Websites consist of three things: an address (Domain Name), somewhere to keep it where it can be accessed (Host) and some content to display.
Every website needs a domain name… or address – mine is unclesimon.uk. Obviously, it has to be unique. Most Hosts (see below) can sell you the domain name when you set up a hosting account. You can choose an available domain name, including the suffix (that’s the last bit after the “.”) – prices vary depending on suffix: a .com address is usually a bit more expensive that a .co.uk for example. Expect to pay £10 or £15 per year.
There are lots of companies out there that will Host your website. They all offer different packages and levels of service. Speed is important these days, as Google will consider page load speed when ranking your site in search results. Some will give you more server space or offer email addresses with your domain name, offer backup services, security, tools etc.
Many will offer a special deal for your first year – free domain name or reduced rates. Always look at what the price will be to renew next year, as it can be a pain to move to a different provider once your site is up and running. A good estimate is somewhere between £5 and £10 per month for a basic website, but you may well get your first year for as little as £12 all in!
Once you have your domain name and host sorted out, it’s time to start building your website. There are a few ways to do this;
- Use the website builder that is (probably) provided by your host – they tend to be quite basic unless you pay extra for the “Pro” version.
- Buy some dedicated software such as Adobe Dreamweaver (expensive).
- Code it yourself! Not recommended unless you know how to do it, and very time consuming!
- If your host supports it, use WordPress. Extremely capable, free (as always there are paid-for “plug-ins” which may give you extra functionality). This site is built using only free WordPress tools. It can be a bit of a learning curve, but well worth it.
Once you have your preferred method of building your site, you need to start pulling together some actual content. Think about logos, colour schemes, imagery and style before starting building.
Use high quality original or copyright free (or paid for) images, videos etc. Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash etc. are a good source of free images. Be prepared to be able to edit, resize and alter images to suit, and also create original artwork for your site. Getting this right is essential if you want to have a good-looking, professional website.
Ensure your site is ‘responsive’ – viewable on tablets, phones as well as traditional computer screens.
Pay attention to your “SEO” (or Search Engine Optimisation) – your customers need to be able to find you! Getting your site to rank highly in search results can be tricky and time consuming.
Make sure you have adequate security on your site, and backups available if the worst should happen. Most hosts will provide daily backups as part of your hosting package, but if you are using WordPress, use a good security plugin as well!
And finally, update your site often – fresh content will ensure viewers keep coming back, and search engines will rank you higher!
And if that all sounds too much…
I can always do it for you 🙂