The internet can be a complicated place, and it is, for good reason. Websites do exist that you can build your own website based upon pre-made garbage, that looks like everyone else’s websites.
In order to really have a custom, built for you (or your business) web experience you need to have a say in what it looks like and how it functions.
First step – The first step to starting your own website is planning. While there are ways that you can create your website for little to no money, those ways will get you little exposure and look, well, tacky. Depending on the size of your website, and how much traffic you anticipate, you need to have a $40+ starting budget, and a $10+ monthly budget. There are 1 major things you are going to need for your website, a domain ($15+/yr) and hosting ($10+/mo).
Second step – Deciding on the website name, the name is one of the most important things involved in creating a website. If you have a website like Hey-This-Is-My-Website.com your probably not going to get too much traffic. The golden rule is KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid), the simpler your name, the easier it will be to remember.
After you have picked out your name you need to register the domain name, there are a few ways you can go about this. Most sites that offer domains also offer hosting, such as GoDaddy.com. But in many cases it will be cheaper to have a domain name and hosting separately. The domain name process is a self explanatory one, until you get into connecting hosting and your domain (which we will discuss later).
Third step – If you have not already you need to get web hosting. Depending on how large your website will be, you will need disk space. In my personal experience, a small website with not an enormous amount of content (Images and video take up a lot of space) you will not need anymore than 1GB of space. If you plan on hosting a lot of images or videos, you should probably look into a significant more amount of space. Some hosts offer unlimited disk space which can be a big bonus.
Bandwidth is also an important part of selecting a host. This is where the costs can be driven up, if you anticipate your site having large amounts of traffic, your going to want more bandwidth. A good place to start is about 30GB of bandwidth, after you get your site up and running for a couple months, then you can decide to upgrade or downgrade.
I recommend getting a web host that allows the use of cPanel. It is great for the beginner and allows you to get the full web experience without having to deal with FTP. I personally use HostGator.com because they have the best month-month price for the amount of space they give you.
Fourth Step – This step is optional, if you chose to get a domain and hosting from the same provider this step will not apply to you. If you got a domain from a separate provider than hosting, you need to connect the Nameservers. Your hosting provider will supply you with these, and usually look something like this:
There will always be at least two nameservers, sometimes there may be more. you take these and login to your domain providers control panel and enter them. It usually takes a few hours for the DNS servers to resolve and then you will be all set.
Fifth Step – Learning how to build a website is the most difficult and time consuming part, but it is very rewarding. You do not need to spend money on books, although I would recommend locating books that specialize in exactly what you are looking for. The very first place you should start is HTML, it is a very easy language to pick up, and for some, can actually be all they need to know in order to build their own website.
There are also prebuilt systems (WordPress for example) that you install on your web server and are displayed on your website. They take the hassle out of building the website, but also give you a way to personalize it the way you want it, and under your terms. You might actually be surprised at how many pre-built systems there are out there for bloggers, community developers (forums), personal use, and many more. Many are built using PHP, which is a much more complicated and difficult to pick up language than HTML. I would seriously recommend reading a few books on PHP before beginning to build a website using the language.
Final Step – Now that you know the language your going to build your website with, you need to build the thing already. You should now have an understanding of coding, and how to perform it, and its a cakewalk from there. Trial and error is a great way to learn how to build a website. Do not be afraid to look back at your book or resource, even the best coders keep books on hand to reference too.