In the early days of the internet, websites were generally limited to academic institutions, business entities, government agencies, and those with the technical know-how and motivation to build and manage one for their own wants and needs. But over time, things started to change. These days, it seems like there’s a website for just about anyone or anything.
There’s a good chance that, sooner or later, you’ll feel compelled to build a website. Maybe it’s for your startup, or perhaps it’s for establishing your brand. Or maybe it’s just because you’ve always wanted a website to call your own. Whatever the reason, there’s probably one thing stopping you: not knowing how to get started, let alone take a website idea and turn it into a reality.
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. The following is a step-by-step guide to building a website:
Buy a domain name
The first step in building a website is buying a domain name. Someone looking to buy a domain name needs to search domain registrars to see what’s available. While the “best” domain names are taken or cost a small fortune, a little creativity and ingenuity can lead to promising results with affordable price tags. Aim for a domain that is fewer than 10 characters long and “rolls off the tongue” as much as possible. The closer the name is to whatever you plan to use the website for, the better.
Choose a web hosting service
Once you’ve bought a domain name that fits, it’s time to choose a web hosting service. The good news is most domain registrars double as web hosting services, so the registrar you used to buy the domain may also be the right choice for web hosting. Choosing one that offers reliable uptime, fast loading speeds, and excellent customer support is essential.
Plan your website
It might sound strange, but the next step is to grab a pencil and some paper. That’s because you want to plan your website, and the best way to get started is to sketch it out. You don’t need to be an artist or graphic designer so long as you’re able to draw basic shapes. While adding colors and shades to your sketch isn’t necessary, it may help you determine which combinations will be most suitable for your website.
Design your website
This is where things seem to get complicated. While designing your website from scratch using CSS or HTML is an option, we’ll assume you don’t have the knowledge or experience to do so without taking a crash course in web design. Fortunately, the wide variety of user-friendly website builder tools makes the process easy and straightforward. Website builders offer templates and drag-and-drop interfaces that make creating a website a breeze. You may even have fun!
This is what it’s all about. At the end of the day, a website is nothing more than a virtual repository of information presented in various ways. That information is collectively referred to as content. What sort of content will your website provide its visitors? The sky is the limit, but generally speaking, the best websites stick to a specific theme in terms of subject matter and purpose. Since this entire project started when you decided you had a reason to build a website, you probably have a good idea of what you want to put on it. With that said, you may soon find yourself running out of content to add, so you’ll want to think ahead about how you plan to expand your site as it starts to draw traffic.
A website is only as good as its functionality. With this in mind, putting your website through a series of tests before letting it loose onto the internet is essential. Every link should be checked while loading times should be monitored. You should also attempt to access the website from various browsers and devices to ensure it’s functional on Android devices, iPhones, PCs, and Macs and accessible on Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari.
If all looks good, it’s time to launch your website! The process itself is pretty unceremonious, but it signals the end of the building phase and marks the beginning of the management and promotional phase.
After launching your website, it’s time to start promoting it. This often means social media marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization, and other tactics to drive traffic to your site. However, your promotional needs will depend on the nature of the site and your goals going forward.
That covers it! Good luck with your new website!
Alex Farina is a freelance writer from Ohio. He enjoys writing about design, fashion, nature, and technology.