How to Start your Website

Life's puzzles

So you want to start a website, but are not quite sure how to go about doing it? Here are 5 steps to get you started.

There are other tips and tutorials throughout this site to get you over the hump. While it may seem like a puzzle now you just need to take things one step at a time.

The first thing I suggest is that you think of your website as more than just a website. This is your presence in the internet. You are presenting your business to the world in a visual format.

What impression do you want to leave on the people that visit your website? Who are the people you want to speak with? What kind of response are you looking for from the internet?

The answer to these questions will help you as you develop the actual website. Most people are creating a web presence so that people can find their business. I looked through the yellow pages the other day for a heating contractor and could not find the person I was looking for. I did find him listed on a website for listings in my area. He was not in the phone book.

Many people do not even have land lines any more. We are all using our cell phones. People are looking more and more to the internet only for everything they need. Many cell phones have internet access. People driving down the road look at their cell phone to find a business in the area. They need to know where you are and what you have for them immediately! So how do you start?

  1. Decide on your domain name. This is the address that people will use to find you on the internet. Google.com is an example of a domain name. The extension can be .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz and .us. The most common extension used is .com. It’s usually safe to stay with this unless you are starting a nonprofit in which case you would want .org. The domain name has to say something about who you are. It also can say something about what you do. My domain name is thewebhostadvisor.com. I provide advice for people looking to host their website. The shorter the domain name the better, but some unknown acronym like dhwokd.com is too obscure to remember. It must be simple, but meaningful.
  2. Select a web hosting company and sign up for your service. What is a web host? Click on the question to find out more. In short they provide a place for your website to be connected to the internet. With most paid web hosting services you will also get 1 free domain registration. There are many things to consider when selecting a web host. What I find most important is reliability. Are they there when you need them? Is your website always available? How long have they been in business? And also how fast is the service. When your customer goes to your website you want it to load as fast as it can. For more on how to choose a web host you can look at the web hosting review page.
  3. Once you have your domain registered and hosted you will want to install some type of content management system or blog software. I suggest using WordPress. It is easy to use, easy to customize and versatile for when you grow. There are many free themes that you can use right out of the box and you can customize these themes with a little bit of help. I have provided some setting up WordPress lessons here.
  4. Configure WordPress to look the way you want. This will include selecting a theme and defining some specific things for your site such as the name and description. These may appear in different places depending on the theme you have chosen. There are many themes that you can pay for as well when you get yourself up and running. Once you have some content on the website you can change the theme and the complete look and feel changes but the information stays. This is what is so wonderful about WordPress. You can change your website as your needs and style  changes.
  5. Put your content on the website. This is where the fun begins. Putting content up on WordPress is adding posts, pages, links and categories. What you put in these different areas is defined by your theme and how you want your site to appear. You have so much versatility it is difficult to know where to start. I hope this posting on WordPress tutorial will help.
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