When trying to set up a website, there are a number of things you have to do before it can be seen to a wider audience. It isn't just a case of clicking a button and that's it. Setting up a website can be quite a time-consuming process, and you don't want to jump the gun on any of these steps, otherwise you may be throwing money down the drain. Here are some of the steps in setting up your website.
Decide on a Name
In my opinion, this is the most important part of your website. What ever you do on your website will be associated with your name. Once you have come up with a name, you need to have a look around and see what domain names are available.
Around 15-20 years ago, the number of extensions that you could add to a domain name were limited. The most popular in the UK back then was .com, .net, .org and .co.uk. Because of this, domain names with popular terms were taken up very quickly. These days though, a lot more extensions are available, such as .uk and .online, making it easier to register a domain name with the term that you want.
You also want to think of what audience you are targeting. If you are targeting a UK audience, you may want a domain that has UK in it (or something related to the UK). Whereas, if you are thinking of targeting an American or global audience, something global like .com or .net would be sufficient.
Now I'm Going to Buy the Domain Name...
Wait wait wait! Don't jump the gun. You don't know what's going to be on your website yet. When you buy a domain name, you are buying a lease for that domain name. That means that the moment you buy that domain name, your lease period has started. If you buy a domain name before planning the content on your website, you will be renewing the lease on that domain a lot sooner than you wish.
The next step is to decide what content you want on your website and how you want it displayed on your website. If HTML is nothing more than a four letter acronym to you, that you are probably best either getting someone or a company to set up a website for you. However, some web hosting companies do have website builders included with them. Personally, I've never tried them, so can't give you an opinion on what they are like.
If you are creating a blog, or a website that will only have a few pages, I would personally go for a WordPress site. WordPress gives you a Content Management System (CMS) built into it. That means you can create, modify or delete your pages just by logging into a system on your website. And hosting for WordPress blogs can be very affordable as well.
Buying the Domain Name and Hosting
You've got a name, you know what content is going to be on the website. Now time to buy the domain name. Wait! Buying a domain name on it's own will only give you the rights to use that domain name. It will not allow you to host a website. For that, you need to purchase web hosting.
Quite a lot of web hosting companies will provide a domain name and web hosting as part of one package. If you do not have the domain name registered, it's these packages that you need to look out for.
And what about security? In-recent times, security has been taken up a notch and a "not-secure" snippet of text can appear on your browser if your website does not have an SSL certificate. You can find out more about SSL certificates in my article entitled "Which SSL certificate is right for you?".
The Steps Needed
So to recamp, you need to think of a name of your website, look for domain names that are available and think of what audience you are targeting.
Then, you need to think about what content on your website and decide on how you are going to host the website. Are you going to write your own HTML pages, or create something more flexible like a WordPress blog?
Only when you've decided on these things can you go ahead and purchase the domain name, web hosting and SSL certificate.
Then it's a case of marketing your website, but that's for another day...