A series of helpful guides to help you build your web site.
Register a domain name
Having a domain name is one of the first things you should do. They are excellent value starting at around £2.99 a year, they allow you to register a name on the internet that will last forever. You can use them as email addresses before and after you have a website. You can transfer them from host to host, and many other things.
Most importantly, they look more professional.
- Go to a reputable domain name register such as 123-reg, UKreg or Go Daddy
- Search for your preferred domain name and choose a TLD (top level domain: the suffix, eg .com, .co.uk)
- Choose the number of years to register the name (UK names are fixed at two years, others are multiples of 1 year)
- Fill in the registration details and complete the checkout process.
Things to note:
- You don’t have to use your exact business name
- If someone else registers it for you, make sure it is in your name
- Be aware unscrupulous companies will try to get you to transfer your domain to them
- Be careful of any extras, you may not need them
- A reputable web services agency will register them on your behalf
Choosing a webhosting package
The web hosting marketplace is filled with technical jargon. Apache, IIS, mySQL. It’s confusing for a newcomer to make sense of it all.
The main choices are between types of server architecture: shared, virtual and dedicated, and then there are the platforms Windows and Linux.
- Shared, suitable for low traffic websites where performance is not a primary issue.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) Suitable for websites and applications where performance is important
- Dedicated, suitable for large websites and applications which are mission-critical
If you are building your own website and have limited technical knowledge, a shared server is the most suitable solution. The operating system you choose will depend on your needs. Both will run basic websites well, but Linux webservers are generally cheaper so are normally the best option.
Build a site
Building your own website can be daunting and if you are new to it, you are likely to run into problems. Cheap software for building sites usually leads to disappointment as they do little to support best practice. If you are building a site for business, then a professional web design agency is a must. If you are building a personal site, then there’s nothing to stop the brave from having a go.
Set up a blog
Setting up a blog is easy. There are many tools you can use to start a blog: Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, etc. WordPress is the most popular due to its flexibility. But there are two flavours: hosted and self-hosted. Which is the right one for you?
- WordPress.com – This is the hosted option. It’s totally free of charge, you don’t have to download any software or set up any servers. However, themes and customisations are limited and it doesn’t allow you to install plugins. If you just want a blog for a platform to write and don’t care about customising it, this option is fine.
- WordPress.org. This is downloadable software. You’ll need to pay a webhost or have your our own webserver to install it on. However, you’ll have unlimited opportunities to customise or build themes, as well as choose from thousands of plugins. You can edit the CSS and raw code to make your site individual. If you want to use WordPress to build a website or customise your blog, this is the option for you.
Submitting to search engines and directories
Once your site is built, you’ll want to submit it to search engines. Don’t be tempted to use a program or service that promises to submit to ‘thousands’ of search engines. At Canary Dwarf, we only submit to three: Google, Yahoo and Dmoz
Each site has its own ‘Add URL’ page and its best to individually add your site to each once it is ready.