So you want to build that website… New Year’s resolutions and all that. It’s a lot easier than you think – here are some simple steps to follow so you’ll soon be online.
There are three basic components to getting your website online:
- a domain name;
- a hosting account; and
- a content management system.
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So now, you need to follow some steps to get your website up and running:
Choose your address (a domain name)
Your website is a collection of individual web pages that ‘live’ on a server in your hosting account that you rent. That hosting account is found at a specific address – called a domain name. Think of it as being the same as your postal address. You live at a certain address, and if someone wants to visit you, they use your address to get to you. But you and all your clothes, shoes possessions etc are in your home at your address, and your home is the server, the hosting account.
Your domain name is what people type into their browser to get to your website – i.e. www.yourdomainname.co.uk. Get creative and try to be unique but understandable when choosing your domain name.
Start with the name of your product or business. If you’re stuck, start by writing down some domain names – say 10 – and run them past a close friend or relative, then go to a hosting provider and see if the domain name is available. Try www.1and1.co.uk and 123-reg.co.uk – these are just two, there are many more you could try.
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Most hosting companies will either give you or sell you your choice of domain name at the same time you purchase your hosting account – if you look out for deals, they often give away free domain names with hosting packages.
Bring out your list from step 1, and when instructed in the purchase process, enter in your first domain name choice. If your preferred choice is already taken, work through your list, or consider the suggestions that the website comes up with. Finish the purchase process and the hosting company will send you an email with instructions on how to access you account.
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Now that you’ve got the technical side sorted out, it’s time to build your website. You have a few choices:
- pay someone to build your website
- build the website yourself
- use a free website package with templates
The first option is great if you can afford it and can find someone reliable – it really doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg if yours is a basic website. You can get websites built with a professional design from about £10 these days in less than a week. Use websites like www.peopleperhour.com and www.elance.com to find a web designer
It’s great to learn a new skill, and building your own website can be good fun if you start it with an open mind. Try the Mothers Who Work Club’s video tutorials to find out how to install a WordPress site in five minutes (once you’ve completed steps 1 and 2). Remember once you know how, you’ll have that knowledge forever and you will never depend on someone else unless it’s something really technical.
If you don’t really need a whizzy website and just want somewhere to put your words and pictures online, you could get a free blog on Blogger, WordPress.com etc, where it’s free to use. All you do is type and publish, but there are some limitations to what you can do on the website, and your blog can be closed with no notice at all from these providers.
[accordion title=”Choose a content management system”]
Whatever option you choose, your website will be powered by a content management system. This is like the brain of your website that keeps all your posts and pages, pictures etc in order and lets you display them the way you want. We recommend WordPress, as it’s the simplest content management system out there – plus there are thousands of developers who know how to build and customise it so it’s cheap to get up and running and to add new features to.
WordPress isn’t just for blogs – you can use it to create online stores, social networks, forums – you name it you can do it on WordPress…and from free to cheap in cost, too.