So you need a website but you are not sure how to go about it.
In today’s day and era we have an overwhelming options to go and build a website, from hiring a professional to do it yourself virtual services, using a free hosting or premium cloud services. The questions remain the same: “How to build a website and survive the experience?” and “Should I do it my self or hire a professional to do it for me?”
Below are some of the main activities you will need to consider before deciding if this is something for you to do by yourself or hire a professional.
Before you go and build a website you must plan your activities based on your goals.
- Start with defining your needs and what you want the website to do for you and why.
- List the pages and the structure you want to have.
- Most websites have a similar structure. Home, about us, contact us, legal, privacy, product/s and/or services. More advanced websites offer ecommerce features and more.
Once you have all pages sort out the actual work start. Write the content you want to have on each page and make sure the message is clear and you have a call to action on each page (if needed). After all you want to make your website enticing so people will connect with you, or have visitors come back for more of what they like.
The above steps most likely will be something you will be doing anyway with or without a professional web developer.
A bit more technical
Now comes the more technical part where the help of a professional might be handy and save you time and money.
Technology, framework and platform
When building a website some might argue that one technology is better than the other, or that one framework is better, and so is the case with the platform to carry a website. This is true based on the need one have e.g. do you need to write a custom code for your website and what this code will do. Some frameworks offer modularity’s where code that was developed by one can be deployed multiple times to other websites while maintaining separation between websites. And there is much more to it… As this is a tricky technical subject I will just say that this is where an expert can become handy.
Now, that you figured the platform and framework you want to use you need to select where should your website reside? There are a few options here and at times it’s overwhelming to select from a free hosting service, paid shared hosting, dedicated server, or cloud based hosting, virtual machine or real hardware server.
If you choose to do it yourself you will have to research a bit to find the best solution for you. Each hosting services have its advantages and disadvantages. It is recommended to consult with an independent professional regarding your hosting options.
Have you bought a domain name? A domain name is the website address you will use for your website. Buying a domain name can be easy using a domain purchase service; normally offered by hosting service providers and if you sign up for an annual plan the domain name is normally free. Finding a name for a domain can be a bit painful as the hunt for the ultimate website name is on for a long time. So be a bit creative and think about a name and the extension you want/need i.e. .com .org .biz etc.
Ok, I have my plan, my website copy (text and images), and a hosting plan. What now? Now the real fun begin.
Building your website
- Create a website workspace
- The website workspace is where your website files will be on the hosting server. These files include pages, code, images, and databases.
- Setting up a database
- If your website require a database configuration you will need to set one with your hosting service. Setting a Database is fairly straight forward however maintaining it and keeping the data safe is considered an advance activity. Here I will strongly recommend a professional to handle this activity.
- Once everything is place and you are ready to develop your website you will need to:
- Create your webpages
- Populate the copy you prepared
- position the page layout
- Insert images
- test and fix any issues until each page looks the way you want it to be
- This is a time consuming effort that can be a bit frustrating if you are not an experienced web developer.
- As today most of the devices accessing the internet are mobile consider to have a responsive website. Responsive website provide a better user experience when visiting your website from a mobile device. So your website looks great on a desktop computer or a hand held device.
- Code development might be needed if your website requires it. Here you will need the help of a professional web developer to complete this task, test and confirm it works as you want it to be.
Once you complete your development work and testing, you can unveil the website and share it with your friends, clients and more…
Wait the work is not done, it just started.
The fact you have a website doesn’t mean you can go on and continue with things as they were before. To keep your website attracting audience you need to keep it a live i.e. add content to the site on regular basis, engage with your audience via online communication, social media and more. You might want to use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) service to help boost your website ranking against your completion or use other digital marketing services to attract more visitors to your website. All this takes time and you might want to consider a team of professionals to do it for you.
I want to do it myself
There are a few generic solutions out there that allow for easy do it yourself websites. Listed in a nonspecific order: Go daddy website builder, Wix, Hostmonster Site Builders, 1and1 MyWebsite, and more. In each one of them you will need to invest time and effort to create your website. Start by selecting a template for your website, manipulate the text on the pages, create new pages, connect to a shopping cart, and more.
These do it yourself solutions are a bit limited and provide a quick solution to someone who cannot or don’t want to hire a professional.
If you like the challenge, want to say “I built it”, have the time, or don’t have the budget to hire a professional then do it yourself approach might be the one for you. However if you want a professional website, built for your specific needs, keep flexibility, and have limited budget than a professional service is what you need.
Professional affordable websites
With the right approach and planning websites budget should not be in the thousands of dollars. You can get a basic website (including blog features) up and running in 24hr for less than $600 ,including Installation, and 1 hour 1:1 virtual live training on your new website.