So You Want to Build a Website: The Least You Should Know
So you want to build a website. Where do you begin and what is the least you should know?
To answer these questions we first have to consider the scope and objective of the project being proposed. Website development technicalities can range from very simple to very complex. Once you have a clear understanding of your website’s objective then you need to consider what are the ‘must have’ features and the ‘nice to have’ features so that you can determine if you posses the skills to build the website yourself or whether you will need to hire a professional.
If you are new to website design and the website you’re proposing is simple enough in scope, you may be able build the website yourself via an online website application such as Wix.com or Website Tonight by GoDaddy.com. These types of online website authoring tools are typically very easy to use yet lack many advanced features that are often needed or soon to be desired. These types of online website authoring tools are geared toward the average computer user that has intermediate word processing skills. The editing features of online website authoring tools are purposely modeled after the look and feel of some of the most popular word processors on the market such as Microsoft Word. If you are familiar with formatting text, inserting images, and adding hyperlinks in a word processor you will find that the online website authoring tools are very similar in functionality. If you are planning a one page online announcement or very rudimentary 5 page informational website, an online website authoring tool may meet the immediate need and require no additional training to develop.
However, it has been my experience that most people desire or require a website to have much more robust features and functionality that often offer a more professional appearance and thus lending to the contents’ perceived credibility. In which case, hiring a professional web developer may be the best solution. Keep in mind that if you’re intending to launch a business, it is better to not have a website than to have one that looks dated with old technology. Your clients and potential customers make assumptions about the quality and credibility of your products and services based upon the first impressions from visiting your website. It is well worth the time, effort, and money spent to do it right the first time by hiring a professional if and when you need one.
Having said that and assuming you are indeed wanting to build a professional website while enlisting the help of a web development professional, the most important thing you can do to ensure success is proper planning of the mission objective and gathering of related content and images. A professional web developer will often have and provide you with a multi-page questionnaire that will assist both of you in gathering and organizing the content and media that will comprise the finished website. I cannot stress this enough that persistence in proper planning before beginning to design the site is of paramount importance to its overall success. It is typical, that most any website will have the core basics of a Home Page, About Us Page, Products & Services Page, Photo Gallery, Blog, FAQs, and Contact Us Page. Planning out on paper the content, images, utility and purpose of each page will make the development cycle go smoothly.
Lastly, if you use an online website authoring tool as mentioned previously, you can expect that the vendor of that service will also have and offer the ability to host that site for free or at an additional cost. However, it is much more common when building a professional website that you will need to find a website hosting provider and someone to maintain the website as the need for content updates arise.
For more detailed information on selecting a web hosting provider, reference the following resource articles :
- How to Choose a Web Host by Christopher Heng -
- How to Choose a Web Host –
- Choose a Web Host Before You Choose a Web Hosting Service by Jennifer Kyrnin –