THE FIRST STEPS TO BUILDING YOUR OWN WEBSITE
No matter how small your business, having a website is now a standard. Customers expect to be able to find your business online. If you don’t know where to start then don’t worry, you’re not alone! We want to give you a quick guide, as there are many different options to choose from.
Here are the first steps you need to take to start your own website.
Choosing a Website Platform
There are a variety of different platforms that you can use to build a website. It’s important to choose your platform carefully as changing your mind half-way through can waste a lot of time and effort.
Depending on the size of the website you’re planning to build, there are many different platforms available.
For small websites, such as personal or family blogs, you could use WordPress.com, which has a free basic plan.
This does all the hard work for you.. such as providing a free domain name and hosting, so all you need to do is pick from a range of ready-made themes. However, there are big limitations on customization, so if you want to get creative, this isn’t the platform for you.
Alternatively you can opt for WordPress.org. (confusing, I know but these are 2 different platforms and you need to make sure you pick the right one.)
This is better suited to you if you’re hoping to generate an income. With this platform you have more control over your own site, with the option to remove the WordPress branding. However, there are some costs involved as you will have to buy your own domain name and hosting.
What’s a Domain Name?
Your domain name is what you want your website to be called. You can get a domain name for free with WordPress.com, but it will mean that your website will have ‘.wordpress.com’ attached. For example: www.jaypeg.wordpress.com. For personal use this may be fine but for business use it will make your website seem a lot less professional.
With WordPress.org you will need to buy a custom domain name. Although this is an added expense, it is affordable and worth investing in especially if you’re hoping to make money from your website.
Domain names can be purchased online via websites such as Dreamhost.com They also have a search tool that shows you alternatives if your preferred domain name is already taken.
What’s Web Hosting?
Hosting is the space in which all the data of your website is stored. It can be very affordable or very expensive depending on what you’re after. You can pay for the year in one chunk or via a monthly direct debit.
Although hosting does cost, there are many positives to buying your own. One of the first things to consider is how big your website is going to be. Are you having a few pages or are you going to have multiple pages with a shop and a full-time blog?
If your website ends up being large, and it’s on the wrong kind of hosting, it will be slow and unresponsive which is frustrating for visitors. Therefore it is important to find suitable hosting.
- Shared hosting is a basic hosting package. The clues in the name, your website shares a server with many other websites. This means that if other websites on your server are popular and gain a lot of traffic, the speed of your website can be affected. There are disadvantages to shared hosting but it is the most affordable and is suitable for new or small websites.
- VPS (which stands for Virtual Private Server). With this type of hosting, although it is still shared, you have a set part of the server to yourself. This means that VPS hosting is more reliable than shared hosting, as the traffic of the other websites won’t affect yours.
- Dedicated hosting is a step up from both shared and VPS hosting. With this type of hosting your website is on its own server, meaning other websites won’t affect your loading speed. Because of this, dedicated hosting is much more reliable. This does make it the most expensive option.
Our top tip to anyone starting their own website would be to make your decisions wisely. Take the time to consider the best option for you, and research thoroughly. This will save you a lot of time, and a lot of headaches further down the line!