How TO make a Website

A WEBSITE
INTRODUCTION

Overview

A website is a collection of web pages and related content that is identified by a common domain name and published at least on one server. It may serve different purposes; it may be personal, corporation based, government or organisational. Some are subscriber based in order to access content.

Getting online is easier than could ever be. There are over 200 million websites active on the internet and they increase by the second. Anyone could make a website regardless of the technical skill plus having one is an added advantage. It may seem like a daunting task but there are tools to make work easier and through this article we will go through the process step-by-step. 

There are two major ways to make a website: with a website builder or with WordPress. Web builders(Wix, Squarespace and Weebly) are the best way to introduce tech novices to get online with some YouTube tutorials on the side.

We’ll be going through the website building for both approaches here. You’ll be surprised by how simple it is, especially when using a website builder. An hour’s time will be enough if you follow the guidelines provided below.

Option 1: Use a Website Builder

*It can be wise if you draw a layout of the website design(mockup) before we start creating a website:

Building a Website in 9 Steps

  1. Choose the right builder for your needs.
  2. Select and sign up for a plan that suits your needs and budget.
  3. Pick and choose a unique and relevant domain name.
  4. Choose a template you like.
  5. Customize your template of choice.
  6. Format and upload your content.
  7. Choose and download apps.
  8. Preview and test your website.
  9. Publish your website on the internet.

1. Choose the Right Website Builder for You

Web builders are super popular nowadays but you need to decide on which one that matches your need or style or goal you want to achieve. 

A large percentage of people use web builders to make websites. Shopify has over 1 million subscribers, while Wix recently passed over 100 million subscribers.

HTML is the standard markup language for creating websites and CSS(Cascading Style Sheets) is the language that describes the style of an HTML(Hypertext Markup Language) document. One combines the two to create a basic web page. Web builders take care of that so we could focus on the design.

There two ways of going about this:

  • Templates
  • Drag and drop interfaces

Which makes building one less like a PowerPoint presentation. Hence different builders serve different needs, choosing the right one is essential to making a website you’ll be happy with.

2. Which website builder should you choose?

To make your website-building experience enjoyable you definitely will need a builder that’s inexpensive and convenient as compared to hiring developers.

A list of the best website builders.

1.Squarespace

It is one of the best drag and drops website builders and it has affordable pricing plans according to your needs. One factor that makes it stand out is its responsiveness across various devices. It has some impressive built-in features like social media integration, dropbox synchronization, Adobe Image Editor, and much more.

Unfortunately, to get the best out of it you need coding knowledge as it’s not beginner-friendly. There is no option to install your own plugins and the e-commerce option lacks a wide range of payment options.

2. Shopify

If your website is primarily to sell products whether digital or physical I would highly recommend Shopify. It offers several templates responsive on all devices including phablets and tablets. The drag and drop editor is easy to use and it provides a live preview as you develop the website.

Features that you would consider helpful include online transactions in over 100 external payment pathways like Skrill. Security features include secure storage of Data and SSL encryption of transaction pathways. It’s targeted towards e-commerce sites.

3. Wix

Wix is a master of website development software that is on the rise due to its user-friendliness that caters to both the developer and newbies.

It includes Artificial Design Intelligence to create websites using an industry-specific design template or you may opt for the Wix drag and drop editor. Add video backgrounds, art, pictures, vectors, and scroll effects you desire.

Wix and  Weebly are two of the most popular builders on the market, with their drag and drop features making web design feel like child’s play. Squarespace is a dream for creatives, while Site123 is perfect for small websites and has brilliant live chat support.

To be clear, the list above isn’t the only one worth your consideration. Due to our in-house research, they perform exceptionally well, considering your needs would be the best option to help you decide. For blogging purposes, WordPress would be ideal as is Shopify to eCommerce. Once you have narrowed it down to one or two you can start testing. I would recommend checking the Youtube tutorial on the builder to get a deeper understanding before you decide to proceed with building a website.

Test your website builder

*Top tip! As most builders offer freemium packages, take the offer and have a spin before you spring to the paid version.

2. Select and sign up for a plan that suits your needs and budget.

The advantage of builders over web developers is it can cost between $300 and $1000 for template customization alone, and if it’s from scratch the charges are in the thousands. Making our own website using a builder is faster and convenient for your needs.

Can you make a website for free?

It’s possible to do so but there are catches. Freemium accounts hold back crucial features. You can’t use custom domains, increased advertisement from the builder hence if you want a feature-rich and professionally done website you have to cough some dollars monthly.

3. Pick and choose a unique and relevant domain name.

A domain name is the bit of the URL that identifies a web page.- in this case your website. For instance, our is sokojiji.co.ke. You can register them separately at sites like Truehost.com.

A domain name is one of the ways a site presents itself to the internet, so make it count;

Some important pointers to consider when choosing a domain name.

  • Relevance. Try to match what visitors see when they visit your site.
  • Memorability. People should remember your site for returning users or customers.
  • Avoid numbers. This is due to preferences as numbers are not considered professional but you can get creative.
  • Hope it’s not taken.

Once you’re satisfied with your domain name of choice go ahead and register it as part of the signup process.

4.Choose a template you like.

Rather than an empty canvas, you are provided with a template, to begin with. You’ll have an extensive selection of design templates in relation to the plan purchased and you will definitely find one that suits your needs.

Some examples of categories you expect to find  when starting your own site:

  • Blogs
  • Portfolios
  • Online Stores
  • Book Stores
  • Eateries

Choose different templates, browse them, see if they fit. Dive in and find one that feels right for what you want to achieve.

5. Customize your template of choice

Let’s get to work, as visited earlier the framework is ready as this is a service offered to a huge number of subscribers it’s very likely to find some with the same framework as yours then comes the need to own the design /framework.

Building a website is science and art as you have to borrow some principles from both fields to achieve an aesthetically pleasing website. Well, it’s up to stir up the template to your liking.

Here is what to consider when customizing the template

  • Editing the images for your website.
  • A color palette to bring the site to life.
  • Social Media Integration
  • Homepage gallery
  • Menus and Contact list
  • Change size, and fonts of buttons 

This should be a walk through so don’t get intimidated though your site might not look like what you had thought it’s expected as you familiarize yourself with the new ecosystem.

If you still find this not up to par with your expectations you can consider option 2 that will be covered a little later on.

6. Format and upload your content.

When you’re done playing around with the colors and layout of your website, time to add meat to the skeleton/framework which means content in the form of text, images, and videos.

Images require picking to do to prevent blurry images and bulky ones as they affect the quality and speed of the website respectively. 

Pro tip! Unsplash and Pixabay have collections of free images with recognition to the uploader for use if the website builder’s image bank runs empty.

7. Choose and download apps.

Whatever you need your site to do, you can guarantee there’s an app for that purpose. Head to the various App stores for your builder.

Wix has over 300 apps in its App Market. Search for what you want, then hover over the app you’ve chosen and click ‘Add+’ add apps with Wix.

8. Preview and test your website

Having put in the work, you might be itching to publish and get your website live. Slow down there. Making a website is one part and publishing your website blindly is another.

It’s advisable to always preview changes before publishing them. 

Areas to lay emphasis include the following:

  • Grammar correctness
  • Button functionality
  • Does the site fulfill a purpose
  • Is it responsive on various devices especially mobile?

*More than half of Google searches are carried out on mobile, and this is only increasing. A seamless mobile experience is a must for a successful site.

  • How long does it take to load?

Unfinished products are unpleasant so are websites. Keep polishing till it’s done.

*ProTip! Feedback is Food for champions, it’s of paramount importance for you to ensure you get a different perspective on the site as you may be blind to the faults as you are no stranger to it.

9. Publish your website on the internet.

At this point, you are set to go. Before we hit that Publish button confirm everything is working correctly, all done? Press ‘Publish!’ Now get the word out. You can still customize as you wish and as demanded when your website grows in users. Your site is now live for the world to see.

Option 2: Use  WordPress

How to create a Website with WordPress in 8 Steps:

  1. Decide on WordPress
  2. Purchase the right hosting plan(We recommend …).
  3. Pick and register a unique domain name
  4. Install your WordPress site with one click
  5. Select a theme for your site’s design
  6. Create and style your content and pages
  7. Decide on useful plugins to install
  8. Checks then publish

1. Decide on WordPress

Almost a third of all websites are built on WordPress, the most popular. It’s an essential service when it comes to the internet. But it also requires more setup work and maintenance than the majority of web builders do. You need to understand what you are signing up for.

WordPress is not a one-size-fits-all. It’s a CMS(Content Management System). A CMS allows you to organize digital content. Hosting and domain registration are carried out elsewhere. It’s not the easiest way of creating a website but it’s still not as complex as it seems it is worth it.

2. Purchase the right hosting plan(We recommend …).

The first hurdle to overcome when it comes to setting up a website using WordPress you need hosting to store the website files.

 Selecting a provider

  • A2 Hosting is best suited for customer service.
  • Bluehost has the overall best features.
  • DreamHost handles well when it comes to storage space.
  • GreenGeeks is for green hosting.
  • Hostinger is when you want to store multiple sites.
  • HostGator has the best Uptime.

Select a plan

It’s suggested, to begin with, the cheapest option that caters to most of your needs.

3. Choose and Register a Domain Name

Domain Name is a virtual address of your website. sokojiji.co.ke is our domain. That’s where you found us. Be cautious when setting up a domain for your site. Some plans may allow you to choose a free domain as part of the sign-up process for one year. Once you have completed registration you’ll be given an account that now remains is attaching your WordPress site to the domain.

4.How much does a domain cost?

The fee for a domain varies for a number of reasons as the market sets the value. Fb.com bought by Facebook in 2010 went for a whopping $8.5 million, while the 2005 purchase of lasvegas.com amounted to a cool $90million.

  • Relevance Is Key.
  • Sweet and short.
  • Numbers Naah!
  • Uniqueness.

After registration it’s required you renew, otherwise, it will be put back for auction on the internet.

5. Install your WordPress site with one click

Most web hosting providers offer a similar experience, simply click ‘Create site’.

6. Select a Theme for your Site’s Design

Web builders use templates and WordPress has themes. The theme determines how a site looks. They range based on purpose and price and they can be changed often. For more exclusivity with your site, a paid is the preferred method as opposed to a free theme for your site but if it’s testing the waters then this is the best option. You may be required to pay a one-off fee or subscription in exchange for support, maintenance, and updates.

Once you’re done with a selection of the theme you’ll find a WordPress Dashboard which acts as a control center for your website.

To add a new theme to your WordPress site you go to, ‘Appearance’ and then ‘Themes’. Click the option to ‘Add New’ to the right, and should proceed to the WordPress Theme Directory to browse a new theme.

Some technical skill is required when dealing with WordPress but since it’s been around most of the challenges you may encounter may have already been encountered and solved you just need to do a simple Google/Bing search to resolve the issue and carry one with the process at hand. You may be required to make changes to the actual code in WordPress to achieve the desired result but this should not be an obstacle. WordPress offers more control over other webpage builders.

7. Create and Style your Content and Pages

Since WordPress is a CMS hence including content is more structured than most Website Builders, it’s broken down into two types namely Posts and Pages and they are theme exclusive.

A few clicks and you have Posts and Pages running on WordPress. Both ‘Add New’ options will direct you to the editor, where you can add various content, preview, and publish.

Adding pages to your menus you should click on ‘Appearance’ and ‘Menus’. Then you can select what pages appear on the Main Menu.

8. Decide on useful Plugins to install

Plugins are basically bits of software that can be included on a WordPress site to improve the functionality of the site although the default feature offers enough to make a functional website you may require special needs to be fulfilled by other bits of software(Plugins).

Installing plugins is a plug-and-play process from the tens of thousands in the WordPress plugin directory. Browse the directory for the required plugins and install by simply pressing ‘Install Now. 

Plugins to consider when starting

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Web Stories
  • Social Media Share

You manage your plugins from the Plugins tab on the WordPress dashboard.

9. Checks then publish

Carry out some tests on your site to check whether it’s functional and try and simulate various devices. The process of maintaining a website is a challenging but rewarding process as you expose yourself to a lot of fields in the process. Congrats you’ve made it, hit the button, and launch your site. One more thing you need to remember is to maintain it, regularly check on the health of your site and keep improving it never fully finished.

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