Step By Step Guide on How To Build A Blog/WebsiteJanuary 21st, 2009 by James | This article was viewed 25,657 times.
Over the pass few weeks, I have received a number of requests asking me how to build a website. So here it is, a step by step guide that will guide you from zero to having your own working website. Keep in mind that you don’t need to be a programming freak to own and maintain a blog/website.
What You Need
Here are a few things that you need to build a blog/website.
- A Domain Name
A name that distinguishes your website from other websites. eg. ahwee.com
- A Hosting Provider
Without a hosting provider, your website wouldn’t display any contents. Imagine a human with a name but without a physical body.
- Content Management System (CMS)
Before the dawn of CMS, you would create a file for every page in your website. With a CMS, pages are automatically generated by PHP scripts, thus lowering the number of files.
- FTP Client
FTP client helps you to transfer your files to your webhost.
- HTML, CSS, PHP and basic programming logic
Above are 3 main languages that serve as vitamins and minerals of a webpage. HTML and CSS is a must to learn, but understanding basic PHP would make your life easier.
I’ve been creating my website since I was 13 years old, they kept failing and the only thing that is pushing me is my dream. Lack of that and you wouldn’t go far.
- Things to share
The most important thing out of the bunch, the things you would share online. Usually people would stick to their niche when creating their website.
- About 50 usd a year
Registering for your Domain Name and Web Hosting Service isn’t free. But it’s not too expensive also if you are just starting out.
In this page, I would only talk about how you can acquire all these 8 requirements. If you have already got them all figured out, you can scroll down to move to the Next Page.
How to figure out a good Domain Name?
Most new webmasters find it difficult to choose a proper name for their website. Usually they would ponder upon questions like “would the name fit?”, “is it good?”, “is it easy to remember?”, “is it SEO friendly?” and so on.
With so many years of experience and some consultation before, I’ve learnt that the best domain name is a domain name that has no meaning. Just take a peek at all the big companies like Dell, Google, Yahoo … got the point already?
However, niche domain names are as equally good as well, provided that they are short enough.
The idea is to get niche* domain names if possible, but if you’re unable to find one, choose a name that’s meaningless and easy to remember. Bear in mind that the name of your website doesn’t matter, it’s the articles and things you present to your readers that’s going to make your website popular.
There’s also this discussion before, dot com(.com) domains or dot net(.net) domains? Com stands for company, and Net stands for Network. Of course, the traditional .com domain would be the best, but .net and .org (Organization) is fine as well. As long as they are not new. I would recommend .com, .net or .org only though.
Tips: Always check with any registrar to see if your domain is available for sale.
Niche* : Usually a topic where your blog/website would only focus on
How to find a Registrar
Registrar is a company that helps you to register a domain name. One thing you should know when buying a domain name is you are not actually buying the domain name, you are buying the license to own the domain name for a specified period (usually a year or two) of time. So it is wise to renew your domain name (or auto renew) when your domain name reaches its expiry date.
Unlike hosting provider, you don’t need to be as fussy when it comes to buying a domain name. All you need to do is make sure the company is legit and their website load at a decent speed, then you’re good to go. Usually a .com domain name costs about 9 to 10 USD.
I’ve only experienced registering my domain names in GoDaddy and Dynadot. So I would only comment about these two.
GoDaddy.com is extremely popular but as half their website contains advertisements that slows down the loading time. I did not pay 9 bucks to view their advertisements.
Dynadot.com is my alternative choice after a disastrous experience at GoDaddy. Dynadot is easy to use, fast and simple. They have a forum too if you would like to rant about something.
If you have other registrars in mind, you would also like to do a simple search in Google.com to see if the registrar is good or not. eg. Do a search like “Dynadot.com sucks” in google. Avoid those registrars which have many complaints filed over the internet.
How to find a Hosting Provider
Here’s a warning before you read any further, do not purchase your domain name and your hosting package from the same company. I repeat, DO NOT purchase your domain name and your hosting package from the SAME company. Shit happens and before you realize it, the company might be threatening your domain name to make sure that you stay on their lousy hosting package.
If you have already understood the simple rule above, let’s move on. There are a few things you need to look for when choosing a hosting provider.
- Package Size
This is the first thing most buyers will look for. Usually 500 MB is more than enough for a new website, but as time moves on you’ll need bigger spaces. Not very important but worth a look. Don’t be fooled by some of the package size offered. Big doesn’t mean it’s good, also read the terms and conditions of the usage of the package size. Start small, upgrade your hosting plan as you grow.
- Package Monthly Bandwidth
Important. This tells you the maximum transfer rate of your website per month. 10 GB for a new website is a good start.
- Database Size Limitation
Do check with the hosting provider to see if they limit your database size or not. I’ve stumbled across some hosting providers which limit the database size to as small as 50 MB. Don’t go near those because other providers would combine database size with the package size, which is a better option to take. Important!
Like the name suggests, you want a reliable hosting provider that would be up most of the time with very little downtime (or better, zero downtime). Very Important!
- Customer Service
Very straight forward, fast response and fantastic solutions from the staff is the way to go. Very Important!
- Online Reviews
Also check out online hosting reviews on the hosting providers of your choice. Those reviews would give you insights on the hosting provider you checked. Be careful of some biased reviews on the internet as well.
My experience with ServerFreak Hosting
I had a problem with the connection from Australia to Malaysia (where ahwee.com was hosted before), I asked for a solution from one of the staff through MSN. He offered a solution and transferred my account to the US server. In less than an hour, my website is up and my FTP connection is smoother. I didn’t even expect it to answer my emails and msn chats so quickly!
I would personally rate this hosting provider 5 stars and recommend people ServerFreak whenever they talked about which hosting provider to use. Look at the uptime tab at the bottom of the website. It’s 100%.
Which Content Management System (CMS) Should I Use?
There are many options of CMS you can choose to build your website, the popular ones are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
From what I’ve observed so far, WordPress is for learning webmasters and the flexibility offered is moderate (but enough).
Joomla and Drupal are for advanced webmasters where flexibility is abundant, thus more web programming knowledge is required to use Joomla and Drupal.
If you’re too new to these web programming languages, you might want to try blogspot.com and wordpress.com (not wordpress.org). But I wouldn’t recommend anybody to use blogspot.com and wordpress.com because it’s not flexible enough and you’re not going to learn anything extra. But if you insist on using them, my vote would be to use wordpress.com.
However, in this guide, I will be using WordPress because it is the best CMS for new webmasters.
NOTE: WordPress and WordPress.com are 2 different things. WordPress.com is pre-installed but you’ll have you install WordPress yourself.
Which FTP Client Should I Use?
I’ve only tried FileZilla and FlashFXP before. In my personal opinion, FlashFXP is a better FTP client, if you have the money, buy FlashFXP. If you don’t think it’s worth the money (and your trial version had expired), try FileZilla.
Where do I learn Web Programming Languages?
Usually I would search in Google to learn how to use some commands or functions of a language. For starters, W3schools is the first place to visit. They have practical examples which are perfect for our learning methods.
Other than that, you could also find some webmaster mentors to guide you as you bump onto the wall.
In the end everything boils down to your determination to program. Web programming is all about debugging and finding solutions. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re stuck for a week only to write a simple script, because I’ve done that before.
Passion and Dream? What?
Most people have no idea why they create a blog or a website for. Some think that they have to own a website to follow the trend, some would like to own one to rant about their life and got fired by their boss, and some would follow their friends because they think it’s cool to own a website.
I personally don’t give a damn what kind of reasons you decided to make a website, all I know is if you don’t have Passion and Dream, you’ll fail in almost anything you do.
What Would I Share Online?
Usually, a website has a niche of topics the author would focus on writing about. The idea of niche topic is to write only related topics so readers will know what that particular website is all about.
You can have your niche topics as well! Think, what’s your expertise? Do you have things you could share about sports? Are you a successful business person who would like to share business methods? Or are you an all rounder like me, who owns a website to share almost anything.
Anything you share is good, as long as they make sense and worth reading. Bear in mind that everybody is seeking knowledge, especially from the World Wide Web. So, make an effort to share knowledge to your readers.
That’s a lot of reading … But You’re Not There Yet
Now that you’ve had all the things planned out, it’s time to start building your website like I promised you in the first paragraph.
Before you move on any further, I must, however warn you that maintaining your website is no easy matter. If you don’t have the passion or dream to own a blog/website, you might end up wasting your money, effort and time. Also, don’t worry about the layout, worry about the quality of the articles you’re going to write.
If you’re still determined to continue, great! Take a tea break and get refreshed for Page 2 of Step By Step Guide on How To Build A Blog/Website.
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