People are often intimidated by the thought of creating their own customized website. A lack of necessary knowledge and skills might seem like a serious blocker for you to proceed.
The truth about website creation is that it is no longer the daunting technical feat that it once was, especially for newcomers. There are a multitude of tools, templates and tutorials that can help you get a website up and running in no time at all.
We will take a look at some of the most common methods and concepts for setting up a website for yourself. This includes finding the best way to get your website online, and hopefully, solving some of the problems that are stalling your progress.
How you decide to proceed will depend on how comfortable you are with the website building process, how keen you are to learn new things, and how much of a budget you have to work with.
Planning Your Website
First, you have to decide why do you want to have a website? What is the goal? Now, on the surface, this may seem like a simple question, but there are actually quite a few things that you should think about right at the start of your project.
Do you want to interact with an already established audience, such as pre-existing customers and followers, or do you want to attract a whole new segment of people to a brand new business or project?
Understanding who the target audience of your website is, will help you to figure out what kind of content you need to have on your website, how they will interact with it and share within their community.
This is a great opportunity for you to go and look at some of your favorite companies and brands’ websites, taking note of the page layout and structuring looks. This can serve as inspiration for you to create a clean design that is functional, fresh, and unique.
You can decide to go the DIY route and create your own website yourself, or find a professional service that will do it for you. Whichever approach you decide to take, you should really think about creating a basic site map next.
What is a site map?
A site map is a very important visual planning tool that will help you to understand how your content layout will look as a finished web page. Creating a site map is really easy, and can even be done with a pencil and a piece of paper. This hierarchical list will help your project to start taking shape without a single line of code having to be written.
Defining Website Goals
Once you have gotten your initial planning out of the way, you can start to think about the fun stuff: what is your website actually going to do?
Do you have an online store idea to sell unique products on the internet?
Perhaps you are an artist that wants to have a great looking website to house your portfolio for potential clients?
In either case, you would want to have a trustworthy eCommerce platform installed, which would allow you to take payments from your customers and ship products.
Websites aren’t only for businesses either. Perhaps you have a personal blog that you would like to create and update with interesting writing? Maybe you have an interesting hobby that you want to share with the rest of the world?
You can do almost anything you like, the only limitation is your creativity and imagination.
Most modern web building platforms have social media integration, so your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other services, can all be found across your website. This lets your visitors discover all of the various platforms that you are currently active on.
If you think that your online following appreciates your work, then why not set up a donations section where fans can show their gratitude to your work by donating small amounts to your PayPal account or BitCoin wallet?
You could also redirect visitors to a Patreon account. Patreon helps creators to secure regular funding on a monthly basis, allowing them to pursue their artistic and creative ventures more freely.
Taking The DIY Approach: Tutorials and Resources
So, you have decided to dive in and build your own website, great! There has never been a better time to learn how to design a web page than right now, with literally thousands of different online resources for you to learn from.
The vast majority of these resources are free, but there are exceptions that must be paid for, so make sure that you have a budget to work with if you plan on spending money on your website build.
Next, you will need to decide on a platform to build your website on. Two popular choices right now are Joomla and WordPress, which are pretty standard website platforms for building attractive and functional web pages.
Everybody has their preference over which is the better of the two, but WordPress is certainly more popular. This is primarily because WordPress offers a very user friendly interface that makes updating blogs and pictures very easy, while giving users literally thousands of different themes and templates to customize their websites.
Whichever platform you choose, you will be pleasantly surprised by the sheer volume of free video lessons that are available on the internet, especially on YouTube. Searching for website building tutorials will yield thousands of results, so you can get started quite quickly in most cases.
Sometimes, you might find that, although the tutorial is free, the specific plugins and templates that the tutorial requires you to use are not. You will need to budget for these items if you are planning to follow step by step guides that use commercial templates and plugins.
If you feel like taking your knowledge to the next level, but are operating on a tight budget, then why not check out online training resources like Udemy, Coursera, or Udacity. Some of these online courses are free, while others are not, so you can find the right fit for your requirements and budget.
Using a Website Builder
This a mixed solution between DIY and outsourcing. You create the website yourself, within the builder, most often this being a simple drag-and-drop. Additionally, you can also use the services of the website builder provider to host and maintain your website.
The process of building a website through a site builder is relatively straight forward. Once you have an idea of what your website is going to be used for, and you have a basic site map plotted out, all you need to do is find a theme that suits your vision of what it should look like.
Most of the templates that are found inside of a website builder can be customized and changed, giving your website a unique look that will help you to stand out from the crowd.
In this case you won’t need any special knowledge or skills, and the provider company will offer you everything you need to get your website up and running.
Do It For Me Approach
There are plenty of professionals out there that are looking to help you to build just the right website for your specific needs and your budget, so you don’t need to spend a fortune on it. There are many online services that can streamline the whole process from start to finish for you, it all depends on what your budget allows.
Freelancers are another great option, and they can work out as an economical option if you have more of a modest budget. Freelancers are generally more flexible to their client’s needs, and can offer you a personalized experience that could yield great results.
Finding the Right Hosting Solution
Once you are ready to launch your website, you will need to find a hosting solution that will keep your site online and accessible to the internet.
There are many different hosting partners to choose from, such as HostPapa, which not only offers domain names and hosting services, but handy tools like website builders, apps such as online commerce functionality and blogging tools, and much more. Choosing a service like this will make your website building journey a far more simple experience with, a professional and reliable outcome.
There are many additional elements for you to consider when choosing a webhost, and not all of them are obvious at first.
Do you need around the clock support? Do you need a managed service that can troubleshoot for you when things go wrong? Does your web host offer assistance with backups, or are you comfortable with backing up and restoring a website from a backup yourself?
These are all things that you should be thinking about when you sign up to a service, that way you are prepared when it comes time to deal with them.
Naming and Tracking Your Site
It sounds obvious, but after you are done with the building of the website, you will need to find a suitable name for it. Make sure to choose something that is directly related to the website goal. For example, if you want to sell shoes, the name should probably have shoes mentioned.
If you want to showcase your wedding photography to get hired for more weddings, then the name should mention wedding photography.
Domain names are relatively inexpensive to register and maintain, so once you have found an available one that is easy to remember, suitable to your content or brand, and one that is hopefully quite short, then you are ready to register it.
Next, you’ll want to track your website statistics, such as daily visitors, average time spent on your site, and many other useful metrics. For this, there’s Google Analytics. This is really valuable for businesses that wish to track their website performance, see if the users are finding what they came for, and make necessary adjustments.
Creating and Managing Website Content
Perhaps the biggest challenge to any website build is the difficulty in creating engaging and desirable content. If you are building a website to showcase your talents, then this won’t be a problem for you. However, it can be tricky to add content to a website if you are not familiar with the process.
Luckily, CMS (Content Management Systems) such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, make this very easy to do. In many cases, it is merely a matter of copying and pasting text and pictures into an open form on your CMS to add excellent and unique content to your website.
There are many other CMS brands out there, so feel free to search out and experiment with different ones until you find the best fit for you. One word of warning though, be sure to check out compatibility with the hosting service that you decide on using.
As we have seen, building your own website is simple, provided you take the time initially to plan your website, as well as the functionality and layout of your pages within the site. Perhaps you already have a website, but are thinking about adding some additional functionality to it, or you’re thinking about a style overhaul. Hopefully you can apply some of the same concepts in those situations too.
Your website can be as simple, or as jam-packed with features as you need it to be.
People no longer need to have extensive knowledge about programming and scripting languages in order to launch a great looking website, which is fantastic news for the less technically minded among us.
With these technical barriers greatly reduced, it allows you to concentrate on creating great content and design, and achieve your goals. There is no reason why anybody can’t try and build a website of their very own.
Have you tried building your own website? Did you succeed? Did you run into any blocks? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to learn more!