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Essential Steps to Creating Your Own Website

Four Steps to Getting Your Site Up and Running

Creating a website from scratch is a difficult and time-consuming process. But building a website is like building a house: if you are a highly skilled specialist or a passionate amateur, then you might be able to build it yourself in order to save money.

If, on the other hand, you have zero experience architecting or curating websites, then you are probably better off hiring a professional.

User-friendly tools such as template-based builders that allow you to drag and drop design elements, or blogging platforms with backdoor functionality, let users create simple text-based sites and can give amateur enthusiasts an opportunity to curate the content on their site. But if your business needs an original design, then you should start saving for a hired gun.

1. Get a Name. The first order of business? Find and purchase a URL, also known as a domain name. Your company’s URL will be your online address, so you want it to be easy to remember. If your venture’s name is composed of more than two words, then you might want to consider using a nickname or a keyword, rather than your DBA. Visit domain.com to search for available domains.

2. Design Your Site. A website can be hand-coded by skilled specialists, or it can be created from aggregated design elements on a template-based builder program like Squarespace or WordPress. Keep in mind: just because someone passed shop class doesn’t mean they are qualified to drop an engine in your car.

Nowadays, everybody has some experience on the web, and user-friendly social media sites like Facebook can fool consumers into thinking they are actively producing original content on a curated page. In reality, 99% of what happens on Facebook or Twitter is predetermined by decisions that designers and engineers made years ago.

If you’re going to work with a designer, then you should ask for several work samples of current, functioning sites.

3. Find a Host for Your Site. A server or host is basically where you rent permanent virtual space. Think of it this way: if your website wasn’t connected to a server, it would shut down every time you close your browser or power down your computer.

4. Update, Update, Update. Probably the single biggest mistake most small-business owners make when it comes to maintaining a presence on the web? They don’t actually maintain it. For a website to be valuable, it must be dynamic. Revisit your site often and post new content regularly.

Author:

Marshall Walker Lee graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Michigan's Honors College with degrees in Writing and Philosophy. As a freelance writer and designer he has developed branding strategies and programming for J. Walter Thompson, Nike, the Kellogg Foundation, Spike TV, Sony Films, and General Motors. He is the co-founder and director of Poor Claudia, a 501(c)3 non-profit publishing enterprise based in Portland, Oregon.