Have you thought about building a website but don’t know the first thing about it? In this post I will walk you through the basics on how to build a website for beginners.
There are many options out there when looking for how to build a website. Maybe you want to start a business or just setup a blog to write about your hobby or make some extra money from blog writing.
Building a website is pretty easy when you get the hang of how everything works in the website construction world.
I’ve been creating website for the last 25 years. In this post I will give you some general info on how to build a website if you have never done it before.
If you don’t know how to build a website don’t let it scare you. There is a lot of overwhelming info out there on how to build a website and if you have never built a website before, it can be scary. It’s fear of the unknown.
I will walk you through through the basics of what a website is, how it works and how to go about building your first website.
What is a website?
A website, as you know, has information on what you are interested in learning more about. But what is it really?
A website is a location out on the internet, on a web server (computer), that stores all the files and code that makes the website work. Anything from photos to text to videos are stored on this web server.
When you create a website, be it on wix or squarespace or wordpress, you will be uploading images, text or videos to your web server. You will pay a monthly fee to the hosting company to host all these files per month so anyone from around the world can access your data on your website.
I’m not going to get into which web hosting provider is better or worse right now, as that will depend on what you want to accomplish, how much you want to spend monthly, and what feels most comfortable to you. Each website hosting company has different options and features. Check them all out and research.
If you are building a simple website for your small business, hobby or blog, you can go with most hosting companies. You can expect to spend anywhere from $-$20 a month on hosting fees for your website.
Hosting fees will include your domain name (website name / URL), the hard drive space to host all your files and any maintenance needed on the computer / web server hosting your website files.
If the computer has issues at the hosting company, you don’t need to worry about it. The hosting company takes care of any repairs or issues. All you need to be concerned with is building and updating your website from your computer.
Shared Hosting vs. Dedicated hosting
When looking for a place to host your website you will see shared hosting or dedicated hosting. Shared hosting is cheaper since you are sharing the same computer and hard drive space with other web designers.
With shared hosting you are sharing the same computer with other web designers, there are times when your website seems slower. Not only are people from around the world accessing your site on that web server / computer, but other visitors are viewing other websites that are housed on that same computers / web server as you.
For smaller websites or even large blogs, this is not much of an issue. Shared hosting is fine and I have used it for my blog. This blog you’re reading now is on shared hosting and it operates just fine.
With dedicated hosting you are leasing a computer for your website and only your website. No other website owner will be on your dedicated server. It’s a dedicated server…dedicated just for you.
A dedicated server is more expensive because it is much faster than shared hosting, can handle much more viewer traffic and you’re the only one on it.
Dedicated servers, depending on the options you select (computer speed such as RAM, processor and hard drive space) can be very expensive.
I am leasing a dedicated server for my video sharing company for video creators that I started. It’s like youtube but more fun haha. I needed the extra speed because I’m hosting video content that viewers are streaming to their devices. I need a lot of hard drive space and speed so I opted for a dedicated server.
Dedicated servers can be anywhere from $100 a month to over $300 and higher, depending on your needs.
How to build a website and what you need
When asked, how to start a website for beginners, there is a lot of things to talk about, but I’ll go over the basics. The main things you need to think about are the cost, what type of site you want and the name of your site. Pricing is of course a factor.
You will need to think of a name for your website. Some people try to add words that include what their website is about, while others just pick something at random. When I was photographing weddings I had a website called SAR studios.
Although this name, was the name of my co, I wrestled with the name for a long time. I wanted the name of the website to have the word “photography” in it so those looking for photography would find it.
In the end, I chose SAR studios and relied on the wording on the page to promote my site. The words on the page that promote your site and help it be found in search engines such as google are called SEO, or, Search Engine Optimization. This is huge in creating and maintaining a website.
You must think about the keywords people will search for as you work on your website. If you choose the wrong keywords, your website may never be found.
Website hosting companies will have info on their site for price and all the details you could want. Signing up is easy and they walk you through every step of the way.
For a simple blog I would recommend wordpress.com, which is what I use here steverotter.com
WordPress gives you the option to update your plan if you decide to either grow your site or add more features such as the layout. WordPress gives you templates prebuilt, so all you need to do is add your photos and text. You have the option of adding or removing pages to your website. It’s all very easy once you see how it’s setup and their support is available via chat 24/7.
I have tried wix and sqarespace. They are both kind of pricey and hard to navigate at times. My blog is better suited to wordpress. WordPress is the leader in blogs and support. Most websites use wordpress. You can check them out at wordpress.com
Let’s go over the basics of How to build a website
A website address is called a domain name. You will need to purchase a domain name. No one will have the same domain name as you. It has to be one that isn’t already taken.
A domain name is the address of where your website will reside on the web / internet. It is your website address. Similar to when you buy a home, it comes with an address. There cannot be 2 of the same addresses on the same street, in the same city, just like there cannot be 2 of the same domain names in the world.
There are many companies that offer domain names for purchase. One of the most popular is godaddy.com. I purchase my domain names through wordpress.com when I signed up with them to run this blog you’re reading now.
When purchasing a domain name, you choose how long you want to rent it for, as you will not have it forever. You can purchase 1 year at a time for anywhere between $5 and $20 a year with the option to renew.
If you want to see if a website name is available, you can visit WHOIS.COM
If you forget to renew your domain name or choose not to, that domain name will be up for grabs and anyone can buy it. Some people think of names that may be important, then buy them, and resell them for higher cash.
Let’s say Brad Pitt wants to start a website but you purchased the name www.bradpitt.com. You can sell it to him, or anyone else inquiring on the domain name, for any price you want.
Purchasing a domain name is very easy and takes a few minutes online.
You simply type in the name you want and they let you know if it’s available. Wording is important to consider when choosing a domain name.
If you’re a photographer living in Chicago, you might want to choose something like www.chicagoweddingphotography.com. This name is already taken but it would be a good one since it would come up in google if someone was to do a search for Chicago wedding photography or similar. Keep that in mind. You can also buy a few domain names and point them to the same website.
Now that you have a domain name you need to think of hosting your website. This sounds scary but it’s not. Most companies have tech support who can help you out. Hosting is simply where your website is going to live. Meaning, all the files, photos, videos, text and anything else in your website.
All this website data needs to be somewhere. It isn’t magic when someone clicks on a website. When you post a picture to instagram or Facebook, Facebook and instagram are hosting that image. Your photo lives on facebook servers. A server is a fancy name for fast computer.
Companies of all shapes and sizes have servers in temperature-controlled rooms where client data is stored and that is all they do at hosting companies…store data.
You will pay monthly for the use of a server to store and host your website to the world. $5-$12 a month is the going rate for most website hosting places.
Once you have your domain name and hosting company you can start creating your website. There are various methods to this. Of course you hire someone to design your website but that will cost a lot of money. With the templates available to you with most hosting companies, it’s easy to create a website that looks pro.
HTML coding is behind the scenes in all websites. You just have to determine if you want to work on that coding, pay someone to work on that coding, or just have fun and use templates or online web hosting. Most people use templates provided to them to get their website up and running. You don’t need to learn coding and it’s a lot more fun to use the tools they give you. A lot of it is simply drag and drop when designing your website.
Website templates are graphical creations by web designers that you purchase (a lot of templates are free with your monthly web hosting account.)
Website templates are easy to use and fun as well. Templates can be had anywhere from $15-$200 or more. A lot of website templates come included with your monthly hosting fee.
If you want to have more fun and spend more time working on your website than learning anything, you can go with the all in one companies that do it all for you. When I say do it all, I mean you can buy your domain name through them as well as host your files. No programming experience is required at all.
I hope this post on how to build a website for beginners has helped to shed some light on website design. If you have any questions, let me know. I blog on technology, photography, video production and editing and YouTube marketing.
Check out my other website I built for video creators