Building a web site: Part 5
Summary of the process of creating a web site – continued
8. Register your domain name
This can be trickier than you think, since many of the good domain names are taken. You can pretty much forget about single-word domain names like business.com and auctions.com; they are long gone! You will need to come up with combination words like ‘how-to-build-websites.com’.
Today you have many more options for domains; in the past, businesses could only register .com’s because .net and .org domains where reserved for special types of organizations. Those old restrictions are now gone, and there are a wide variety of extensions you can choose from:
.com, .net, .org, .tv, .biz, and several others including country codes like .ca (Canada), .us (USA), .co.uk (United Kingdom) et cetera.
In terms of the search engines, it makes no difference which ending (extension) you use.
Some people might argue that the first thing you need to do is to register your domain name, then build your web site. That may be true if your website design is impacted by the domain … for some people this is the case, and for others it isn’t. You can make that call for your own websites.
How do you know if a domain is already taken?
The quickest way to figure this out is to type in the domain name in your browser and see if it takes you anywhere. This is not always useful though because many domains have been bought but have no website!
That means the best way to figure this out is to go to your registrar. Every registrar will have a form where you can check to see if domains names are available just by typing it in.
The best thing about going to the registrar is that when you type in a domain name you are interested in their systems will not only tell you if the .com is available, they will also give you the scoop on all the other variations – a big time saver.
9. Find a hosting company: What to look for in a host
Today, hosting web sites cost much less than what they did just a few years ago, and that’s a good thing. You can go from zero cost hosting to very pricey solutions, depending on your web site’s needs.
What can affect the cost of hosting a website?
- Traffic – more traffic can cost you more per month. But for this to affect you, you would have to have a pretty popular web site. Since you are just starting out, I wouldn’t expect that problem for a while.
- Extra features / services – you may need to use a database (for e-commerce) or need many email accounts, extra disk space to store all your websites files. Each host will have a list of plans that you can choose from depending on your needs.
In the end you have to choose the hosting company and hosting plan that is best suited to for your web site. Cheaper is not always best, but it may be good enough for you.
10. Upload your website to the hosting company’s server
Once you created your web site, paid for your domain name, and picked your hosting company, it’s time to upload the web site onto your host server for the world to see. Typically, you would use something called FTP to do this; you hosting company should be able to help you with the details when setting up your account.
Some quick tips to remember
- Keeping web pages small – under 60k
- Keeping content headers (H2 tags) clear and to the point.
- Keep paragraphs small.
- Keep contact information (email – phone) easily found in same place on all pages.
- Keep look and structure of the web pages consistent across all pages.
- Provide a ‘Home’ button to take the user back to the cover (a.k.a.: splash, home) page of the website.
- Make sure links are always underlined. (Don’t use CSS to remove the underline: big mistake if you do since people assume that underlined texts are links.)
- The company logo should appear on every page in the same spot and it should always be a link back to the home page.
Now that we have a good idea of what building a website is all about, we can move on to the next subject: Using Cascading Style Sheets (otherwise known as CSS) to help us make our pages look great!