to create a website the do-it-yourself way
So you have a product, service
or information that you feel the whole world should know
about. But you aren't quite sure how to tell them? Fortunately,
for you it's the 21st century and we have the internet.
By using this short article as a reference
we will have you creating your own website in a matter of
The first thing you will need is a website.
There are many options for getting a website, some expensive
and some are even free. Depending on whether you are selling
a product, service or providing information will determine
which option you should choose. Personally, I recommend that
if you intend on making any profit from your website that
you hire a web design company or (often far cheaper) a web
design freelancer. If you just want to share some information
online then you will be fine doing the design yourself.
If you are on a tight budget, then you may
wish to use the do-it-yourself methods described below instead
of hiring a company. However, once you do make
any profit you should invest the money into a professionally
created web site design.
Methods for creating a website
If you are unfamiliar with HTML, you will
have to use either an online website creator or what is called
a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor. The former
option is available with almost all online hosting companies
so I won't go too much into detail on them. However, I do
recommend SiteStudio as one of the best in this category.
SiteStudio is available through nearly every web hosting
company that uses H-Sphere. H-Sphere is a full featured web
hosting control panel (I will go further in detail in the
choosing a web hosting company section).
The later option will give you a lot more
flexibility; however it will cost some money. The flexibility
that you will get will far outweigh the cost in some of the
software packages listed below. Some of the largest benefits
include the ability to easily modify your website, have a
unique web-site tailored to your design requirements, you
created it!, and if you do a good job there really isn't
a need for hiring a web designer at a later date to redo
Here are some of the most popular WYSIWYG
- Macromedia Dreamweaver MX
- Adobe GoLive CS
- Microsoft Frontpage
I recommend that you avoid Microsoft Frontpage,
while it is easy to use and fairly popular, it isn't standards
compliant. If you are going to learn how to create a website
you should learn how to do it right.
Choosing a domain name
One of the hardest things you will have
to decide, yet almost more important than any of the others
is choosing a domain name. A domain name is what people will
type in the address bar of their browser to get to your website.
For example, google.com, yahoo.com, amazon.com, and ebay.com
are all domain names. If you will be selling a product, service
or if the site is business related try to stick to a .com
or .net top level domain (tld) extension.
When choosing a hosting company avoid choosing
a company that offers free domain registration with hosting
(or do not accept the free domain registration) because what
they often don't tell you is that you can't transfer the
domain to another hosting company or even that the next years
fee due will be a hefty one.
Domains are typically renewed yearly and
the pricing ranges from around $8.00 to $35.00 each year.
The cheaper domain services typically don't offer as many
features as the more expensive ones.
I recommend the following companies for
- Register.com - Expensive, but a well featured
- GoDaddy.com - Cheap, yet full featured.
- Domainplus.ca - Best current prices you will find for the quality Hosting,
using state-of-art and technology .
I recommend that you avoid Network Solutions,
while they are large and have a big budget they are often
criticized for doing shady things.
Choosing a web hosting company
Now days hosting has become a commodity
item. There are literally tens of thousands of hosting companies,
most offering exactly the same features and most of them
perfectly fine for your new website.
When choosing a hosting company you should
try to compare features, not necessarily price. The end result
is to have a website online with your product, service or
information for everyone to see right? Often the cheaper
hosting companies lack the redundancy required to ensure
that your website is available 24/7. If this is a business
venture you do not want to miss any potential customer due
to the dreaded 404 error page. However, if you are just going
to be providing information you could choose a cheaper host
as you don't intend on making a profit.
Some of the features you should consider
when comparing hosting companies are:
- Disk Space - This
is the physical amount of space that the host allocates
to you for the files that
you upload to the server.
- Bandwidth - Bandwidth is the amount of space that you have
available to transfer files from your website to another
end-user of your websites computer.
- Windows, Linux or BSD? - While a user of Windows XP may
think it is preferable to use a windows host, in actuality it really doesn't matter.
In-fact a hosting company that uses windows as a hosting platform sacrifices
themselves a little bit on reliability. Choose a Linux or BSD hosting provider,
they are typically much more reliable and often cheaper too.
- Email accounts - If you're online you probably already know what an email
account is, make sure you get some with your hosting account.
- Control Panel - Make sure that they offer a control panel. CPanel and H-Sphere
are both popular ones with hosting companies. H-Sphere hosts
will typically be more reliable because it distributes your website to various
application specific servers. Cpanel hosts typically have everything on one
server, so if your websites down your email is too.
- Finally, if you chose to use an online website creator above for cost or
usability reasons; make sure that the host has an online
Avoid hosting companies who offer unlimited
in any of the above categories. I recommend and personally
use MegaHosters (http://www.megahosters.com).
If you build it, they will not come
- how to promote your new site
One of the biggest errors many people make
is the thought that all you have to do is build a website
and people will come. This is completely wrong and if you
follow this thought it won't be long before you give up on
your new website.
You have to promote it, then promote it
some more and once you think your done doing it twice over,
promote it again.
Think of it like this, a website is like
a business placed a half-mile off the freeway, while you
may occasionally get visitors (2-3 times month from type-in
traffic) you will never be successful unless you can move
your business closer to the freeway, promotion does this.
Every time you promote your business you move it a few feet
closer to the freeway.
Since there are literally dozens of ways
to promote your new website I will not go in detail on them
here, but I will provide a brief list of some of the more
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
advertising - a very quick way to get targeted visitors
from search engines to
- Forums - Forums are a place that you can go and write with
other people about various subjects. Chose one similar to your website and participate
often. Make sure not to directly post about your site; but if you provide
good information in your posts people will visit your website. (How will people
know what your website is if you don't tell them about it? Put
a link and a short descriptive text in what is called a signature).
- Search Engines - submit your site to search engines (Manually, one at a time.
Never use the submission tools that submit your site to dozens,
or even hundreds of search engines. Search engines forbid automated submission
tools and may even ban you from their index - very bad.).
- If you're a business put your website address (or URL) on everything that
anyone can see (e.g. your car, letters, email signatures, business
cards, invoices, packaging, clothing, etc.).
- Reciprocal links - find other website that would compliment yours and offer
them a link on your website in exchange for one on theirs.
- If you have employees, hold a contest with them to see who can get your website
address shown in the most prominent place.
Avoid the following when trying to promote
your site as they will never help (never).
- FFA - Free for all link exchanges
- Spamming in any form - Sending unsolicited emails, posting unrelated messages
about your business in forums, Usenet, or in IRC.
In closing, this overview of how to create
a website leaves out many important details to consider;
primarily on the different promotional methods and on some
additional alternatives for each of the sections. However,
it was intended to only address the essential portions of
creating a website.
This article should have helped you to create
a website, buy a domain name and promote the website, all
of which are essential to the success of your website.
Remember you have to promote your
website, then promote it some more and once you think your
done doing it twice over, promote it again. It is the only
sure-fire way to ensure that your website isn't like many
of the other millions of websites that are closed each
year because of lack of visitors/sales.