How to create a website on your own – Part 1 (Preparation)

These days, creating a professionally looking website is quite easy.   You do not need any knowledge either on programming or scripting.  At the most,  having an understanding of “Cascading Style sheets” might be a bonus, as this knowledge might help you in customizing the site a bit more.

I am listing below the process to create your own personal website. This is based on my recent experience on creating a personal website.  This post is not a step by step instruction manual. It is written to serve more as a guide on the process involved in creating a website.   My take is that, with some good preparation and planning, you can have a professionally looking fully functional website in couple of hours.

Step 1:  Plan your need

Like everything else in life, the best way to start is to plan the essentials.  Few of the questions that would help in this exercise include questions like:

  • What is the purpose of this site?  Is it for personal use or is it a business website?
  • Who will be the target audience?  What are the actions that the target audience will do on the site?
  • How often will the site get refreshed?  Will the content in the site static or will it be continuously updated?
  • What will you publish through the site?  Essentially you need to get a clear understanding of the storage needs.  For example, if the site is going to be heavy on videos, we need to factor for a larger storage capacity
  • What are your budgetary constraints?

Step 2: Get and register a Domain name

Domain name is the name you enter on the web browser, when you want to get to this site.   A domain name is a combination of letter and numbers.  It will end with an extension like .com, .net, .in etc.  Domain name essentially serves as your online address using which people can reach your site. Hence my advice is to spend some thought on this.  Domain names need to be unique. You need to check to make sure that your desired domain name is not already taken and is available for use. Once you have it available, you need to register the domain name with any of the domain registration provider.  This link  provides the details of some of the popular domain registration companies.  For my website, I registered my domain with godaddy.com.

Step 3: Subscribe to a hosting plan with a good hosting provider 

Once you have a domain, you need a location to create your website and make it available for the world.   A Web hosting service provider helps in this regard.  You can subscribe to anyone of the service plan they offer.  There are multiple hosting providers scattered across the globe.   You can get more details on types of hosting and few of the popular hosting providers here.

Note: For my website, I again went with godaddy.com as they had a good offer on the combined package of a domain name and hosting service.

Step 4:  Choose a content management system (popularly known as CMS)

Content management system is the software that helps you to create, edit, organize, and publish content which you want to see on the website.  As usual there are multiple CMS system available.  My advice would to stick with the most popular one –  WordPressWordPress is essentially free and most of the hosting service providers have a very easy mechanism to install and configure WordPress as part of their hosting service. WordPress is very easy to configure and come with a lot of themes and plugins.  (will talk about these in detail in the next post).

Note: These days many hosting providers offer dedicated WordPress hosting.  My advice is to go for it. Given that you are just using the hosting service to host your web site using WordPress, having it pre-built, optimized and available for you to use directly is a great advantage.  For my website, i am using WordPress hosting.

At the end of successful WordPress install, you should get a form asking to enter you administrator login and password.  You need this user name/password  to administer and manage your WordPress environment.  Please remember the  entries you make.

At the end of these four steps, you are ready to create your website.   Will discuss more about that process in the next post.

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