April 22, 2010

Some tips on building a website...

For a long while now, I've had plans to create a website to run alongside this blog, something with a .co.uk or .com address that looks a little more professional and a little less blog-like, but not really known how on earth to go about it.  Anyway, yesterday I came across a free, online way of doing it and on further investigation, found this site in particular just seemed to make sense to me, so gave it a go.

Here are a few things I discovered along the way...,

Decide how you are going to build your site

If you do it yourself from scratch, you may need to purchase your chosen domain name, ie the url you want the website address to be and also web hosting if it is required.  There are lots of sites online from which to do this, google 'domain name/web hosting' and there are plenty to choose from.  Before making a purchase, it's worth googling for reviews of the site you are going through and read them to do a background check on reliability.  Also bear in mind your country of origin, ie if you are in the UK, buy from a UK based site, if you are in the USA, go through an American based site, that way if you need to, you can telephone to sort any issues promptly.

I paid just over £5 ($7.70) for 2 years ownership of the www.lucykatecrafts.co.uk domain name.
If you design it via a software package, the domain name and web hosting side will most likely be included in the purchase price.  Mr Site and Do your own site are both popular packages here in the UK.  There are also many free ones to pick from too, Weebly, Webs and Moonfruit to name but a few.  What you get for free is basic but useful and user friendly.  Upgrades can be bought for additional facilities. 

Begin building

The easy ways to do this will have a selection of templates to choose from, and it all works in very much the same as a blog template does, via html coding.  I'm no html coding expert but I can mange to change colours, sizes, borders etc, all of which I've picked up the know how for online since starting blogging, mainly from this site Blogger Buster.  Adding links and images was all very straight forward.

I chose a template which I felt looked the least like a blog, but did personalise it quite a bit.

Going live

The moment of truth is when you click 'publish'.  When I did mine, it automatically gave it a url which included the name of the web building site I used, but there were simple, easy to follow instructions on how to change this so it was linked to the .co.uk address (which was done by adding the ip address of the newly published website into the correct place within the domain name account online), and only took about half an hour after publishing before it was up and running.

The advantages to doing all this yourself is mainly that it's quick and easy to update your site.  Mine can also have E-commerce pages added as it's already linked to Paypal.

So there you have it, hopefully you will find this a little helpful.  I spent one evening doing this, it's basic but it's a start, although I am also giving I-Web a try at home, and gives me something to build upon that I didn't have before!

edit - feedback is much appreciated, have made a few small changes already, thank you.