How to Make Your Own Website

How to Make Your Own Website

Basic Tutorial for Amateur and Novice Home Page Creation

People avoid making websites due to fear. It looks complicated; therefore, it must be, but It’s not difficult, and there’s a lot of satisfaction in DIY web design.

Websites represent people, companies, and institutions online. They’re a web presence for all sorts of things, and they’re not very hard to put together. There are several different building websites, everything from an expensive purchase of software (like Dreamweaver) to free “site builders” provided by web hosting services. This how-to will focus on the software found at those sites, site-builders, and Content Management Systems (CMS) like Joomla.

Shopping for and Choosing a Web Host

There are hundreds of web-hosting services online, and choosing a good one is as simple as spending a half-hour comparing prices. There is usually a monthly hosting charge, another to buy a domain, and sometimes an extra fee for SQL databases, which can be helpful if the site is for a business. Read reviews and check for those fees before paying. Some sites offer free domains, but then the hosting site often appends any new domain name with a bit of its own and often adds mandatory ads. Other sites offer free one-month service but then up the price to buy your new domain. It’s usually a trade-off.

If, two weeks after paying setup and domain fees, the hosting site charges (surprise) extra fees, switching hosting services is easy. Most people change once or twice until they find a web host they’re delighted with.

Starters for Building a New Site

After choosing the domain name and paying for hosting, the Control Panel is where the actual “building” begins. Every user or domain has its control panel, often called the Cpanel. It is where users can build pages, manage email (yes, anyone can be “[email protected]”), and do all sorts of other behind-the-scenes things for their website(s).

Most hosting services provide users with two or three accessible web-building programs. One is called “Sitebuilder”; others are Dolphin, SiteDeluxe, Web Site Creator, and Weebly Drag and Drop Builder. There are others. They tend to be step-by-step, simple website creation utilities for those just starting. Applying these tools is a great approach to make a home page or simple website, but for those who will frequently be updating the content on their pages, CMS software makes a little more sense.

Using Extra CMS or Content Management System Software

CMS software gives most web designers the ability to manage the information that appears on the website more easily. Instead of having to redesign the “front page constantly,” they can add “modules” or “blocks” to update the site. They can add new “articles,” which automatically rotate on the front page, usually by date. Under “Add Software” or after clicking on “Fantastico” in the control panel, users can add CMS software such as Joomla, Xoops, or Mambo. These web-based programs require no download, so users login to what’s called the “Back end” to manage and build the web page online, and every time they save new work, it uploads to the site live.

Each of these programs uses templates and extensions that can immediately add functionality (like login modules) or pizazz (like flash galleries). There are whole libraries of extensions to add any functionality to a website. Many are free, but for business sites looking for an incredibly professional look, commercial extensions are available.

Web Design Tips for Novices and Extra Sections in the CPanel

The CPanel has many other sections.

  • The file manager allows the upload of HTML files, pictures, and other files for the website.
  • The email section allows new email for any new “webmaster.”
  • Fantastico offers lots of extras. Try them out in new subdirectories before moving them to yourdomain.com.
  • WordPress is an extra application (often loaded through fantastico) that quickly creates a professional-looking blog.
  • Web Design can be a hobby or a career, but it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. $10/mo. Is probably more than enough.
  • Before trying the built-in site builder on the hosting site, give Joomla or Mambo a try. They’re very popular, straightforward to learn (lots of tutorials online), and very extendable. Even amateurs may find them more accessible than the built-in software.
  • Knowing HTML used to be mandatory to build web pages. Now, it’s not. HTML, CSS, XML, or any other design languages are no longer necessary to create a primary site.

The best part of web design today is the ease with which anyone can build. Professional websites no longer have to be contracted out, and no longer does it cost hundreds of dollars per month (and more) to keep your business’ website up-to-date. It’s hard not to notice how many CEOs keep daily blogs lately. With the simplicity that many of today’s software offers, even a CEO can log in to update one without his network administrator to help him.

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