Find Web Developers
Find Web Developers

Web Development For Beginners

Creating a website may seem like a daunting task that only geeks can do, this is not true! Anyone including you can easily sit down, do one or two hours research and begin to design and layout a plan for your website. The biggest hurdle is knowing where to start and what kind of things you will need. Obviously you will need a computer! Then you need a piece of software that lets you create your website. The simplest and easiest way to start creating your website is to use a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) website building software. Many can be had for free and this cuts out the need for you to learn HTML. HTML is what all websites are coded in. It is not a huge subject and is certainly worth learning about if you plan on getting in deep with web design and development.

The next most important thing to do is to find a niche topic for your website. It’s easy to copy everyone else’s websites on plants or whatever, but in order to stand out and attract more visitors you need to come at a topic from an angle that no one else has. Once you have decided on your niche, you need to start designing how your website will look. This is worth some extra research as the design of your website will influence how people behave on it, and if it’s designed badly it may just send them right back to from whence they came! Follow popular conventions, like having the navigation down the left hand side, no more than two or three colours for the theme of your site and keep everything on the page evenly spaced.

Now that your site is finished, it’s time to choose a domain name! This is where you pick the address that people type in at the top of the browser, like ww.mywebsite.com. Try to find a company that provides domain names and web hosting. Usually it’s easier and cheaper if you get your web hosting and domain name from the same company. You won’t need to setup something called domain namespace servers either, so it’s a good idea to get everything from the same place. Domain names are cheap, usually anything from $2 to $15 depending on the extension (.com.co.uk.me etc) you choose. “.com” often being the most expensive but it is the most recognised extension on the internet, it’s also easier to remember a website with that too.

Once you have got your domain name sorted out, it’s time to upload it. Before you can do that though, you will need to get web hosting. Web hosting is something that lets you put your website online so people can find it. It is often very cheap, usually in the range of $20 to $40 per year. Once you sign up the web host will send you some emails, and one of them should contain what is called your FTP log-in details. This should be in the form of an address (ww.mywebsite.com or 123.321.123.321), a username and a password. Keep this information safe as it’s very important!

The next part is to get your website onto the internet. This is a little more complex than the designing and developing stage of your site. You have to get your hands on a piece of FTP software. There are many free FTP “clients” online that you can download, such as FileZilla. This is what allows you to connect to your web hosting provider’s computer (server) and upload your files, just like if you were to copy files from your hard disk to another place (usb drive, cd etc).

Once your website is up and running, you may be wondering why hardly anyone is coming to visit. This brings you onto something called “SEO”, which stands for “Search Engine Optimisation”. This is a very wide and volatile subject with many techniques and conflicting arguments on how to spread the word about your website, i.e. getting your website to appear on Google, and the higher the better. It is easier to think of your website like a business, and the traditional way people heard about businesses was through word-of-mouth and customer recommendations. Something similar is true with regards to websites. At the most basic level, the more websites that are linking to your website, the more important your website seems to Google. You can think of links as votes, the more links to your site from others, the more votes you have. This subject is vast and complex, and there are many other factors that effect how the linking process works. For instance, a link from a very big and popular site is much better than a link from a tiny site that no one’s heard of.

That’s it in a nutshell. Remember, you can never do too much research and you don’t need to fork out a ton of money to create and run your own website. Watch out for companies offering to get you to “number one on Google” too, as this is a popular line from scammers. A “first page position” is a much more legitimate statement!

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