Almost every business will benefit by having a website, but for most people, it’s difficult to see how to get one. They’ll often need to use a professional website development team to get their site online, and may never understand the terminology.
This is a quick guide on getting started yourself, and finally answering the question “how do I make a website?”
There are 4 parts of a website that need to be set up to get you online.
The domain name is the address of the page – for example, smartchurchtech.co.uk. The domain name can be purchased separately or as part of a package, so if you have an idea for the name but aren’t ready to get the site online, you can start piece by piece.
A website is made up of files – code, images, text, and possibly more. To get your site online, you need somewhere to store these files. This is known as hosting.
If you are building a site by hand, you’ll need space to store the literal files that make up the site. Alternatively, you may use certain frameworks or visual design tools.
Frameworks such as WordPress are built from many individual files. If you are not using wordpress.com (a free site where you can create a site, but in quite a limited fashion) you will need to install the WordPress software on your hosting platform. Once installed, you create an account to login to which allows simple editing of your site.
Other options include Squarespace and Wix. Both are visual design tools and are hosted on servers belonging to the respective companies. You can use your domain name to redirect visitors to these sites, and don’t need to worry about individual files.
If you’re coding from scratch, the design is entirely up to you. In most cases, you’ll use a WordPress theme or some of the predefined styles on Squarespace and Wix. All of these options are basically templates that give you a good start on layout.
They can be tweaked and adapted as needed, with varying levels of customization available.
The content of the site is the words and images you use to describe your business, tell your story, etc. You can have content prepared before designing the site, or you can add it in once you’re happy with the way everything looks. From a technical perspective, content is the easiest step – from the site creator’s perspective, it may be the hardest part to complete.
How to Get Started
Determine your level of technical knowhow and proceed accordingly. If you don’t feel at all confident with any of the above, you may do best arranging a team to help with everything – names, hosting, design and content.
If you have some knowledge, many hosting companies provide the option of a simple WordPress installation by clicking a single button. Bluehost, Hostgator, GoDaddy and others offer this option.
If you are competent with desktop applications and enjoy a drag-and-drop visual interface, Wix or Squarespace may provide a better option. Using these tools may be slightly more expensive than using your own WordPress hosting, but the ease of use and the ability to edit your own content may be a deciding factor.
How Do I Make a Website That Ranks Well?
Search engine ranking is based on many factors, but some of the most important are ensuring that the site loads quickly, the content is relevant and informative, and that you work on your marketing to ensure that people already know you exist.
With a well-designed site that meets these targets, you’re likely to do well with your ranking.