There are millions upon millions of websites on the Internet today. Users can literally search for anything and the search engine will populate an eye opening amount of results. Each website is unique and owned by someone, but how does someone even start to build a website? Let’s discuss the basics from a beginner level of what some terms are, how a website gets created and the secret to obtaining a spot on the Internet!
Website – a group of World Wide Web pages usually containing hyperlinks to each other and made available online by an individual, company, educational institution, government, or organization. A web page is a page of a website. Think of it as a book. The book is the website and the chapters are the web pages. But then there is a sequel to the book…and that is a link on the website that takes you to another website!
Web Server – an Internet-connected computer that receives the request for a web page sent by your browser. The server is the book store, where you need to go to be able to obtain the book.
Web Browser – connects your computer to the server through an IP address. Examples of web browser are:
- Google Chrome
- Internet Explorer
The web browser is how you search for information at the bookstore. This actually could be better explained as the card catalog at a library. The old Dewey decimal system!
Step 1: The Domain Name
A domain name is a sequence of usually alphanumeric characters (such as Tripleninedigital.com) that specifies a group of online resources (as of a particular company or person) and that forms part of the corresponding Internet addresses
A domain name is quite literally your web address. Just like the bookstore has an address, so does your website. Your domain name should be something that is easily identifiable, doesn’t have a weird spelling, and makes a good impression for search engine optimization.
When trying to figure out a good domain name, the best place to start is by doing your own search of similar websites and what their domain names are. Once you decide on a name you like, do a search to see if the price point to purchase it is feasible. Whether it is something that is wide open or owned by someone else, it will need to be purchased either way.
Some places that a domain name can be purchased from include:
Step 2: The Website Host
In a nutshell, web hosting is the process of renting or buying space from a company (server) to house a website on the World Wide Web. Website content such as HTML, CSS, and images have to be housed on a server to be viewable online.
Think of it as renting an apartment. The website host is the landlord that owns the apartment. You want to rent that apartment so you can have all of your stuff inside of it. Your bedroom, your kitchen, your living room are all of your web pages and your bed, stove and couch would be your website content.
You connect your domain name to your hosting provider so that when users visit your website address, they are shown your website that you store on your hosting account.
Some popular website hosting companies include:
Hosting services can cost anywhere between $2 to $100+ per month, depending on the kind of technology and support you choose.
Step 3: Implement the Content Management System
Some websites are built and managed using Content Management Systems (CMS) like:
Thanks to the technology of these CMS, they are mostly user-friendly and you don’t need to know much HTML to manage them. Some are more expensive than others, but they all provide a valuable tool to the website creator – a way to easily build what people see on their screens when searching for you on the Internet.
Step 4: Want to Sell? Then You’ll Need an E-Commerce Platform
Not just every website comes with the capability to sell on the Internet. E-commerce is commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet. Another expense for your website, but could make you a great profit if done right!
Some examples of e-commerce platforms are:
- Business Squarespace
- GoDaddy Online Store
Step 5: Maintaining Your Website
All websites should have a maintenance plan in place. This means back-ups of your files, monitoring website uptime, updating website software and managing website content. It is very important to know that websites can, and do, crash (break). The most recent website crash that comes to mind that many people will know about is when Taylor Swift’s tour tickets went on sale on Ticket Master’s website and it crashed.
There are several reasons why websites crash. Sometimes they are easy to fix and other times it takes a professional to navigate the reasoning. A few of the most common reasons for a crash include:
- Broken code
- Plugin errors
- Update issues
- Server or hosting provider errors
- Massive traffic spike (Taylor Swift fans!)
- Expired domain
- Malicious attacks
If your website is not working properly, make sure other websites are working properly that aren’t yours to make sure it isn’t an Internet connection problem. If the Internet is working, then we suggest starting with whoever hosts or manages your website to see if they have any issues on their end. Make sure everything is updated and if there was recently an update, there might be a coding issue. This is where it can be tricky to manage your own website as coding is like a whole other language. Talk to your management team for some help when it comes to this problem.
Step 6: The Secret to The Best Website – Hire a Developer to Do All of This for You
If you have made it this far without your head spinning in circles, then you may be a great candidate to build and maintain your own website. However, if you don’t have any background in web development or programming, then hiring a developer is your best bet. A web developer is someone who can make creating and maintaining your website their priority while you focus on other things. And hiring a web developer who has an agency connection is even better if you are a business owner.
The Bottom Line
A website can be a good investment for anyone who has information they want to spread out to the whole world on the Internet. However, it can be very tricky to build a website that is engaging, user-friendly and pretty to the viewer. That is why when it comes to websites, even if you have a small background in coding, we always suggest teaming up with an agency that specializes in website development so you have a team on hand to help when questions arise.