Making your own website is popular nowadays, both for business and pleasure. If you want to make your own website, here’s a step by step guide. Once you’ve decided what you will make your own website about, you can jump right in.
Get a Domain Name
Before you can really make your own website, the first thing you need is a domain name. Domain names cost an annual fee and there are many services that provide domain names. I recommend namecheap.com because their service is the cheapest at only $10 annually. The downside is that the customer service at namecheap.com is underwhelming at best, but if you’re willing to put up with that, namecheap.com can’t be beat.
Then you have to decide what your domain name will be. The best option is to make the domain name the same name as the site itself. For example, if your site is called “John’s Place,” a good domain name will be: johnsplace.com. Some sites use hyphens in their domain name (ie, johns-place.com), but I advise against this, since the placement of the hyphens will be hard for your visitors to remember.
There are alternatives to getting a domain name. You can register a sub domain with multiple free space providers, such as Freehostia and Angelfire. If you want to make your own website for business, do not use these, since you will get a site whose domain is Angelfire.com or Freehostia.com and your name after a slash. Customers will not remember these names. If you just want to make your own website to show your friends, this is a good way to do it.
By the way, some “providers” claim to offer free domain names. The majority of these are scams. Be very leery of them.
Get a Host
Once you have a domain name, you need someone to host your website. There are plenty of free hosts out there, and the free one I recommend is Awardspace. Free web hosts are, from a certain standpoint, as good as paid hosts, but often provided less webspace, fewer services, less customer service, etc. Consider how much space you need for your site. Most free hosts provide enough space for you to make your own website, but if you intend to make an expansive site, a paid host might be the way to go. Also, free hosts are sometimes unreliable, and your site may go down for a while. Consider if this risk is worth the money you’ll save. The best hosts are expensive, costing anywhere between $10 and $100 a month. If you’re willing to pay this price, I recommend FutureQuest as a reliable source when you make your own website.
Design Your Site
Some hosts will provide templates for websites. If you want to make your own website just for fun and to show to your friends, these are fine. If you have higher purposes in mind, such as business, you’ll want to make your site look unique. There are professionals that can design a website for you, but they’re extremely pricy. Your best bet is to learn HTML if you don’t already know it. There are many tutorials all around the internet, and I recommend this one.
Alternatively, and perhaps much more easily, you can use web editing software. Editing softwares are sometimes called “WYSIWYG” software, which stands for: “What you see is what you get.” These are so called because you lay out your page visually and the editor translates it to HTML. The best commercial editor is Dreamweaver, but that can set you back a few bucks. A free editor available is Nvu, which is not only excellent software but is open source, meaning anyone who can write code can contribute and improve the program.
After you have a grasp on HTML or have gotten editing software, it’s time to start implanting it through your host. But make your own website according to certain rules of design:
You’ll want to make it load quickly. Internet users are fickle and may navigate away from the page if it takes a long time to load, so don’t put too much on the front page. Also, you may want to make the theme of the website apparent at a glance. For example, if the theme is football, put a football-related picture on the front page.
You’ll want to make it easy to navigate. Users will give up if they can’t find their way around, so make sure they can. The best way to do this is with a navigation bar at either the top or left of the page. A navigation bar is a set-off piece of the page with links to major sections.
You’ll want to make it easy for search engines to find. Search Engine Optimization is a complex art and would require an article all its own, but the best way to do it is use a lot of rules that relate to your site’s theme. Be as specific as possible. For example, if you’re making a Hank Aaron fan site, say “Hank Aaron” a lot, not just “baseball” or “Braves.”
If this is the first time you’ve chosen to make your own website, you may think that appearance is the most important thing. Many first-timers make this mistake. Navigation and search engine visibility are of primary importance, so don’t make that common mistake when you make your own website.
Make Some Money
Many of you want to make your own website just for fun. Others of you want to make your own website to make a profit. Other than selling items, there are many ways to make a profit. One of the best ways is through Google AdSense. When you sign up for Google AdSense, you are given a code to put on your site. This code generates text and image ads. The code reads the content of your website and chooses relevant ads that will attract visitors. You get a few cents every time somebody clicks on one of the ads. It costs nothing.
Another option to make money is referral programs. These programs provide a link. When somebody clicks on that link, they’re taken to an online store, and if they buy something, you are given a small referral fee. The most popular among these is the Amazon.com Associates Program. Many people swear by these programs. Personally, I’ve found them unsuccessful, since people will click your links, but usually won’t buy right away. They’ll remember the item they want to buy and come back later, not going through your link, so you won’t get the fee. But try it out and see if it works for you.
After you make your own website, it’s time to get the word out. We’ve already discussed search engines, which are by far the best source for gaining traffic. Another option is Google Adwords, the advertising side of Google AdSense. You write a short text ad, and it will be placed on other sites that use AdSense. The best part is, you don’t pay for the ads that are placed, but only when somebody clicks on them.
Other sites like StumbleUpon are not necessarily advertising, but they do provide a link to your site and will drive some traffic. These sites are intended for people to browse out of mere curiosity, not looking for anything in particular. You’ll get quite a few hits through them.
Good look when you make your own website!