How to Build and Launch a Website
Building a website the right way will get enough online traffic to let you do what you want, even if that means doing nothing. However, for there to be a right way there has to be a wrong one so the steps below will create a website that will give you freedom.
The most important step is to actually get a site going and a lot of people find the technical jargon daunting. Because of that, this will be understandable for anyone with any technical experience level.
The Quick List: How to Build Your Website Fast
If you’re looking to just do the basics and get a website built in as soon as possible, here’s the simplest route:
- Find a host for your website. Sites like Bluehost or WordPress are great to work with, especially for beginners, and you’ll have the option of paying to protect your personal information.
- Obtain a domain name and make it something you’ll be known for. It’s the part that goes between the www. and the .com. It costs an annual fee to hold the domain, but some sites like the aforementioned Bluehost will give the first year free.
- The last and very important step is to install WordPress so that you can handle and organize everything on your website.
Obviously this is just the beginning and you still have a long way to go, but those 3 steps will fast-track you to building a site. For more in-depth information, keep reading!
A web host will allow only you to access the behind-the-scenes of your site, which can then be visited by anyone once you upload it to the Internet. To avoid paying for an exclusive server, you can pay a web host that already has a bunch of servers.
The key factors to consider when picking a host are how reliable the host is, loading speeds, and of course customer support. If the host is constantly crashing, no one can go to your site, and people can be impatient with the Internet loading times.
Bluehost is an inexpensive hosting choice that you can trust. At less than $10 a month with a 30-day refund, just go to Bluehost.com and click “Get started now.” You’ll have 3 options, but the basic plan should be everything you need to get your site going.
Once you’ve selected your plan, you’ll be taken to a new screen to pick your domain name. If you already have one or know what you want the name to be, fill out the information and continue. Otherwise, just hit “I’ll create my domain later” and fill out what you can.
With the information put in and your domain saved for later, you’ll be asked to choose a package for your plan. The packages range from 12 to 36 months, with the latter being the cheapest.
You’ll also be able to add features, but the only one you should consider is the domain privacy and protection. This protects your information, which is even more important in the modern era. Be sure to uncheck any other boxes before continuing.
Be aware that if you wait to do your domain name until later, the domain privacy extra won’t be available until you’ve done that. With that said, if you didn’t fill it out earlier it’s time to pick the perfect name!
What’s in a Name?
Most of the time and effort that goes into choosing a domain is the fact that so many are taken, so that’s the hard part. A site requires a host and domain, so it’s convenient that Bluehost gives both. Of course, it’s also useful that you can pick more than a .com extension.
The reason it’s useful is because many .com domains are taken, but the same domain might be available with a .org or .io after. Don’t worry about knowing all of those tags, because Bluehost will make suggestions if the .com is taken.
Your thoughts should be to focus on a domain that fits you and the content of your site. There are 2 easy ways to decide on a domain, so let’s start with the simplest one: Your brain. It’s not as easy as it used to be with so many domains taken, but you might get lucky.
Don’t use hyphens in your domain and keep it simple so that people will be likely to remember it. A great way to find out if your domain idea is available is to use a registrar online, with the best-rated one being domain.com.
The other way to come up with a domain is to use an online generator, like authors do with plots. Panabee and NameMesh are 2 such sites that will try to find a creative way to use keywords you put in and they’ll also tell you which results are available to use.
NameMesh can filter out any taken names while Panabee will mark the ones you can use with a heart. Once you’ve settled on a domain, make sure you register it and then fill it out on your web host. The host will send you an email that can look confusing, but don’t panic.
The email will contain DNS servers, but if you type the name of your used registrar and “DNS servers” into Google, you can usually find a guide to put the domain name into your hosting site. Of course, the first way is easier but we can’t all be lucky.
Content Management System
The CMS is a shortcut that lets you edit your site on the domain page rather than have to navigate to the hosting server for any change you want to make. There are dozens if not hundreds of systems out there, so it’s largely just preference.
Each one has pros and cons, but you also need to consider your goal. If you just want a basic site, you can probably Google “CMS” and find a popular one. A complex CMS will need a partner or web development company.
Once you decide on a CMS, look for a how-to-install tutorial on Google or Youtube by typing the CMS name and your hosting site, like “install WordPress on Bluehost.” Since each CMS has pros and cons, here are some of the best options out there:
- WordPress. In this case, that’s wordpress.org for the installation software. The best and worst thing about WP is the vast number of plugins, so be warned.
- Joomia is a lot like WP, just with less plugins available to use.
- A more advanced CMS is Drupal, but the trade-off is more customization. Unlike plugins, the modules that Drupal uses are constantly tested for risks so it’s safer overall if you’re willing to learn.
No CMS is perfect, so do some research and see which one fits your needs the most. The easiest to use are usually WordPress and Joomia, but easier doesn’t mean better.
Decide on a Theme
The theme is chosen on your CMS and how you go about picking one varies depending on the CMS you went with. However, the general principle is the same and it all results in creating the identity of your site.
When making a theme, keep in mind your intended audience. This will help when deciding on a layout, visuals, and colors. For example, a child-friendly site will have a simpler design with bright colors while one geared towards business will be more professional-looking.
With your site made and the CMS picked, you want to make sure you can edit safely and also protect your site from potential risks. The best way to do this is to create a child or sub-theme using a CSS in a text editor.
That probably sounds complicated, but you can look up how to do that and it becomes very simple so don’t worry. Once you put the “dummy theme” onto your CMS, it will act as a shield between your main theme and any hacking attempts, software breaches, etc.
That may not seem as important to some people, but some of the computer management systems out there are prone to software or plugin issues. Whether or not you worry about outside interference, corruption from internal plugins can be a problem.
The last, but not least, step is to get your site known. This is done with branding, so the first part is getting a logo. You can either hire someone or do it yourself if you’re an artist.
Build out your CMS with content so people know more about your business, you, and anything else you might want to share that could help your brand. Feel free to get creative!
That’s it! You can have a great website running in just a few steps, but don’t get caught up if you stumble. Patience can be the difference between a great website and one that fades from existence, so don’t panic if it takes a few tries.
The best thing is that the modern world is full of technology and tutorials, so make sure you utilize everything you can. If you follow the steps above and use helpful resources, you’ll have a solid website going in no time!