5 Easy Steps To Create A Website
In this tutorial you will learn all the basics that you will need to create a website from scratch. It is assumed that the reader of the following 5 Easy Steps To Website Creation has no prior knowledge of how to build a website from scratch and all the basics will be covered.
I would like to mention that I feel there is a distinct difference between a creating a simple website and creating a complex web application (Google, Yahoo, Ebay, Wikipedia, ect) and the skills required to create the latter require much time, experience, and knowledge which ,can not be compressed into 5 Easy Steps To Website Creation.
This article is not intended to be a comprehensive look at creating large scale data driven applications but the concepts developed in this how-to can be used as a starting point or a foundation upon which such skills could be built.
Picking A Domain Name:
First, what is a domain name? In simple terms a domain name is what points the world to your website, it is your identity on the web. It is important to remember that a bad domain name can ruin your chances of ever becoming popular. The name that you pick is going to be with you for the life of the website you create so make sure to find the perfect name. There are some key traits that I would recommend when searching for the perfect domain name:
- .COM – Firstly, .com is the most used TLD on the web and it is also the most recognized. If at all possible get a .com domain name. But do not sacrifice all at the expense of a .com name.
- Short – The shorter the name the easier it will be to remember and easier it will be to share. (This may be difficult to do)
- Memorable – You want your name to be memorable so that a first-time visitor does not have to struggle with the name of the site they just visited and can recall it later.
- Related – You want the name to be related to your core business concept or idea (this should be common sense).
- Hard to Misspell – If your name is hard to spell then potential visitors may go to the wrong website while trying to reach your website.
- Get the Alternatives – Buy the .com if at all possible but also go ahead and get the .net and .org as well so that if your website becomes popular that you will not lose your brand to squatters.
Purchase Your Domain Name:
So where do you buy your domain name? Well there are many places that you could purchase a domain name but I would recommend you use GoDaddy.com $1.99 Domain Names. I personally use GoDaddy.com for all of my website related expenses and I have never had any complaints.
Finding The Right Web Host:
Now that you have your domain name the next step as you create a website will be to find a web host. The hosting package that you choose is very critical in the success or failure of the website. I would always recommend that you prepare for success and choose a Hosting Plan that can accommodate such success. Here are some of the things that I look for when deciding on a web host:
- Price – (Free or Fee) You can find free web hosts out there but if you are looking for free always remember that you get what you pay for. If you are preparing for success then I would recommend a low cost hosting solution with the ability to upgrade your hosting package if your demands increase.
- Server Platform & Framework – A very important decision that should be made will be what type of software your host will need to support. As we will see when we talk about creating your website the software that your host supports determines what type of website you can create. Some typical platforms include LAMP and ASP.NET.
- Reliability & Speed – This, in my opinion, is the most important aspect of finding the right web host. As you create a website that is popular it is important that those requesting to view your pages are never turned away because of an unreliable host or a connection that is to slow. As you make your decision on which host to use keep in mind their reliability, read peer reviews and compare them among their competitors.
- Data Transfer (Bandwidth) – If you have a popular website then you will also need to make sure that you can accommodate the traffic that popularity brings. To help estimate your bandwidth requirements you will want to look at the size of all the files on you web page and add them up once you get a total file size multiply that by you estimated visitors and you will have you bandwidth requirements.
- Storage/Disk Space – If you are going to create a large website then you will want to make sure that your web host will allow you enough space to host all of your web pages. Storage space is no longer as critical as it once was since storage discs can be purchased at a relatively low cost in modern systems.
- Technical Support – Remember you are new to the idea of how-to create a website so any help you can get is a gift from above. As a newbie to web development you will likely need as much support as possible so keep this in mind when looking for a web host. Web host technical support is not going to be a baby sitter for you but as long as you are a paying customer they will do all they can to keep you happy.
- Database Availability – Database availability may well be outside of your needs at the moment (this is for beginners) but I always keep in mind that data is what drives a website and having the option to use a database verses having to create static files is a great plus.
- Perks (Blog,Email,FTP,SSL,Remote Admin) – Probably at this point support for open source blogging platforms would be my next area to look out for but email, FTP, SSL, and Remote Access will save you time as well. If you are looking to set up a simple blog then I would suggest checking around the web to see if the host works well with WordPress.
Purchase Your Web Hosting:
I would recommend a GoDaddy.com Hosting Plan because I myself use GoDaddy for hosting and have had great results with them. If GoDaddy does not have a plan that is right for you you may also want to look at 1&1 website hosting or FatCow website hosting . There are many many other good web hosts out there so make sure to find the plan that fits your needs.
Creating Your Website:
Before you can even start on your journey to create a website you must first learn the basic language of the web HTML. HTML, Hyper Text Markup Landuage, is the predominant markup language for web pages. It provides a means to describe the structure of information on the web – by denoting certain text as headings, paragraphs, lists, and so on – and to supplement that text with interactive forms, embedded images, and other objects.
As teaching the basics of HTML is out of the scope of this how-to I will to refer you to a great resource for gaining an understanding of the fundamentals of HTML.
Once you have a basic understanding of HTML you will be ready to create your first web page. Typically the file extension for this page will be .html denoting it as an HTML file. Using your fundamental knowledge of HTML you will be able to create an endless supply of static web pages for your visitors to view but you will over time notice just how static a plain old html page can be.
With some basic HTML knowledge you will know have enough skills to manage a simple blog. There are many choices out there for blogging software and I will start by recommending two free blogging platforms and for the business minded a third paid blogging platform:
- WordPress – WordPress is by far my favorite blogging platform due mostly to its very active community. You can find templates for your WordPress blog to give it its own unique flavor. You can find countless widgets to add extra functionality. WordPress is easy to install, easy to manage and perfect for a new commer into the blogging world. If you want to avoid the hassles of setting up your own server you may also want to take a look at WordPress.com which offers a free blogging account, this is of course more restricted than running it yourself.
- Movable Type – Movable type is another popular blogging platform that is available for free to download. I have personally never used Movable Type but I have heard many good things about it around the web. Many popular blogs around the web use it (BoingBoing.net is one that comes to mind).
- TypePad – Type pad is made available by six apart which is the same company that makes Movable Type available. Type Pad is more of a commercially viable Movable Type offering combining the great Movable Type software with a reasonably priced hosting service. If you are looking for an out of the box blogging platform with more features than the freely available WordPress.com site then you may want to try TypePad.
Beyond The Basics:
Once you have the basics down you will undoubtedly desire more flexibility out of your website. To gain more flexibility you will now need to learn a server side scripting language to gain the ability to create dynamic web content.
As dynamic web content is far beyond the scope of this how-to I will only provide the interested reader with a list of resources to further explore dynamic web content with the server side scripting languages I would recommend as a starting point:
- PHP – PHP is fairly straight forward to understand and is relatively easy to pick up and learn. I would recommend PHP for someone who has never been exposed to programming as it is easy to learn. Here is a list of PHP editors for those interested in exploring PHP.
- Ruby on Rails – Ruby on Rails is a free web application framework. It aims to increase the speed and ease with which database-driven web sites can be created, and offers skeleton code frameworks from the outset. Ruby on Rails provides a great framework to quickly create data driven websites so this is another tool that could be useful as you create a website that is dynamic in nature. If you are interested in further exploring RoR then take a look at the RoR Homepage.
- ASP.NET – This is my final recommendation for server side scripting and it is also my personal favorite. ASP.NET in my opinion in the most robust toolset/framework for web development that is currently available. If you are serious about creating dynamic data driven content then do not leave this tool out of your toolbox. For a newcomer I must warn you that ASP.NET is more difficult to learn and master than the afore mentioned tools but the reward in productivity and flexibility that is gained with the investment is in my opinion well worth it. If you are interested in usint ASP.NET visit Microsoft’s express site and download your free copy.
Download Your Tools:
There is really nothing that you must buy to do your development because much of what you will need is available for free. You can start blogging with WordPress , Movable Type or TypePad or you could make the leap and jump into the code with PHP, Ruby on Rails, or ASP.NET. But remember to make sure that your web host supports the server side scripting language that you pick!
Marketing Your Website:
When it comes to marketing a website I create I prefer to get the most bang for my buck. To make the most out of the small budget that I typically set aside I have been forced to improvise. If you are looking to spend an enormous amount of money on a web marketing campaign then you can skip to the next section. If on the other hand you are looking for simple ways to increase your website traffic while not breaking the bank then continue reading.
In the past someone who wanted to create a website and market it had few options to make the most of their budget but those times have changed and I would like to share with you a few tips to help you start generating extra targeted traffic. When I create a website I use the following methods to market it effectively:
- Google AdWords – This is one of the cheapest ways to guarantee quality targeted traffic. The thing I like best about using Google AdWords is that the visitors it sends are actively seeking out content that I provide so they tend to stay active on a website longer than any other source of traffic.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – SEO is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results for targeted keywords. Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the search results, or the higher it “ranks”, the more searchers will visit that site.
- Social Media Optimization (SMO) – SMO is a set of methods for generating publicity through social media, online communities and community websites. Methods of SMO include adding RSS feeds, adding a “Digg This” button, blogging and incorporating third party community functionalities like Flickr photo slides and galleries or YouTube videos.
- Pay-Per-Post Blog Reviews – Pay Per Post Blog Reviews is a method of generating buzz by getting someone active in the blogging community to talk about your website by offering them an incentive to do so.
Tell The World:
So the first thing to do is to optimize your website using SEO Book as your guide, this can be the simplest and most cost effective marketing tool you have available because search engines are where most people start their journey to find your website. The second thing to remember is that SMO is your friend and probably the most important things to remember (a.k.a – high school stuff); be cool, speak their language, socialize with the community, be in all the cool cliques, and get the cool people to talk good about you. Last but not least Sign up for AdWords.
Monetizing Your Website:
It is easy these days to make money from your website if it becomes popular enough. Though it is easy to make money it requires much time and a very dedicated effort to make a substantial amount of money online. There are basically four ways that you can monetize your website:
- Google Adsense – The easiest and by far the most popular method is Google Adsense so first I would suggest you Sign up for AdSense. Once you have signed up follow Google’s instructions and place the Google Adsense ads on your website.
- Affiliate Marketing – Affiliate marketing is a web-based marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts. This method when used properly can often times out perform Google Adsense in terms of profit generation. I would recommend that you balance your affiliate marketing efforts and your Google Adsense efforts as you create a website that will maximize a return on your effort.
- Pay-Per-Post Blog Reviews – Pay Per Post Blog Reviews is a method of generating buzz by getting someone active in the blogging community to talk about your website by offering them an incentive to do so. If you have an active blog and you are active within your given niche then you may also be able to generate revenue by writing PPP reviews.
- Sell Your Own Ads/Products/Services – You always have the option to sell your own ads/products/services to generate revenue but this is often times the most difficult option to generate revenue unless you already have a brick-and-mortar store or you are an established website. I would recommend the first three options (Adsense & Affiliates & PPP) and have mentioned this only because if your website truly become popular this method could provide additional revenue streams.
Sign Up And Make Money:
If you have made it this far all that remains is for you to Sign up for AdSense. Also you will want to register with an affiliate marketing site like Commission Junction. You could also get paid to blog.