This tutorial shows you how to make or create a website. It is intended for the beginner and layperson, taking you step by step through the whole process from the very beginning. It makes very few assumptions about what you know (other than the fact that you know how to surf the Internet, since you’re already reading this article on the Internet). As some steps are more involved, this guide also links to selected relevant articles on thesitewizard.com that you will need to click through to read for more information
The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Own Website
The first thing you need to do before anything else is to get yourself a domain name. This is the name you want to give to your website. For example, the domain name of the website you’re reading is “thesitewizard.com”. To get a domain name, you have to pay an annual fee to a registrar for the right to use that name. Getting a name does not get you a website or anything like that. It’s just a name. It’s sort of like registering a business name in the brick-and-mortar world; having that business name does not mean that you also have the shop premises to go with it.
A web host is basically a company that has many computers connected to the Internet. When you place your web pages on their computers, everyone in the world will be able to connect to it and view them. You will need to sign up for an account with a web host so that your website has a home. If getting a domain name is analogous to getting a business name in the brick-and-mortar world, getting a webhosting account is comparable to renting office or shop premises for your business.
Once you have settled your domain name and web host, the next step is to design the web site itself. In this article, I will assume that you will be doing this yourself. If you are hiring a web designer to do it for you, you can probably skip this step, since that person will handle it on your behalf.
Although there are many considerations in web design, as a beginner, your first step is to actually get something out onto the web. The fine-tuning can come after you’ve figured out how to publish a basic web page. One way is to use a WYSIWYG (“What You See Is What You Get”) web editor to do it. Such editors allow you to design your site visually, without having to muck around with the technical details. They work just like a normal word processor.
There are a number of free and commercial web editors around. One free (and open source) editor for Windows. The guide takes you through the process of designing a website from scratch so that you end up with a fully-functional site, complete with multiple pages and a feedback form.
For those who prefer to use a commercial program, thesitewizard.com has numerous online tutorials for a web editor called Dreamweaver. The Dreamweaver Tutorial: How to Design a Website with Dreamweaver CS6 also takes you through all the steps needed to design a complete website, in addition to providing you with the theoretical and practical foundations that will help you create and maintain the site.
oAfter you have followed my tutorial, and are on the way to designing your website, you might want to read the article Appearance, Usability and Search Engine Visibility in Web Design as well. It takes a brief look at some of the real world issues that every web designer must deal with.
There are many other issues regarding the design of web pages. The above will get you started. However, if you have the time after you get something out onto the web, you may want to read my other articles on Web Design and Website Promotion and Search Engine Ranking.
Although I list this step separately, it should be done throughout your web design cycle. I list it here to give it a little more prominence, since too few new webmasters actually perform it adequately.
You will need to test your web pages as you design them in the major browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer 11. All these browsers can be obtained free of charge, so it should be no hardship to get them. Unfortunately, directly testing your site is the only way you can be really sure that it works the way you want it to on your visitors’ machines. And those with access to Windows 10 should also test with Microsoft Edge, the successor to Internet Explorer. In addition, if you have a smartphone, try out your site there too.
If you want to improve the chances that your website will work in future versions of all web browsers, consider validating the code for your web pages. In layman’s language, this means that you should check that the underlying code of your web page, called “HTML” and “CSS”, has no syntax errors. You don’t actually need technical knowledge of HTML and CSS to validate the page, since you can use one of the numerous free web page validators around to do the hard work. On the other hand, if the validator tells you that your page has errors, it may sometimes be hard to figure out what’s wrong (and whether the error is actually a serious one) if you don’t have the requisite knowledge. Having said that, some validators actually give concrete suggestions on how to fix your code, and one of them, called “HTML Tidy”, is even supposed to be able to fix errors for you.
If you are selling products or services, you will need some way to collect credit card information. If so, take a look at How to Accept Credit Cards on Your Website. I also have a step by step guide on How to Add an Order Form or a “Buy Now” button using PayPal to a Website for those using PayPal. If you need advertisers for your website, you might want to read How to Make Money from Your Website and the follow-up article How to Increase Your Website Revenue from Affiliate Programs. A list of advertisers and affiliate programs can be found on Affiliate Programs: Free Sponsors and Advertisers. Those companies are on the constant lookout for new web publishers to display their advertisements.
In general, if your site is already linked to by other websites, you may not even need to submit it to these search engines. They will probably find it themselves by following the links on those websites