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How to Build a Website

Today it seems as if everyone is online. If it's not your best friend starting a blog, it is your business competition launching a new e-commerce site. Learning how to build a website is the first step towards creating an effective online presence, and it is not as difficult as you might think.

How to Build a Website: step 1 Pick Your Domain Name

Before you can actually begin building your site, you need to know what it is going to be called, so you need to register your domain name. This is fairly affordable and simple to do. As you consider your domain name, make it simple to spell, easy to remember. You want your potential visitors to be able to easily remember how to get to your site. If the name you want is in use, you have to choose another one.

Choose a Web Hosting Service

You also need a website hosting service. This is a service you hire to take the pages you created, store them on their computer, and keep them on the World Wide Web. Choose a host that is willing to help you as you learn the process of creating and maintaining a website.

More information on what is web hosting

what is web hosting? Web hosting is the term for keeping your website and all the files and pages associated with your website on a computer that makes your website accessible to the entire world through the World Wide Web (www for short).  There are many forms of web hosting. For a good article on the comparison of web hosting services be sure to read our web hosting comparison.

So what is website hosting on a more technical level? Web hosting can be as simple and affordable as hosting your website on a shared host where you pay a very small monthly amount or as complicated in depth and hands on as hosting your website on an dedicated server using a dedicated hosting service. For a large website you could even colocate your server equipment at a colocation provider, giving you even more self control over virtually all aspects of your website including what major Internet connections your site will connect to.

Planning a website (planning stage)

You have probably visited websites before that had no layout or design to them. They looked like a hodgepodge of text and graphics all thrown together on a website. This is not what you want. To build a website that will bring results, you need a plan. Create a flow chart of your various pages, and design a basic layout with text, images, and headings. Try to keep this uniform throughout the website, so that your visitors enjoy a pulled-together design. 

As you plan your site, keep some tips in mind. First, make each page smaller than 60k. Not all visitors will have strong Internet connections, and you do not want the site to take too long to load. Also, keep your paragraphs small. Internet users have short attention spans, so they will not spend time reading long, detailed paragraphs. Use bullet lists to break up long chunks of text. 

Always give your users a "home" button on every page of the site. This will take them back to your first page whenever they wish. Put your contact information on every page, or make a "contact us" link visible on every page. Finally, make sure that links on your pages are clearly defined, either by underlining them or using a contrasting font color.

The First Page of your website

Building your first web page is really the start of building your site. You can use a web site design template if you want, but this gives you very little control over the site. Also, your website ends up looking like many others out there, because others will use similar templates for their sites. 

Another option is to use an HTML editor. The editor allows you to create your own design in a program similar to a word processing program or slideshow presentation program. When you have the design as you want it, the software creates the website coding for you. 

The third option, which is the option that gives you the most flexibility, is to learn HTML and create your website from scratch. HTML is the coding read by web browsers. It is not hard to learn, but does take a little bit of practice to perfect. It starts with tags, which are words or letters placed between brackets. For example, if you wanted to bold a word, you would place <b> at the beginning of the word, and </b> at the end, like this: 

The words "bold this text" would display as a bold font on the website. To learn HTML, find a chart that has all of the HTML tags listed, and practice using them on a free blog.  

Some of the basic things you will need on your first page are a title and some text. Your title is coded as follows: 

As you add text, you will break it into paragraphs using HTML. This looks like: 

You can also add headings in one of six sizes, with 1 being the largest. This looks like: 

CSS is an extension to HTML that allows you to further customize your website. CSS allows you to create a "style" to apply to your website. For instance, if you want to set your font to a specific size and style, you could create a CSS style to insert into your HTML. This way, you do not have to add the HTML coding for the font type and size every time you add a heading or make a new paragraph.  

CSS basically allows you to create a site using fewer HTML tags, without sacrificing quality. To learn CSS, find several CSS tutorials online and study them. Then, practice the coding you have learned before applying it to your site.  

As you build a website, you will build each web page separately, and in the end you will link them together using embedded links. When you are done creating each web page using HTML and possibly CSS, it will be nothing more than a text document that you can upload to your host.

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