I Need a Website – Where Do I Start?

This will be a helpful and easy “How To Get Started” guide for getting your very own website up and running.  From registering the domain, to uploading files, it’s all right here and laid out in a easy way for the most inexperienced beginners to learn.  No matter if you are computer savvy or not, this how-to guide will get you up and running in no time.

What you’ll need for a set up of a website are the following:

1) Domain Registrar
2) Hosting Company
3) A Web Designer (or graphics program and html editor if doing it yourself)
4) An FTP Client
5) A Phone (to call customer support if needed)

Okay, so maybe the fifth option isn’t really necessary, but it sure will come in handy if your a first timer!

Let’s get started.  First off you’ll need to seek out a domain registrar.  What is a domain registrar you ask?  Well, a domain registar is a place where you can buy and register a domain (sometimes referred to as your website address eg.  The first thing you need to do is think of a great domain name that you want (something that directly says what your website is all about is usually the best way to go).  Also keep in mind what words your customers may look to find you with, as having keywords in your domain name to help them find you is useful in your online marketing efforts.  Next, check to see if that domain name is available.  Don’t worry if you have to do multiple searches in order to grab the domain name that you like.  There are millions of domains already taken and it may take a day or two to find that perfect domain name.  Once you find the perfect domain name, register it at the domain registrar and place your order!  Simple, right?

Well, hold on, we still have a couple more things to do before you can officially start building your website.

Now that you have your domain name, you’re going to need to hosting.  A web host is a company that bills you monthly (sometimes they have annual billing if you prefer) in order to provide your website with the power of being viewed.   Without hosting, you have nothing but a domain name that no one can see.  A host will get your domain online for the entire world wide web to see!  When editing your website, you will be uploading all files to your host…we’ll get to how to do that next, don’t worry.  Shop around for a good web host, select a small starter plan (especially if this is your first time and you’re not sure how to gain traffic just yet).  You can always upgrade to a more expensive plan later on if need be and get Windows VPS.  A basic virtual hosting plan will run around $10 to $20 per month on average.

Great, so now you have a domain name and a host.  So now what?  Time to get an FTP client.

An FTP client is, in the most simplest of terms, a piece of software that you download that transfers files from your computer to your host and ultimately appear on your domain.  For example, if you wanted to place a picture onto your website that you have on your computer, you would simply find the picture and upload it to your host.  There are many free FTP clients to choose from, just do a quick online search for “Free FTP Program” and pick which one most appeals to you!  One that we’ve found very easy to use is a program called Filezilla.

The other 2 things you’ll need to build your website are a graphics program and an HTML editor.  Here are two free ones that are pretty easy to find tutorials for online.

1) TheGIMP – Graphic Image Manipulation Program is what it stands for, not for being handicapped!  This was originally built by linux geeks but if you click the link above we pointed it to the windows version as we know most of you guys reading this blog are on windows computers.

2)  Kompozer – Also originally built buy the linux crowd but finally came out with a version for windows.  This is a graphical interface WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) HTML editor.  If you can use a word processor you can learn how to use this.  HTML documents are what you insert your images and text onto that you will need to upload to your host (with the FTP client).

Think of it like this…your server/host is like a computer that the world can see.  You are creating documents (html) that has text and images on it that you are going to share with the word to see.  You need to send it to that computer so that everyone can see it via your FTP client…and that’s pretty much it!

So there you have it! You’ve just learned the basics of how to get started on your very first website!  If all this is a bit too much to deal with there are companies like ours to help you through the whole process from buying a domain, to building & designing a website to the marketing that you’ll need to get done once its online.

Read more about Marketing Online and Offline as well as Public Relations ideas for your business.