Website Wednesday | Plan Your Website

It’s Website Wednesday and today we’re going to talk about what it takes to get online with a free website, website templates, no-hassle web design and free web hosting. How much easier can it be? If you do not already have a website you can follow these easy steps to get started. Your personal website or business website reflects a lot about you. We’ll provide you with the tips you need to start your own website and avoid the mistakes we’ve made over the years.

Plan To Build A Website

Getting an online presence is a complicated thing. It’s complicated because there are a lot of things to consider. You almost need to see into the future, because you need to think about where you are now and anticipate where your website to be in the future. If you make the wrong steps in the beginning, it could drastically affect your site’s growth in the future. These steps will help outline the website process and the things you need to consider before you begin:

  1. What kind of website do you need? Personal or Business? Will you ever sell anything?
  2. Do you want a domain name (like pctechbytes.com)?
  3. Do you want web hosting?
  4. Do you know web design?

What kind of website do you need? You can either have a personal website or a business website. There’s not a big difference between the two. Most Content Management Systems (CMS) have evolved to the point where you can do either. This is achieved by plugins and widgets that add functionality to your site. So a normal blog can now use a plugin that adds shopping card capability or themes that change the look and feel of the site so it looks like a store, rather than a blog.

Do you want a domain name? You really should have a domain name for your website. If you have a business, you should at least try and buy the domian name for your business even if you do not immediately plan to use it. Or if you have a personal website, you might want to buy your name in case you ever want to use it. Domain names are about $10 per year, which is cheap. You can use a site like Go Daddy to buy your domain name from any of the other thousands of companies that sell them.

Do you want web hosting? If you have a business website, yes, you do want web hosting. There are two main types of web hosting–shared hosting and dedicated hosting.

  • Shared web hosting puts your website on a server with thousands of other websites. The advantage is the cheap cost. The disadvantage is less performance and increased chance of security issues. For instance, a web server with a thousand websites that are somewhat popular can slow do your website due to the traffic of the other websites on that server. In addition, if a website on that server gets banned from Google, your site may also get banned, as the IP address of the server is “shared” with all of the websites on that computer.
  • Dedicated web hosting means your web site is on a single server, which is managed by professionals. Generally, you have to do nothing different except pay more each month. Expect to pay around $200 per month, but if you have several websites, the additional cost is nothing compared to the benefits of security and improved performance.

Do you know web design? You can either manually create your own “static” web site using a program like Dreamweaver or you can opt to go with a Content Management System. Or you can combine a static website with a CMS to get the benefits of a CMS and incorporate your very own design flare. So what are the differences between a static website and a CMS?

  • A static website is pure html. You do not need to hand-code when using a program like Dreamweaver, but you can if you want. The files are then uploaded to a server and do not change frequently. This type of website is fine for a business that does not expect to be adding a lot of pages or content beyond the original design.
  • A Content Management System uses themes which are separate from the content. So you can change your theme as often as you want and your content remains the same. Themes contain elements of a static site. Think of a theme as a wrapper for your content. You can change the size, color, background and anything else with a few clicks of the mouse and your content remains the same. A CMS relies on a database, and this database is usually automatically created using whatever CMS you choose.

Now that you have some things to consider, you can look forward to part two of this series next week. We’ll discuss your options for a free website. Free websites will use a CMS system and will not require a domain name.