So you want to create your own website? Whether it’s a profit project or purely for kicks, websites are a great way to share information and ideas to other people. There are plenty of free web hosts out there that provide pre-made templates for those not familiar with HTML or CSS. There are also free sites that allow you to create forum boards and blogs without the hassle of starting from scratch.
But if you’ve got the technological know-how, building a site is both challenging and rewarding. For the budding web developer, here’s a couple of things no self-respecting website would do without.
1. A Web Host
It doesn’t matter how groundbreaking your website is. If you don’t put it on the web, no one will be able to find it. And unless you built the webpage for your own personal viewing pleasure, there’s no point to it.
Before you begin building your website, find a web hosting provider. This is basically a company with a lot of computers connected to the Internet. Once you upload your site with them, everyone in the world can view it. It’s comparable to renting an office space. Without a host, your web baby won’t have a home.
2. A Domain Name
This is the URL people type into the address bar. If getting a web host is like renting office space, getting a domain name is like choosing a brand name for your store. You want it to be quick and catchy so that people can remember it.
If you’ve got a great name for your site but no actual webpage yet, don’t worry. You can still register the name you have in mind. This reserves the domain name for your personal use only. Remember, though, that you’ll still have to pay annually for it. If you don’t want the registration money to go to waste, better start building your site fast.
Do you want people to visit your website just to look at a blank background? Now that you’ve got a brand name and a capable web host, you’ll need actual content. Web content refers to anything, from graphics to images to text. You want people to come for the catchy URL and stay for the content, so you’d best make it good.
If you’ve got the general idea for your content but you don’t know the first thing about producing it, relax! You can always look for a web content writer or graphics designer and ask help. There are a lot of freelancing web content developers out there with fairly low rates.
If you don’t want your potential webpage visitors to stare at a blank background, you don’t want them to stare at a wall of text and a jumble of links and images at the bottom either. Every website needs some organization and a good design.
Find someone great at graphics and ask him or her to make customized side bars, banners, links, buttons, and so on. No matter what theme you’re going for – colorful, minimalist, professional – all the elements on your page should match it.
Even if you’ve got a good hosting company, a great name, and some killer content, it’ll all be pointless if your visitor counter sits at 0. The last – but most certainly not the least – thing a website needs is a little promotion.