Building a Website from Scratch: The Basics
It’s time to start building your online presence. There is no better way to do that than by creating a website for yourself. It has become much easier over the years, and you can now make one yourself or business without taking a deep dive into coding skills or needing to hire someone else to create it for you.
Building a website from scratch is actually quite simple, as long as you are willing to learn some new jargon (don’t worry – we’ll get there soon).
How hard is it to build a website from scratch?
It is not hard to build a website from scratch. All you need are some basic skills and tools, such as knowing how to use Microsoft Word or Pages for content creation, using your browser’s development console (aka developer tools) for debugging errors, having knowledge of HTML/CSS coding languages, and understanding the basics of web hosting – which we will cover in the following section.
The hardest part of building a website from scratch is not actually writing the code for it, but deciding what to do with your new site once you finish making it.
What to know before building a website
Before getting started on building the website itself, make sure to have these things in order: The domain name (this is what people type into their browser’s address bar to get to your site), the hosting service, a name for your website, content that will live on your site (articles or pictures are good examples!), an idea of what you want visitors to do once they get there and any other features.
- The domain name: This is what people type into their browser’s address bar to get to your site. It needs to be memorable, easy-to-type and recognizable in order for it to work well as a brand. Some good ones that are taken right now include google.com or amazon.com but you can also use your own name (like “John Smith’s website”) or words you know are easy to spell and type like facebook.com.
- The hosting service: This is what stores your site online so that people can see it. They come in two varieties, shared and dedicated servers. Shared servers have a lot of users on them but they usually offer the best prices. Dedicated servers are more expensive and a lot less popular but they offer the best performance.
- A name for your website: You can’t have a website without an address so pick one for your site.
- Website content: This is the stuff that you put on the website and it will be different depending on what kind of business you’re in, but there are some basics like putting up contact information, a mission statement or background to help people understand who you are and what you do.
How to choose a website platform
Website platforms are the building blocks of any website. They include everything from Microsoft Word to blog posts to ecommerce sites, and even social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter. Choosing a platform for your site is one of the most important decisions you will make in this entire process because it directly impacts what kind of content you can create and how that content will look.
The best way to choose a website platform is to think about what you want your site to do and how you would like it to look. Do I need a blog? Will my business require an ecommerce platform? What kind of content is the most important for me to include on my website, and which type will be easiest to manage with the chosen platform?
Once again, these are all important decisions that will impact the future of your site. If you are serious about building a website from scratch, make sure to take time and really think these questions through so that you can choose the best platform for yourself.
How to choose a hosting service
There are a number of things to think about when choosing a hosting service for your website. Do you need ecommerce services, or just web hosting? What level of security do you require and what will be the impact on speed? Where is my site going to reside geographically? These are all important questions that must be answered before signing up with a hosting company.
There are two major web hosts: HostGator and Bluehost. GoDaddy is also popular. It is not uncommon for people to feel overwhelmed when it comes time to choosing which host they want their site hosted on. If you are feeling this way or if you just want to know more information before you make a decision, then this article is for you.
You may want to look at HostGator first if:
- Your site will be in the top 25% traffic of websites on the web.
- You have an ecommerce website that features products and services.
- Your site has a large number of images.
- You have a site that is expected to get more than 100,000 visitors per day.
HostGator has been around for many years and they are one of the best companies in terms of customer service. They also offer 24/365 technical support which everyone will need at some point or another. Their prices range from $69.99 to $199 per month and they offer a wide range of options for features, templates and more.
The other major web host is Bluehost. You may want to look at Bluehost if you are looking for a company that offers shared hosting. This is perfect if your site has less than 100,000 visitors per day and the cost ranges from $29 to $119.
Bluehost offers some great features like unlimited disk space, bandwidths and e-mail accounts among others. Bluehost also offers one free domain with their purchase so you can save on that upfront cost if you buy your domain from them.
The major downside for Bluehost is that they don’t offer as many features and their customer service has been known to be lacking in the past.
GoDaddy’s web hosting service is another good option. They offer web hosting and domain registration services, so you can get everything in one place if that’s what you’re looking for.
Their customer service is known to be lacking as well, but they have a lot of features including mobile-friendly apps, plus the ability to create your own blog or website from scratch with their intuitive web builders.
GoDaddy has templates are available for sale, but they also offer free WordPress themes that you can use with some premium plugins.
You can also find other great webhosts at HostingFinder.com or WebHostingTopList.com.
How to choose a domain name
Once you’ve figured out where to put your website, you should come up with a domain name.
A couple of things to keep in mind when thinking about what you want for a URL are that it’s easy to remember and doesn’t use any numbers or symbols other than letters. For best results, make sure the words are spelled correctly because misspellings can lead people to the wrong page.
It’s a good idea to add keywords for your site in the domain name and put it into words that people searching online will be able to find you with, like “lawyer” or “restaurant.” This is called SEO (search engine optimization) which will help people who are looking for what you do find your site.
Should I pay someone to build my website?
Some people prefer hiring someone else to do the work, especially if they don’t know how to build a site themselves. This is called outsourcing and it’s not a bad option because there are many professionals who will do this job for you at an affordable price.
If you want your website to be similar in style or design as another company that has already taken care of their own branding, you’ll likely need to hire someone else.
However, if you are willing to learn how to build your own site from scratch or have the time and patience for DIY (do it yourself) websites, then there is no need for outsourcing.
Is it better to make a website from scratch?
It is easier to build a website from scratch than ever before. You can see that there are many different programs that can be used and websites with tutorials for all levels of expertise. You don’t need coding skills or design skills, just the willingness to learn how this process works. The end result looks professional and will help you better promote what you do.
Several online training programs will walk you through each step and help show how to build a website from scratch. They will take you through the process of choosing a domain name, hosting service and website builder.
Website building plays a role in an online course offered by Website ATM. Check out I Buy I Review’s comprehensive review of Website ATM here.
I buy and review courses so you don’t have to. Sometimes, I even find courses that are legitimate and worthwhile; and that’s how I accidentally came across one that led me to building a 6-figure business in a little under 5 years. Now, I still review courses because it’s my favorite hobby. 🙂 Learn more about me here.