This is the first of a series of short articles that will explain some basic terms, keep information overload in check, and help you decide which method of building a website to choose. Each will cover some simple basics you should know before you begin to build your first website.
So you have decided that you want to join the online world with your own website…let me just say–“Welcome!” Here are a few quick facts about the World Wide Web you have decided to enter into:
1. There are over 233 Million websites currently on the internet.
2. Last year more than 47 Million hostnames were added.
3. Over 7 Million active websites were added at the same time.
4. Internet traffic doubles every 100 days!
Now that you have decided to become part of the Internet community, and you want to build a website, you just need to know how to build a website. Many people give up at this point, falling to information overload that comes from terms like domain names, URLs, name servers, etc., which they don’t understand. But with some simple explanation of just a few terms, you remove the confusion, and you will be able to see that it is COMPLETELY possible to create your first website. Now, with that, let’s jump right in!
A. WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF YOUR WEBSITE?
There are several different roads you could take to build a website, depending on what your site is going to be used for. Is it a personal site for you, your family, and friends to keep photos, dates, family matters, and adventures, etc.? Maybe it is a site for your business to advertise and carry information to your customers. Or will you use your website to make an online income? It could be something completely different, as the options are endless! So first start by taking some time to really think about what your website will be used for.
B. CHOOSE A METHOD TO BUILD A WEBSITE.
There are several different ways to get a website up and running. You can pay one of the many professionals to build a custom website. Or you can also go online and find sites with free website templates where you just fill in your information, or you can go with instructional books or CDs and create your own website. Again, it just depends on what your site is going to be used for, and what you want on your site.
1. Hire A Professional
Now, if you are looking for a business website, or if you have the budget for it, you can hire a professional that knows how to build a custom website for you. For a fee, from a few hundred dollars to sometimes thousands of dollars, you will have a good site, full of the information you want to make available to your customers. Realize, though, you will also have to call on the expert every time you need to make changes to your site, which is an additional cost. But if you have the means, and want to outsource this, do some searching around and find a reputable professional to provide this service for you.
2. Website Templates
Another option is to find a website with free website templates, already made, and waiting for you to fill in the information. There are loads of these sites on the Internet. Just be informed that they often want to put ads on your site in return for not charging, and usually, you must remain on their hosting service (covered in Part 3). This means that you do not have full control of your own website, although it will look good and function just fine. This is a quick, easy way to get started with a basic website, but do some checking and read the fine print before you decide on one.
3. Create Your Own Website
The next option is to build your own website, by yourself. Now don’t worry–YOU ARE CAPABLE OF DOING THIS! One can purchase a book or CD with instructions, or, you may even find a free eBook or videos on how to create your first website. There are many internet sites with instructions and tips to help guide you. But do some research to find something that fits for YOU, and lends itself to YOUR method of learning. There are countless options of this sort, so do a bit of online shopping around. Remember that COST does not always equal QUALITY, and some of the best information can be found for FREE. (I am a big fan of free stuff!)
C. WHY SHOULD YOU BUILD YOUR OWN WEBSITE?
Now you may be wondering–“If one can pay a professional or use a free template site, why should I try to build my own website?” The answer controls. You have absolute control of what is on your site from pictures, to content, links to other sites, and even advertisements. How much or how little of everything is decided by YOU. Once you learn how to create your own website, you can add as many pages of whatever content you want, and then make any changes, whenever and wherever you want. Plus, once you know-how, and see how easy it really is, it becomes FUN!
You have now opened the door to the amazing world of owning and building your own website! I want to congratulate you on your decision and encourage you to continue with your new and exciting adventure by thinking about what your site is going to be used for, and by doing a little research to find which method of building suits YOU. In the meantime, check out Part 2 in this series, where we will begin to unravel the mystery of some of the words and terms that confuse and deter so many others, including — “What is a domain name”, since this is the very first thing you will need to know and should have, to build your website.