Building a website can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have no prior experience. There is a lot to consider and many options depending on what you want to use your site for, who you are trying to reach and how much time and money you are able to put into it. We are going to break down all the tools you'll need, as well as the best resources and courses available to build your own website.
What to Consider Before Starting a Website
There are a lot of different ways to build a website. Some are very straightforward, for the complete beginner, and others can be from complete scratch that requires significant knowledge of programming. Regardless of where you start, you can build a fully functional website that suits your needs.
When calculating your budget, you will have to take into account the cost of your domain name, hosting site, courses you will need to learn how to code or use the software needed, and any subscriptions to maintain your page.
Many sites offer bundles that will provide you with a domain, hosting and a website builder for a monthly or annual subscription anywhere from $5-$10 a month for shared hosting sites like Wix & SquareSpace, to over $100 a month for VPS hosting.
Your Skill level
The great thing about programming and web design is that everything you need to know is online! Whether you're an expert or a complete beginner, there are tools available for wherever you are starting.
What is Your Website Being Used for?
Determining how your website will be used is vital to projecting the cost, skills needed to complete the site, and the level of complexity required to build it. The type of website you decide to build will be largely dependent on the functionality you would like it to have.
Personal sites are often used for blogging, personal branding, showcasing portfolios and ultimately furthering one's career goals. They are generally simpler, less expensive than a business website, and can be created with a website builder or beginner to intermediate understanding of web development.
Business or corporate sites are much more involved and the development process is more time consuming, requires higher skill level and are costlier to deploy and maintain. These sites are usually aimed at selling products and/or providing services. Usually, a higher budget is needed as the site will contain more content and require greater functionality.
What You Need For Your Website
- A domain name
- Design a wireframe
- Understanding of web-based programming languages
- Install website building software
- A web hosting provider
- Monitor your page's analytics through SEO
Buying a Domain Name
Choosing the domain name for your website is like choosing an address for your house, it's going to be the place where your users can find your content, so it should be easy to remember and unique enough to be distinguishable from other, popular brands.
First, use a domain checker to see if your domain is available (many sites offer checking and purchasing features in one). Decide which domain extension you would like to use, .com is by far the most popular. Prices for domain names can vary quite a bit, anywhere from $1 to $100. This usually includes a registration fee and an annual fee.
Designing a Wireframe
A wireframe for your website is similar to an outline before you write an essay; it's a static design for how you want the layout and style of your site to look. This step is essential to the development process, it will make your life much easier when you go to build out the pages. A well laid out website that's easy to use will greatly improve your user's experience and increase traffic.
There are a lot of methods and programs UX designers utilize to design websites, you don't need high tech software to make a thorough mockup of how you want your site to look. Ultimately, it is whatever way you find that best allows you to express your ideas. Some things to keep in mind when planning a UX wireframe:
- Do your research - think about who your audience is and do some industry research. It helps to make an outline with all this information for quick reference.
- Have your user flow mapped out - have an idea of how many different pages you will have and how users will navigate to these pages. Having a visual aid for navigation will lower user frustration and drop off rates for your site.
What Programming Language to Learn
Probably one of the scariest parts about building a website for most people, gaining an understanding of a web-based programming language.
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