e-Book by an experienced webmaster who has learnt it the hard way - you don't have to!
Last Updated - 13-Aug-2017
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How To Create Website eBook
This e-book is meant primarily for those who are new to the world of online business and websites. The idea is to show basic, step-by-step instructions to someone who wants to create his/her own website(s). There are many ways you can create your online presence but this book is to show you how to create your own website with your own domain name using a specific approach that is proven and safe for a novice.
This is for those who want to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. It is for those who want to learn the basics of creating an online presence. The main intention is to explain not only "what" needs to be done but also "why" it needs to be done. As mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of ways of creating a website. One of those ways are shown here but also explain the basic concepts so that you can empower yourself with the basic knowledge and then improve upon it slowly.
This book is not really for the experienced webmasters. If you have built websites before, you will not find anything new in this book. Of course, you can still read it to find out if you are doing it the right way.
The book is mostly intended to act as a guide and basic theory course on creating websites. It can also be used to create your first website as it explains with screenshots exactly what needs to be done.
Before you proceed, please prepare yourself for a journey that can become little confusing at times. Do not give up. Stick to the task, read the sections again if you don't understand. I am sure you will achieve your goal in the end. Knowledge is power and don't give up easily - not without trying the best you can.
Before you can think of your own website, it is important to understand what is it really made of. What is a "website"? To understand what is a website, you need to understand what are the basic components. The basic components of a website are -
1 - Domain
2 - Hosting
3 - Content
4 - Visitors
Let us look at it one-by-one.
A domain name is your address on the world-wide web. Something like - www.google.com or www.yahoo.com. You first need to identify and lock in an address for yourself on the Internet called as your domain name. This is the very basic requirement. Without your own address, you cannot really create your own website. There are services out there that provide a sub-domain which is nothing but a small space under their existing domain name. However, this is not exactly your own unique domain. You are just sharing with someone else. Let us not worry about that at this stage. Let us concentrate on your own domain name as that is the right way to go.
Hosting account is nothing but a small space on some big computer that is constantly connected to the Internet. Such a computer is also called as server. In other words, you pay someone a small monthly fee and in return they allocate an appropriate amount of disk space to you for hosting your files on their server. There are companies out there that provide this space for free also. However, after years of experience in this field, I can tell you that going for cheap and free service providers is always risky. Maybe you can try it while you are learning but for your final website, always go for a reliable, established provider even if it means you must pay some small monthly fee for their services. Free hosts are here today and gone tomorrow. Believe me, it is not worth the headache. We will learn more about hosting in the following sections.
Now the remaining component is web content. Very important. You can have web content in any format. Most simple and common format is basic HTML pages. Don't get alarmed, we will discuss in more details on how to create your web content using some of the basic tools. This will not require knowledge of complicated web programming. The thing to note at this point is that your web content is the information that shows in the browser window when someone types in your website address. This includes your web pages, images, videos, etc. Everything that shows up in your Internet browser is called as web content.
This is also called as "Traffic" or "Hits." This is the last but the most important component of a successful online business. Imagine a very well setup website but no one is coming to see it? What will happen? The entire effort of creating the website is of no use! Without active visitors, there is no meaning to any website.
Note that this e-book is for educating you on how to create your first website. Generating visitors and hits is not really in scope of this ebook. I am not going to spend much time talking about this aspect.
Now that you know what are the basic components, let us spend some time on what you really plan to do with your new website. What is that you are planning to do with this website? Very simple but very basic question that must be answered before you can begin. This is the foundation of your online presence. If you have not decided yet, take some time and decide in your mind what you wish to do with your website. It is better to take a piece of paper and pencil and write down the ideas that you have in mind. Remember that your website is as good as your basic idea behind creating it.
As you have seen, any website is made up of 4 basic things - 1 - Domain, 2 - Hosting, 3 - Content and 4 - Visitors. Out of these four, first two must come from service providers called as "Domain Registrar" and "Hosting Provider" respectively. In other words, a domain is given to you by a domain registrar and hosting account is given to you by a hosting provider. In 99% of the time one single company provides both these things. I am referring to this provider of domain and hosting as a "Service Provider."
Your success really depends on selecting the right service provider. There are many good and honest service providers out there but the bad part is there are even bigger number of frauds and scams. So it is absolutely critical to work with a trust-worthy partner for your domain, hosting and overall online presence. Choose the wrong one and you will be in trouble in no time.
As a new-comer, you may not realize but there are many risks involved in choosing the wrong service provider for your domain and hosting. I am talking from my own experience. Here are some of the risks:
1. A cheap or free hosting provider may be in business today and gone tomorrow. This leaves your site inaccessible and you may also loose content of your site - your web pages, your images, your data.
2. A cheap domain provider may run away with your domain and sell it behind your back for good money - this happens especially if your domain has gained a good value in the market. You may not know this but popular domains can be sold for thousands of dollars in the market. Once a domain is lost, it is extremely difficult to get it back.
3. A low-grade service provider may sell your credit card and other sensitive information for profit.
4. Your information and sensitive data may be at stake.
5. Most of the low-end service providers cannot afford state-of-the-art security features. They do not provide top line backup and restoration services. This can put you at risk of spamming and fraud complaints because hackers can easily gain access of your account in this case. Once I had my hosting account hacked and the hackers sent literally thousands of unsolicited messages to my site's members exposing me to legal spamming threats and what not. I had to pay my way out of it.
6. A low-end hosting provider may have low-end infrastructure in place leading to frequent outages of your site and even data-loss. If you have a busy and active site, you will loose potential customers every hour your site is down.
7. A cheap provider may not afford good support staff and expert technicians. Obviously, the moment you need their support and help, they may not be able to deliver leading to frustration and sometimes financial loss or loss of credibility.
The service provider I would like to recommend is Wix.com why? Simply because it is a trusted partner by millions online today. If millions trust them, they must be doing something right. Also, I have used them and have no complaints. One more reason I am recommending this provider is that they have simply the best site builder PERIOD! In one of the sections above, I explained the key components of a website. One of them is content. Unless you are a seasoned web programmer, creating content and building apps for your website is not that easy. For a beginner, it is a daunting task. This is where Wix makes it very easy. From a simple blog to a complex ecommerce store, they have a fantastic drag-and-drop editor that will help even a school kid build a professional website in quick time (trust me my 9-year-old daughter built her first website using Wix!).
Whether you use this service provider or any other, it is up to you. I strongly recommend that you do a very good research before choosing the service provider. You do not want to give your site to anyone who is not qualified to host it for you.
Note that for the simplicity and ease of understanding, rest of the book explains the process of creating a website using Wix.com as reference. If you decide to use another service provider, you must understand the concept given here and then find the related steps at your service provider's site.
Now that you know the basic concepts, lets do a quick step-by-step walk-through of creating a very simple website using Wix.com.
Go to Wix.com and you should see a scree similar to the one below (actual image shown may differ but you should see a welcome screen and some button/long to start creating your website.
Once you click on the start button, you will be presented with the sign up screen as follows. Enter the requested information and click sign up.
You will be asked to choose the basic type of your website. We discussed earlier about the purpose of your website. As long as you have a clear idea of what that is going to be, you should be able to pick the right kind of website on the screen below. For the sake of this ebook, I have picked blog type and rest of the steps explained below are for the blog type of website.
On the next screen, they will ask you to pick the preferred way of building the site content. Following sections are built using the Wix Editor choice as shown below. I have not tried the other option so not sure how that works or compares to the editor. I can tell you that the editor is simply awesome.
Since, I chose blog type website in the step above, I am presented with the available templates. Depending on which type you chose, you will be presented with the set of available templates. You need to select the right template.
Once you know which template you want to use, click on Edit option and start building the website as shown below.
First, you will be shown a video. Take some time and watch through it. It is very helpful.
Once you finish the video, you will get back to the actual content creation part. Below, you will see couple of example on how to update text elements. However, it is very extensive site builder with many options and features. This is where you need to be patient and go through as many features as you can familiarize yourself with this site builder.
Another example of editing a text element is shown below:
Once you have built the first basic draft of your site (please do not rush take your time and create a good first draft), you can click on the Save option as shown in the image below.
If you are building a new site, I strongly suggest that you park it on a sub-domain first. See below, how to do this. You can always change to your own domain at a later point.
Once you save is successful, you should get a success message as follows.
Once you are ready with the first draft and ready to show your website to the world, click Publish.
Once successfully published, you have your first website! You did it!
What you just did was created content and Wix gives you hosting by default. So two of the four key components are taken care hosting and content. Only thing left is domain. To do this, you need to go to the site menu and click on the connect domain option.
You will be presented with the option to choose a new domain or use an existing one. Assuming that this is your first website, you will select Get a new domain option as shown below.
At this point, you will be asked to choose the premium plan. You should see options as follows:
Make sure you select the option that has a domain name included.
I am not going to describe the steps beyond this point as they will be straight forward and easy to follow.
I wish you the very BEST in your journey from here! To your success!
Thank you for reading!