How to Create a Website

Have you ever wondered what it takes to create a website?

Are you interested in creating a website but you’re not sure where to start? It’s not uncommon, especially if you don’t work in Web Design, to know what you need to do to get started. I’ve setup quite a few websites and have helped numerous clients and friends getting started.

What Do You Need to Have a Website?

There are only a few things you need, in order to have or create a new website. The very basic things you will need are a domain name and hosting service. Once you have those things, you are ready to start designing your site or have someone like me design it for you. That’s it, there’s not a whole lot to getting started, but there are tons of domain registrars and hosting services to choose from.

Choosing Your Domain Name

Your domain name is your URL or your web address, where your site can be found online. For example, my URL for this website is www.jeffreysiereveld.com. Finding a domain name can be tough, since someone might have already registered the domain name you wanted to use, making it not available.

What I like to do, when choosing a domain name, is pick out some good keywords related to your idea (whatever your website is about). Generally, the name of your website, brand or company is going to be the best choice. But, as I mentioned above, if your name is general terms, it may be taken already. That doesn’t mean you have to rebrand your site and change its name. You just have to be creative in choosing your URL.

Domain Registrars

There are a number of registrars out there where you can purchase your domain name and a few of them that I have used. GoDaddy.com, despite what you may have heard, is probably the easiest place to get started. They offer everything to get your website started, including domain names, hosting and email (if you are looking for the easiest all in one resource). I’ve used GoDaddy from the very beginning and their 24/7 Support is incredible, they helped me resolve an issue I created in the middle of the night on a Holiday (3am on Memorial Day).

The next registrar that I’ve started recently started using is NameCheap.com and they also offer hosting services as well. I’ve only used them to purchase domain names with and I’ve found cheaper options here compared to GoDaddy and I plan to use them more for purchasing my domains. They are definitely a site to check out, especially before you purchase your domain name else where just to see how much they charge opposed to the other registrar you found.

Last, but not least, I’ve used Register.com but I have never used their services. Their domain names are more expensive than the two previous companies I have mentioned. I’m only listing them because I’ve logged into a couple clients accounts to update DNS records and getting around to do that was pretty straight forward.

There are tons of other registrars to chose from, and there are plenty of articles online to help you choose. Just Google “Domain Registrars” and you will get an idea of registrars available as well as articles people have written about the best ones out there. I’ve only listed the few that I have experience with and I always keep my eyes open for others, just to see where to get the best price for what they provide.

Hosting Providers

If you’ve been searching the web for domain names and hosting, you may have found that a lot of registrars also offer hosting services as well. Hosting can make a night and day difference on how your website is served to your visitors depending on how they are configured for your site. A lot of these providers also offer deals when you bundle their services, like free domain name with a hosting package or so much off one or the other.

Since I started out using GoDaddy and most of my experience has been with them, I’m going to mention them first here. A recent client of mine, needed a website for their business and haven’t one previously. I gave them plenty of resources to shop around, but since it was so confusing and unfamiliar to them, they just wanted the easiest option so I set them up with GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Hosting. It came with a free domain name (which we had picked out previously, but hadn’t purchased it yet). This was by far the easiest way to setup a WordPress website and the server is setup specifically for these types of websites.

I’m still trying out new hosting companies so I can’t give you many more suggestions to go with, since I’m still testing to see how they work out. The companies that I have tried, include Rackspace.com, DreamHost.com and KnownHost.com where I have found strengths and weaknesses depending on the type of website in all of them…including GoDaddy. You will just need to try them out for yourself to really get a better idea if they are the right choice for you.

Common Concerns

One thing to keep in mind when choosing one of the many services, is that you are not locked in with them for the life of your site. You can transfer your domain name from one registrar to another if you feel like you need to or want to keep all your domains in one place. Also, you can do the same with your hosting service, if you feel like you’re are running into issues with your current provider that they can’t help you with.

Once you find a provider that works with you and your site is running smoothly, they are most likely going to be the company of your choice. Don’t let this lock you in or keep you from researching other options and vice versa. You might find that another provider offers cheaper services but they may lack in comparison to what you have been using. That is why I like to test the waters before I jump ship and I’ve even jumped back after trying a different/cheaper service because their Support wasn’t as helpful as what I was used too.

What’s Next?

This article covers the basic necessities to starting a website and I didn’t even get a chance to touch on Design. In my next article, I will go over those next options for designing your website now that you have the two things you will need in order to be visible on the web. Even though you have a domain name and hosting service setup for it, a website won’t magically appear for you to start making changes to. That is what I will cover next.

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