This is a quick guide to help you make your own web site. As you can understand, it is not possible to cover everything in one article so my aim is to list the different steps of the process and point you to individual articles and resources where you shall find more information.
But before we begin, please note that this guide is primarily aimed at web developers. For the technologically challenged who just want a web site quickly, the article on how to create my personal free web site in less than an hour will be more useful.
Also, please understand that there are various types of web sites in the world and we shall be concentrating on how to make a simple web site which can serve as one of the first building blocks for your web development career.
Don’t just jump in the pool (the water might be really cold). So spend a little time in planning.
Though you may have answers to all the above questions in your head, it’s not a bad idea to put them down on paper…. trust me it helps.
You should still be working on paper. Decide the layout and design for your web site. Visit other web sites and save the ones whose design you like (you can always take screenshot of a web site and save it as an image). Though I don’t recommend copying blatantly from other web sites, they can provide ample ideas on which you can build upon. Make a basic structure of your web site, specifying each individual web page you want.
Now that you have the list of web pages for your web site, write content of each. Employ a word processor to help you with this and make sure you read what you have written a couple of times to avoid spelling and grammatical mistakes in the final text.
As you compose the content for individual web pages, you may find a need to incorporate images and graphics with the text. There are several ways you can get graphics for your web site. Probably the easiest is to search the internet (http://images.google.com). However, I don’t advice using graphics and images straight off the web as they would definitely have copyrights. A better option is to get images from free image sources and there are plenty you can find on the web. The best alternative is, however, to use original creations. Learn how to work with an image or graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop and get your creative juices flowing. You can find tons of tutorials on the web for different image programs.
You can either learn HTML, the language in which all web pages are created or use a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor that can “write” the HTML for you. There are many free WYSIWYG HTML editors available; the popular ones like Dreamweaver and FrontPage are, however, commercial software.
Whether you code HTML using Notepad or employ a fancy WYSIWYG HTML editor, you need to tie up all individual pages to create a web site. Your web site homepage would, typically, be an index.html or index.htm file. Load it in a browser and check all links on all pages. Your aim is to prevent any “broken link” from slipping into your web site.
A domain name is your online web site name. If you want something like www.whatever.com, you need to purchase it from a domain registrar. Domain names are quite inexpensive and you can get one for $10-$30 per year (depending on the company). Please note, if you buy a domain name for a year, you need to pay for its renewal the next year. Though, it’s not compulsory to have your own domain name (read next paragraph), it certainly helps if you plan to make a serious web presence.
A domain name is probably the most important aspect of your web site. If you change it, your web site address will no longer be the same. You shall also lose all the email accounts on this domain. I recommend you register the domain name with a trusted and reliable company such as Network Solutions.
For a web site to be a part of the web, it needs to reside on a computer connected to the internet 24/7. Such a computer is called a web server. In addition to other functions, web servers have a monotonous task of “serving” web pages and their contents to browsers. So, to make your web site available to everyone, you need to host it on a web server. You can either buy a web hosting package from a reliable company (which come for around $50-$100 per year for a small or medium web site) or take free web hosting service. There are thousands of companies offering web hosting – free and paid. In fact, when you buy a web hosting package, you may get a free domain name. I do not recommend using free hosting service unless you are really pressed for funds. If you are even a little serious in making a web site, I strongly advice getting a proper domain name and a web hosting package.
Now that you have procured a web hosting package, you need to upload all web site files to the web hosting server. Uploading is, typically, done using the File transfer Protocol (FTP) for which you have programs, aptly called FTP client or FTP programs (what else?).
FTP requires you to log in to the web server host with the username and password provided by the hosting company and copy the files from your computer to the web server. Now this may sound complicated to a newbie but is actually quite simple. You can also take the services of a web developer who can do this in a jiffy.
Let everyone know of your web site. Send emails, put the domain name it in your email signature, mention it in online forums and discussion boards, tattoo the web address on your back and run naked around your town…
Jokes aside, the best way to get visitors to your web site is via search engines. This is a vast topic and I suggest you read more about it on the internet – hunt for search engine optimization or SEO articles.
The Amazon.com "smile/arrow" logo was designed by Turner Duckworth. Jeff Bezos once commented on his company's logo, "Anyone who doesn’t like this logo doesn’t like puppies." [more...]