How to start a website

Starting a website is always part of a business plan that wants to grow and spread its roots both regional and worldwide. It definitely is an idea born of an interest in e-commerce. You have to ask yourself: why would you want to start a website?

In most case, people start websites for personal use (celebrities and stars), to create a community or social gathering, to give information and directions, for business and advertising, for sharing media and blogging. If you can imagine how your website will look like, then you are closer to its realization.

Strategic plans

Just like a building construction, starting a website has to come from a plan. The plan may entail resources, budget, time and equipment such as software and tools. For an entrepreneur, the resource can be hiring a programmer or web designer.  You ought to have   a mission, a vision and goals to guide you through.

On the surface, starting a website is as simple as getting a domain name and web hosting. However, to start a business website, you require a competent programmer or web designer. You can start your website at a lower price if you hire developers who has just graduated from the university or startup web design business.

If you are planning a DIY website design, then you need to visit your local favorite library or bookstore to refresh your mind on coding. Otherwise, you can hire a company that has well trained personnel. Do not forget to include a graphic design artist in your team. To promote and market your website, so you ought to create an opportunity for an Internet marketing specialist.

Structural plan

The website is generally a file of scripts that has been coded using programming languages. The web designer has to fully understand HTML and other languages such as JavaScript, CGI, ASP, PHP, Python, CSS (cascading style sheets) Pearl and Ruby. It is always advisable to use software geared for web development, however, a text editor can also be used. Some of the most popular software used in web development include Photoshop and Adobe Dreamweaver; other free software are HostGator and KompoZer.

These site coded files are more like instructions to the server on what to deliver -according to how the viewer interacts with your website. Your hosting company will provide you with a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) software to help you move HTML and graphics files from your computer to the server. Actually, this is a simple process, you just need the site address, the username, password and the directory- where the files will be stored.

Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator are your best tools when it comes to website graphics. Some of the best tools in web design are Theme Forest, Code Canyon, and Ultimate Designer Toolkit. A website should be interactive and use multimedia to communicate effectively. Your website should not be too plain or too fancy to scare away visitor; just maintain the balance. You should use white or light colors for your background -research or consult on the best color scheme for your website.

If you were to update your files using the traditional web design process, then you would have manually repeated the coding process. There has been a lot of attempts to simplify this process, currently, web designers are using open source web-based applications to update their content. These free and available open source web applications include WordPress, Coppermine, PHPNuke, Drupal or Joomla; WordPress is the most used content management system (CMS) in web design.

In modern web design, you would need a good CMS to help you manage content on your website. Therefore, use CMS when you want to create, edit, publish, distribute, archive, collaborate and report website content.

What you should look for in the web hosting

Web hosting is one of the main steps is starting a website. This is the control center and the house of your website and it comes immediately after designing your website. Most of them came with an annual package that ranges with price depending on the services they offer.

To ensure that your website files go online, you will now need to source for a web hosting company. Here you will have to consider the hard drive space and bandwidth in relation to your file. If you need a higher frequency to transmit and receive data, then consider taking a higher bandwidth.

The following are some other considerations to take make when looking for a web hosting company:

  • Type of hosting service (original or reseller)
  • Privacy policy
  • Reasonable payment plans
  • Uptime guarantee
  • Storage limits
  • Bandwidth limits
  • Site Backup & Restore options
  • Email Addresses
  • Traffic they can handle
  • Number of websites they can handle
  • SSL certificate -to secure customer data and increase search rankings
  • Security monitoring and DDoS protection
  • Flexible cPanel to manage your hosting account
  • Compatible with web applications like Joomla & WordPress
  • Level of customer service and technical support
  • Free trials and refund policies

There are different types of web hosting services depending on the reliability, the amount of storage capacity, technical knowledge requirement, control and server speed. These include Dedicated, Shared, Cloud and Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting.

A shared hosting means your website uses the same server with other websites and share the same RAM and CPU- its cost is extremely low. Meanwhile, the dedicated hosting gives you control of the entire web server- expect the cost to be expensive.

If you intend to have total control of your server at a reduced price, then you should consider the virtual private server hosting, which divides a shared server into virtual servers- you have root access to your virtual space.

Cloud computing technologies enable different servers to operate as one system leading to cloud hosting. It is flexible, affordable and reliable to use.

There are different types of servers used by web hosting companies, but the operating system used in each may not be the same. Some of the commonly used OS include Mac OS X, Linux, windows, Solaris (open source) and FreeBSD (open source). The best servers are operated by windows and Linux OS versions-Linux OS is currently widely used in websites. The two are defined based on stability, data center security, functionality, cloud capability, hardware and software supports.

The reason why Linux is installed on over 95% of the world’s best supercomputers, is because its OS has the fastest performance with the smallest resource footprint. You need to run a test on the OS available so that you can understand the difference in performance.  Choosing the right platform is the best way to account for the health of your business website. HostGator.com is a popular hosting company that has great offers.

Marketing plan

Your website will also need an address which is evident in the URL you are using; avoid long and complex ones. In choosing a domain name two parts are needed: the top-level domain and a second-level domain.

Choosing a domain

There are specific first-level domain names for the government (.govt), military (.mil), business or commercial ventures (.com), non-profit organizations (.org), educational facilities (.edu) and network businesses (.net). This part of the domain is chosen depending on price and availability in the registrar’s directory. Country code top-level domain (ccTLD) extensions can also be used when you want to be specify the country of operation.

You will have to spend much time in brainstorming for a second-level domain (SLD) name. To be on the better side, use a domain name that is easy to remember; make it easy for visitors to reach your website by keeping it simple and short. Avoid using hyphens and plurality in your domain names, they confuse and redirect your visitors respectively. You can use a Thesaurus or find a domain name that matches your business. You can also implement SEO on your domain by using keywords or key phrases mostly used in your line of business.

More creativity is required in determining the SLD. Generally, a domain name is determined by the purpose of the website: It should be in line with your business or interest. However, you need to keep your focus on how to get better traffic by the name you come up with. You should buy your domain name from a company you trust gauging by the price -cheap is always expensive.

In this stage, you require a good domain name. People use domain names to view your website, it is as simple as that. Computers communicate through IP addresses. When a visitor searches your domain name into a browser, it is translated into your server IP address and responds by sending back site files- visible in browsers as the web-page. The network protocol (TCP/IP) is for computer communication purpose, but humans can communicate with the computers through domain names.

When you get yourself web hosting services, you are buying space on your website. You will receive a cPanel which gives you total control of your website; using the cPanel you can easily install QuickInstall icons and many framework applications to make your website efficient.

 

When you register your domain, you can now extend its life cycle (the period between registration and being free to the public for new registration) by renewing its registration; the maximum period of registration is usually 10 years. A domain registrar can also be a web hosting company or a reseller, but the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is responsible for setting prices and regulating domain registrations.

You will, therefore, need to identify a hosting company that can register your domain- try registering with GoDaddy.com, NameCheap.com, Domain.com and Network Solutions.

When registering your domain, you will be required to provide a valid email address to verify our WHOIS information. When choosing a domain name it is important not to infringe or imitate a public entity, you are expected to use your best judgment in this process.

 Website content is King

The next part of starting a website is how well you present your content. You should prepare your content to reflect the needs of your customers. You should visualize what the customer would need to do on your website – they require information and secure transactions.

To generate high traffic, you would need a professional to help you write and structure your content; or you can educate yourself on the latest search engine quality guidelines. Your goal here is to get a better ranking in the search engines so that your website appears first on search engine results page (SERP).

A responsive and easy to use website attracts more customer and stand out in the search engine rankings. You need to have relevant content and an interactive site layout (good navigation system, graphics and color section). Use a visual aid to assist your customers further understand your business.

You can increase your loading speed by hiding or burying cutting edge technologies and large downloading pages a level on the site- most designers make a mistake of keeping them on the primary index pages or home page. You can also slice the page size of images to improve on page loading.

When starting a website focus on maintaining consistency so that you do not confuse your reader- if you have decided on one color, font or navigation tool, stick to it.

Conclusion

It is easier building your website using WordPress if you have limited knowledge in web design. Since you have discovered that you will be making a lot of transactions, like hiring professionals, registering your domain, paying for web hosting and purchasing tools and software,  you budget must fit your plans.

When doing registrations, ensure that you enter proper details to avoid inconvenience. Read company policies before consulting their web design services.  If it is a business website, focus on what your prospects need and invest a lot on SEO. Use social media marketing to promote your website. Approach this process with a positive mind and determination, and you will end up with a successful website.

 

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