely used options for all steps and avoid advanced ones, no matter how much someone recommends them to you at the moment!