If your great idea for a business has never got off the ground because you don’t have the foggiest clue about websites, then this post is for you. In this article, we’ll explain, in everyday terms, the process you need to go through to get your website built and your business online. We won’t be able to cover every aspect in depth in a single blog post, but we will give you an overview that will put everything in perspective.
Before we begin, however, it is a good idea to dispel a couple of preconceptions that many people have.
It’s not as difficult as you think
Some people never get their website up and running because they think the process of creating one requires having lots of technical, computer coding skills. This isn’t the case. You can build a website without any coding what-so-ever. Indeed, there are a variety of user-friendly website creation programs that are designed to make website building an easy process. In terms of the technical challenge, it is about as difficult as creating a PowerPoint presentation or a poster on Word. What’s more, you’ll find there are many sources of help if you get stuck.
It’s cheaper than you’d expect
Another issue that stops people from setting up a website is that they think it must be expensive. This, again, is untrue. You can get your website hosted online, by a good quality and reliable hosting provider, for just a few pounds per month. In addition, you’ll need to pay an annual fee to register your website’s name (known as a domain name). Depending on the type of domain you have (.com. .co.uk, etc.) this can cost between £8 and £20 a year. Altogether, this means you can have a website and basic hosting package for around £1 a week.
Things you will need to create a website
1. A domain name
A domain name is your business’ online address (e.g. mycompany.co.uk). You need a domain name so that when anyone types it in a search bar or clicks on a link to it, your website will appear on their browser.
The name is made up of two parts: the name of the website (e.g. mycompany) and the part following the dot, known as the top-level domain (e.g. com, co, net). The top-level domain signifies things like the location (e.g. .uk, .fr, .london) or the type of organisation you are (e.g. .org, .gov, .co)
For the internet to work, every website has to have a unique domain name. This means you can only choose a domain that no-one else has registered. If the one you want is taken, you will need to choose another. This doesn’t always mean you need to change the actual name of your business though; if mycompany.co.uk is taken, mycompany.uk or mycompany.co might be available for you to use.
To be able to use a domain, it will first need to be registered with an organisation called ICANN. Your web host will usually do this on your behalf if you purchase the registration on their website. You can register a domain here at WHUK and our domain page also lets you check if your chosen domain is free and lets you search for alternatives if it isn’t.
2. Find a web host
For a website to work, all its files and folders (i.e. your website software and the pages you have published) have to be stored on a server; a specially configured computer that is permanently connected to the internet. When people visit your website, what they are actually doing is downloading some of these files from the server. At the same time, you may be collecting information from them that you will store on your server.
A web host is a company that hosts or stores your website files on their servers so that your website is always online for people to visit. Your choice of web host and web hosting package can have an important impact on the success of your business, so it is important to choose carefully.
For more information read our post Baffled By Choice? Here Are 7 Must-Have Web Hosting Features.
The right software
Once you have a domain name and have chosen your web host and hosting package, the next step is to begin creating your website. To do this, you will need to choose the software with which to build it. While there are quite a few to choose from, the easiest and most popular is WordPress – more websites are built using this software than any other. Simple and intuitive to use, it comes with thousands of free themes to help you create the perfect design and tens of thousands of plugins that add extra functionality to your website at the click of a button – such as turning it into an online store.
Here are WHUK, we make using WordPress even easier as our low-cost cPanel hosting comes with 1-click WordPress installation, enabling you to get started on the look and content of your site straight away.
Hopefully, this post will have given you an overview of the three essential things you need to build a great website: a domain name, a web host and hosting package and the software to create the website. With these in place, it won’t take you long to get your website online and your business up and running.
To take a look at more of our hosting packages, visit our homepage.