So you’re considering building a Website, but you’re new to this whole thing. You don’t even really know where to start. It can be easy to find yourself frozen before you get started if you don’t have a clear list of steps to guide you.
To help you out, here’s a step-by-step guide to what you need to start a website.
1. A Goal
If you’re at the stage of thinking about starting a website, you may already have a good start on this one (most people don’t start out wanting a website without having an idea of what it would be for). Nonetheless, before you go any further, really clarify for yourself what you want your website to accomplish.
Whatever your particular goal, all the other steps laid out here can play a role in helping you achieve it, which makes it important that you figure this step out before going any further.
2. A Design
Every website you see on the web has a basic web design that someone had to create. When a website’s design is intuitive and doing its job, you don’t necessarily think much about it, but that’s because someone else did the thinking for you during the design process to make sure the site easily meets visitor needs.
You’ve got a few options to design your website. You can hire someone that’s experienced in web design to build you something unique that suits your needs. You can use a website builder to build it yourself using templates and an intuitive design interface. Or you can try to learn web design yourself and build a website from scratch. Be warned that the latter option won’t be easy if you don’t have prior experience (and really isn’t necessary for this era of easy-to-use website builders), but if web design is a skill set you’d like to have, building your first website is good practice.
As with web design, you probably never put much thought into the work that goes into crafting all the words on the pages of websites you visit. But someone put that time and work in and it’s a step you have to take as well.
This is another step where it may be worth hiring a professional to help you out, especially if your website’s goal is to sell something. Professional website copywriters know how to develop positioning for businesses and figure out the language most likely to drive visitors to action. And if writing’s not your forte, you’ll probably spend lots of time and mental energy on worse results than if you hired someone who really knows what they’re doing.
4. A Name
This deceptively simple step can be one of the hardest parts for many people. It doesn’t require a lot of tedious work, but it does require making a hard creative decision and it’s easy to get stuck at this step and have a hard time moving forward.
When buying a domain name for your website, you have to think about more than just what sounds good. Part of your brainstorming process should be to look up available domain names as you go. You don’t necessarily have to register the exact domain as the name you want your website to have, but it will make it much easier for repeat visitors to find you again if the names match, so it’s worth trying to come up with something original that you can grab the .com domain for without having to use weird spellings.
You will almost certainly find this step difficult, but don’t let it take you forever. Give yourself a deadline and get it done. Having a name that’s not 100% perfect is better than not having a name or website at all.
5. Web Hosting
You can usually register your domain name and buy web hosting in one fell swoop since most hosting plans include at least one domain name as part of the package (and sometimes more). Picking the right hosting plan can be a bit overwhelming, but a little basic information on how types of web hosting differ should give you a pretty clear idea of what to go with.
If you’re just starting out and your website will be on the smaller side without a devoted following, an affordable shared plan will probably work just fine and you can get one for just a few bucks a month.
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