Making a Website: The Absolute Basics
If you are new to websites, here’s a quick article that will help you understand the very basics of what is required to make a website.
Three things you need to make a website:
A domain name
This is the name of your website (also called the base URL, or the web address). E.g. writemaps.com
You get one of these by paying an annual fee to a Registrar (a company who deals in domain names).
TIP: Get prices from a few registrars, as some resell domain names with a higher profit margin than others.
TIP2: Ask people you know for recommendations on which registrar they use, and if it is easy to find your away around their login area. Some registrars make it easy to manage your domain names, and some don’t.
This is a place where your website files sit online. Hosting companies have rooms full of computers which are never turned off, so that people can view your website files at any time.
These are the actual image or text files that make up your website. As a very basic example, your home page might be called index.html, and when people view that page it might also use several image files like logo.jpg, and other files to make your home page look pretty.
TIP: It may help you to understand the difference between a ‘static’ website, which is only editable in the website files (in the code), and a website with a Content Management System (CMS), which is something that you can log into and edit the main pieces of content in your website. WordPress is an example of a CMS.
Voila! When someone types in your domain name, you would have set it to point to the host where your files are, and your hosting delivers the correct website files, e.g. your home page and relevant image files.
Making a Website: What’s Involved
In the process of creating a website, you would probably walk through most of these steps, not always in this order:
- Understanding the business and customer needs, learning about ranking highly in search engines
- Brainstorming website ideas
- Defining a few ideas to deliver (the project scope)
- Finding a Do-It-Yourself tool, or a Web Company to deliver the project
- Choose the technical tools that suit your project needs
- Site mapping the structure of your website i.e. which pages and how they fit together (WriteMaps is handy for this!)
- Planning the content for each page (WriteMaps also gathers content!)
- Choosing a design theme, or getting a custom design created
- Building out the website in code using the structure, content, and design
- Testing and fixing technical aspects of the website
- User-testing and changes
- Final testing, including cross-browser testing
- Ongoing performance management (Usually related to marketing goals)
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