A beginners guide for a first-time webmaster


Regardless of the service the webmaster has to offer, this will count for little if the website is not customer-friendly or looks enticing. The beginner may wish to take a look at other website designs to garner ideas that might suit their business image or services offered. For the beginner, however, most websites are really composed of very similar building blocks.

Building a Website for the First Time

A website is really a document or booklet that one may read on a screen instead of on a page. Instead of turning the pages, navigation buttons are provided to give the visitor the ability to glean the contents. To make it easier for the search engine to index and put the pages in some hierarchical order, each website has a “sitemap” which is really mapped out like a tree. One important thing to note here is to host on a good server so cross-check the portfolio of reseller hosting company before buying the service.

Designing a Home Page or Landing Page

When a visitor first finds a website, the first page he will be presented with is the “home page” or “landing page.” This is like the cover to a book, and as many judge a book by its cover, it is essential that the landing page beguiles the reader and looks good.

Basically, the landing page will contain text, images, graphics and possibly videos, and must inform most the following:

  • The name or URL of the website which makes it clear what the website is about and what it offers
  • An introduction or preface on what to find within, including services, products and information
  • Navigation bars to the rest of the site
  • Copyright notice at the foot of the page

The following may also be found:

  • Something about the webmaster who created the site, perhaps including relevant credentials and contact details. A separate “about us” page is often created for this purpose
  • Registration button and login for members if applicable
  • Search bar to capture data within the site
  • A payment button if applicable
  • Testimonials

Creating a Website

The other webpages will work together if they have a similar look or template as the home page. But the webmaster must give equal thought to what the other webpages will contain and how they will work logically. The following starting points are essential:

  • The number of pages to include
  • The title of each page
  • Whether any pages need breaking down into subpages and how the visitor will be able to navigate to them
  • Sitepmap

The following webpages are optional

  • An FAQ (frequently asked questions) page
  • An about us page
  • Testimonials

Needless to say, the most crucial webpages should be placed near the top of the navigation bar or somewhere most prominent. Less important pages should be placed further down or on a subpage. Ease of navigation is essential to the visitor.

What Each Webpage Should Look Like

An uncluttered look is always best. Subheadings, bullet points, images and graphics serve to break down long paragraphs and make the pages easier on the eye. Avoiding wordy passages and irrelevant information is crucial. What not to include in a site is as important as what to include.

Other Special Features to a Website

The following extra features may be considered to enhance the visitor’s experience:

  • Latest news and updates
  • Special offers
  • Discussion forums
  • News feeds
  • RSS feeds
  • Quote of the day
  • Picture of the day
  • Video gallery
  • Adsense advertising

How to Create a Website

A typical website is really a landing page and a series of webpages and sub-webpages. In this respect, the webmaster must give consideration to what each page contains and how each page can be navigated to. Keeping the look uncluttered and user-friendly is crucial to a website’s success. An About Us page, introduction and contact details are important. But extra features such as news feeds and special offers can be added to enhance the visitor’s experience.