You want to make a website? Where in the heck do you start?
That’s why we’re here! Making a website can be an awesome adventure, an exciting collaboration between the creative and logical sides of your brain. But with websites looking better than ever these days, and having loads of moving parts, where does one start? Well, you’re about to find out – read on, young Padawan.
The three Ws
No, we’re not talking about who, what, and when. We’re talking about your domain name – that’s the address of your website. Unlike buying a home and having to settle with a number and street name, you can choose almost any name you want for your website address, as long as no one else has taken it already.
Once you decide what you want your domain name to be, have a look on WestHost’s handy domain checker to see if it’s available. It’s important to note that nowadays you don’t have to settle for a .com at the end of your website address; you can really spice things up with a massive assortment of gTLDs! Get creative with that address – it’s one of the foundations of your online presence.
After you decide on a domain name, you need to secure it so that no one else can get it. You can either buy your domain name, which can be expensive and is mostly done by enterprise businesses, or you can register it (which is like renting) from a domain name provider. If you’re a small business, we definitely recommend the latter. Some sites will even give you your domain name for free if you host with them. Bonus!
Wait a second! What is “hosting”?
Hosting is hiring a company to store all the bits and pieces of your website. All the photos, text, videos, and anything else that goes on your website take up room – even though they’re digital, they need to be stored somewhere. When you pay a company to host your site, you are paying them for storage space. Remember that the fewer websites a company hosts, the faster your website will be, but the more expensive it will be as well. We recommend starting out with a basic hosting package, then ramping things up when your business really starts to soar.
Get your digital paintbrush ready
Now comes the part where your creative juices can start to flow: designing your site. There are heaps of different website builders out there, some of them fantastic, some of them not so fantastic. UK2 has one of the finest ones out there, which we definitely recommend first. If you’d like to do some shopping around, you can also check out WordPress, Wix, and Drupal. Each of these has varying degrees of necessary prior knowledge to use, so have a test drive on them; UK2’s, in our opinion, combines the best of both drag-and-drop features with the ability to get your hands dirty if you know what you’re doing already. The choice is yours!
Gettin’ tweaky with it
The final step is the one that never ends: gettin’ tweaky. Monitor analytics like site traffic and bounce rate to see what parts of your site are working and what need more attention. Make adjustments as necessary, optimizing your website for prime performance. The internet is an ever-changing organism, and trends will come and go. Use what works on your website, and either change or scrap what doesn’t work. This is your baby, so mold it into the beautiful business-optimizing tool you’ve always dreamed of!
With these basic steps, your website will be up and running in no time. Welcome to the wonderful world of the worldwide web – enjoy the ride!