The Essentials of Creating a Website
Check out my free website creation tutorial. No software needed!
Domain Name TipsBefore you purchase your domain name (yourname.com), you need to decide on what your site will be called. And please pay special attention to the next few paragraphs because choosing the domain name of your site may be more important than you think.
Someone that filled out the newsletter survey mentioned they wanted to create a website about wedding information.
Years ago, I would recommend registering a domain name that included all the keywords you wanted to rank for because that was a surefire way of getting a top ranking on Google.com.
Times have changed. The engines take a lot into consideration when they rank a page. They look at content, social signals (mentions on Twitter, Facebook, etc.), quality of the websites linking back, etc.
So if you want to rank for "wedding planner", just getting the domain name wedding-planner-chicago.com is not going to guarantee a rank for that keyword phrase.
Now, if the phrase is not very competitive then it could be easier to rank for an exact match domain, but for the most part, it's more than just the name that will control your rank.
So you need to decide if it's more important for you to go for the brand name or use a descriptive keyword phrase that will define your site.
For more info about choosing domain names, see this page.
How Much Does It Cost to Register a Domain?
When I created my first site I paid $35/yr for my domain name. Fortuntaely, the prices have come down tremendously and you'll get the same service as you would receive with any higher-priced domain registrar.
After you register your domain name, you really won't have to do anything else with the domain registrar except transfer your domain name to the hosting company that you decide to use.
Some domain registrars offer hosting as well. So you can do everything at one place.
The Hosting CompanyRemember that after you register your domain name (yournameofchoice.com), you need a hosting company to provide the support to build the pages on your site.
Without a hosting company, no one would be able to view your site and having a domain name would mean nothing.
Register your domain name here and if you choose to host your site at the same place, you won't have to do any transfers. You can just begin building your website immediately.
What Exactly Does The Hosting Company Give Me?
There are certain features that almost all hosting companies have:
1) Space For Your Pages: They will give you a certain amount of space for all of your pages and they always measure it in "megabytes". Most web hosts today give you at least 10 gigabytes which is more than enough for most sites today.
Even if you are going to be hosting a lot of video, that's usually plenty of room and you can always upgrade to a package with more space if you need it.
2) Multiple Email Accounts: This would be something like firstname.lastname@example.org. Most people find that 5 email addresses is enough for their site.
3) Bandwidth Limit: In English, the word "bandwidth" just means "traffic."
Every time someone visits your site they download a page (even though they may not realize it) and every time a page is downloaded (or transferred) to their PC, they're using up bandwidth on your hosting company's server.
Hosting companies give you a limit on how much bandwidth you can use up in a month. Usually 3GB (gigabytes) of transfer is plenty. That's about 150,000 page hits in a month. Most people never exceed their limits.
As you read over the hosting company's benefits, you'll see a lot more features than the above three but these are the main features you'll need to be most concerned about as a beginner.
"How Much Does Hosting Cost?"
You normally pay the hosting company monthly and the prices can range anywhere from free to $1,000 per month (For dedicated hosting).
As a beginner you shouldn't need to pay any more that $3-10/month.
PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM THE FREE HOSTING COMPANIES!
I had a nightmare with one and I would never recommend this to anyone who is serious about creating a long-lasting, professional web site. You could wake up one morning and your site could be gone and you don't get the customer service you need.
And if you are just starting out, you definitely need someone to be there if you need help or have questions about building your site.
If your hosting company won't be there to help you, no one will.
The "free" company I used wanted to charge me to answer a question on an issue that was THEIR problem! Sure, they're hosting was free but they ask you to pay for any kind of technical customer service you need.
Nothing in life is free, and on the Internet that philosophy still holds true. It's worth it to just cough up the few extra bucks per month and receive the quality service and support you need.
The word "free" may sound nice up front, but you'll soon realize they'll always be some kind of price later on...whether it be monetary of costs related to time.
Building Your Web PagesOnce you've gotten your domain name and found a hosting company you can start creating the web pages for your site.
If you don't know HTML (the language web pages are created in) then don't worry. I didn't know it when I first started and I taught myself all I need to know online. You can also use an editor.
An HTML editor is a program that allows you to create your web site in a "word processor-like" environment while the program writes the HTML code for you in the background.
So in order to get your page on your site, you just copy the code, paste it into a blank document and then save the page to the web (via your hosting company).
And of course if you need help, your hosting company will help you out with this process. More on website editors below.
You can even create one from scratch with HTML here.
WordPress is the most common way to create websites today. It comes free with almost any standard hosting package and templates are included.
Using Macromedia Dreamweaver
This is for static websites. If you don't know the difference, read this article.
I used to be an avid Microsoft FrontPage user until they discontinued it with the release of Vista, Microsoft launched Expression Web. Due to the horrible reviews, I decided to try Dreamweaver instead.
I was amazingly pleased with how much better it is than FrontPage. It doesn't add all that extraneous code and it is much better with CSS (cascading style sheets) - which is a must for large sites.
If you need a software to create and edit your web pages Dreamweaver is certainly an option although some people find it a bit too advanced. You can also go with Artisteer. It's much more user friendly.
Learn HTML On Your Own!
Now, if you're really ambitious and want to learn HTML, I've provided a tutorial on my site at http://www.2createawebsite.com/build/html.html.
Or as I mentioned earlier, you can use my copy-paste HTML tutorial.
It's a good language
to know and it's not
hard to grasp.
Did You Know?
If you just want to practice with HTML...
1) Open up a blank document in Notepad (For Windows users it's located under START, PROGRAMS, ACCESSORIES).
2) Write the code, then save the file as yourpage.html.
3) Then open up this file in any browser. Voila! You can see your page!!
So there you have the essentials of building a site. Of course there's much more to learn about enhancing your web site, but if you follow the above steps regarding registering your domain name and signing up with a hosting company then you are well on your way to starting your site.
And if you choose the services I recommended you'll only be paying about $6 per month to run your site...which is extremely reasonable considering what it used to cost to maintain a web site.
Items You May Have Missed...
For a High Quality,
Low Cost Hosting
Learn How to Make a Blog
Download a Free Trial of Artisteer
Get a Copy of Dreamweaver
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