Virtually every company, individual and organization has their own website, and with the web growing by leaps and bounds, websites will become even more important as time passes.
But how does an internet novice go about creating a website from scratch? It may be tempting to hire a website designer or firm to create an internet site, but this can be very costly, leaving it an option beyond the reach of many individuals, small businesses and organizations.
With today’s easy-to-use software, virtually anyone can create a wonderful, interactive website. Below are list of basics for creating and launching that new website:
Select a Domain Name
The domain is essentially the address where the site will “live,” also known as the site’s URL. Typically, the domain name is a derivation of the company/organization name, website content or service type. For instance, a local fire department may select “TownFireDepartment.com” for the domain name. A firefighter’s organization may select “FirefightersOrganization.org,” Be sure to select alternate domain names in case your first choice is already taken. The domain name should be easy to remember and directly related to the content of the website.
Register the Domain Name
Registering the domain name essentially stakes your claim to the domain. Web service companies like GoDaddy.com offer domain registration for a reasonable fee, and often, this is discounted to less than $5.00 when purchased in combination with other web services that you will require for the new website.
Obtain a Web Hosting Package
Website hosting is a service that enables the webmaster (the person who creates and manages the website) to store the website’s information on a server. Without hosting, there is no place to store the data associated with a website.
Hosting is typically the most expensive yearly fee associated with maintaining a website. Companies like GoDaddy.com offer hosting services and some companies even offer free hosting, though there are typically immovable banners and advertisements placed on your site in exchange for the free hosting service.
Purchase and Learn to Use a Website Development Software Program
There are many user-friendly, HTML-free website creation programs available on the market today. This is how you will create the web pages that will comprise the website. The pages that comprise the website are then uploaded onto the hosting service’s server – a massive database of sorts – where they’re stored and made viewable to anyone who would like to visit the website.
PC users can obtain a website creation program through GoDaddy.com and similar sites. And Mac users can utilize iWeb, a program that’s included on new Mac computers. IWeb can also be purchased at your local Mac store. If neither program suits your needs, then there are dozens of website creation programs available at software retailers.
Obtain FTP Software
FTP (file transfer protocol) programs upload the website onto the server, thereby making it “live” and viewable to anyone who types in your URL. Once the pages of a website have been created on a computer, the files need to be uploaded from the computer and onto the internet. Otherwise, the website will not be viewable; in essence, the information will be trapped inside the computer. These programs are typically inexpensive and simple to use. Fetch is a commonly used FTP program on Macs. Classic FTP is among the dozens of programs available on a PC.
Once a soon-to-be webmaster registers the domain name, obtains a hosting package, purchases and learns to use website creation software, the next step is to actually create the website. Once the website is created, it can then be uploaded onto the server and the website is then “live” and viewable to anyone who types in the website’s URL.
After a website is created, the URL (the website’s address) must be submitted to search engines like Google and Yahoo!. Once the URL is submitted to the search engine, the search engine’s “spider” or “crawler” program will visit the site, which is then cached or committed to the search engine’s “memory.” Once a website is crawled and cached, the website will begin to appear in search results, which allows internet surfers to locate the new website.
“Website creation can seem daunting and complicated at first, but I’ve found that many companies that offer domain registration, also offer hosting and other necessary software. These companies, like GoDaddy, provide wonderful customer support service via the phone and internet to guide novices through the process,” Sparks explained, concluding, “And once you get through the nitty-gritty parts of the process, you’re left with the fun part – creating and designing your new website!”