It's easy to get overwhelmed with starting a new website. You snag a cool domain, get hosting set up and BOOM, now you have to actually get a website up on the web. If you've never created a webpage before perhaps paying for a designer to do it is a great option. But now, it's easier than ever to make your own website. In this article we'll go over some of the most popular and easiest options to make your very own website.
Utilizing a website template is a great way to get a snazzy website up in a flash. You can find tons of website templates available online from websites like Theme Forest and Template Monster (just Google 'website template'). Once you find a template that you like, you can download the template and edit it. After you edit the template using an HTML or text editor you can then upload the template through FTP to your account with us to publish your site.
There are a ton of different templates to match every style and look/feel, with the ability to customize them to better suit your needs. On the other hand, pre-made templates may require a lot of tweaking to get it to look and function the way you want it.
WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) Site Builders
A WYSIWYG Editor is a web authoring program that can create a website for you, similar to creating a document in Microsoft Word. While the de facto standard is Adobe's Dreamweaver, you don't need to pay hundreds of dollars to get started. There are free and open source alternatives available as well.
Using a site builder editor, like Wix, is an easy and inexpensive way to get started. You don't even need to know any HTML! Because you're learning a new software, though, it may take some time to get the hand of the advanced features and dashboard.
CMS (Content Management System)
Using a CMS for your website is a great option if you intend to constantly add content, or need advanced features. The major CMSes are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. The most popular option is definitely WordPress, and it can be installed through our Softaculous installer from within your control panel. WordPress is very simple to use, and there are TONS of free WordPress themes and plugins out there to build almost any type of website.
CMSes are highly customizable and easy to install and get up and running. It's simple to add content and update pages within a CMS, and they make it easier to keep everything organized on your site. Since a CMS is pre-built though, it may require editing the PHP, HTML or CSS code of your site if the out-of-the-box options don't work for your site.
From Scratch (HTML/CSS/PHP)
Creating a website from scratch used to be the only way to do it. Now we have tons of tools and scripts to help us. But if you're a do-it-yourself kind of person, this option might appeal to you. To get started on this path, W3Schools has some good tutorials and more information covering: HTML, CSS, and PHP.
HTML stands for hyper text markup language, and it's the code behind most websites. Your web browser reads this code and renders it into a document which becomes a viewable web page.
CSS or cascading style sheets, is a way to define the way the look and design of different elements on your website. It gives your site it's own unique style.
PHP or other server side scripting languages can add advanced functionality to your site like creating contact forms, and interacting with a database to store and retrieve information.
Creating your own website from code gives you complete control over the look and feel of your site, but it can have a steep learning curve for beginners aiming to get up-to-speed quickly.
Website Images, Banners and Logos
Many professionals use Adobe's Creative Suite (Illustrator and Photoshop) to create and edit various images for their website and branding. Photoshop is good for touching up photos, and creating banners and logos. Illustrator is a vector-based image creator that's really good for creating logos and other custom designs. There are free and very good alternatives to easily make images for your web site, such as GIMP.
To Sum It Up...
Most of our customers use WordPress for their websites. Once you install WordPress, you'll probably want to install a theme that you like, and add any plugins that you'll need to make your website snazzy, and you're good to go! It doesn't require any advanced knowledge, it's easy to install, and as you learn you can tweak it even further. With any method you choose for making a website, it's probably a good idea to learn a little HTML and CSS by reading tutorials online, although with WordPress it's not required. If you go this route with WordPress, then it's recommended to download the following software:
FTP Client like FileZilla or Cyberduck for uploading any images (free)
Image editors like GIMP (free) or the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.)