Build a Website

What you need to build a website?

You have an idea for a website but you don't know where to start. You might have a lot of questions and doubts.

Getting a website off the ground can be overwhelming if you have no idea where to start.

Good new is, creating a website is not as terrifying as it used to be. In this article, we will give you some tips to help get your started.

What you need to build a website?

Why do you need a website?

The first step in building a website is to ask yourself why you need a website. Is it to promote your business and gain more customers? It is so that people can find you online?

Knowing why you need a website will prepare you for the things that you need to get a website online.

What you need to build a website?

What do I need to build a website?

If all you need a simple website (ie. not an online store), then what you need to build a website is quite simple:

  1. Domain name
  2. Website builder
  3. Web hosting
  4. Domain email address(es)
  5. Website template design
  6. High quality images for website
  7. Google Analytics
  8. PayPal® business account (only if you are planning to accept payments on your website, ie. an online shop)
What you need to build a website?

Why do I need to get a domain name?

A domain name is the first thing you need when starting a website.

What is a domain name?

A domain name is the address that you type into a web browser address bar to get to a website. An example of a domain name is www.google.com.

A domain name is unique to a website and cannot be shared between different websites.

To learn more about domain names, please refer to our article "Everything Domain".

What you need to build a website?

What do I use to build my website?

If you are new to building websites or if you need to have your website online quickly, you should consider using a website builder.

A website builder is a tool that you can use to build your website. There are many different website builders in the market and they all essentially do the same thing – make the process of building a website easy for anyone.

You can certainly use a self-hosted content management systems like WordPress to create a website. They are powerful and extremely flexible, but they also have a steep learning curve that requires a certain level of technical skills. New beginners may find WordPress overwhelming.

Unless you are familiar with the technical aspects of building websites, some coding knowledge, and you have time to spend on learning and managing a WordPress website, your best option would be a drag-and-drop website builder like Wix, SquareSpace, Weebly and Website.com.

Which website builder should I use?

There are many website builders in the market and it's very difficult to tell you exactly which website builder is best or better for you. Each website builder has its own set of pros and cons and it all comes down to personal preferences.

For example, you might like one user interface more than the others, or you might like a specific tool that one builder offers while the others don't. Also, some website builders may focus more on a user-friendly interface, while others focus on features and/or template design.

Here are some of the website builders available in the market:
  • Website.com is an all-inclusive website builder; features a drag-and-drop editor and fully-customizable templates along with many other features, gadgets and apps. Many of Website.com's templates come pre-populated with industry-specific text content, giving you inspiration, in case you are not sure what to write on your website. But what makes Website.com highly-recommended is that they throw in a free domain name and email services. While other website builders offer a 1-yr free domain name, the free domain name you get from Website.com is free for the lifetime of your site builder account. There are no free plans but they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • SquareSpace may not be as simple or as straightforward as many of the other website builders, but their templates are absolutely stunning. It is one of the best design-orientated website builder on the market. There are no free plans but they do offer a 14-day risk-free trial.
  • Wix is definitely one of the top website builder in terms of beautiful template designs. It also comes with a ton of site gadgets and apps that you can easily add to your website in just a simple click. However, do note that once you have selected a template there is no way to change it.
  • Weebly is hands down one of the easiest to use website builder available. In fact, they even have a touch-friendly, drag-and-drop iPad app and an associated Apple Watch app so you can create and edit your website from your iPad and get alerts about site traffic or commerce transactions on your Apple Watch. While you can opt for the free plan, you will find Weebly branding and ads on your free website.
What you need to build a website?

Why do I need website hosting services?

If getting a domain name is analogous to getting a business name in the brick-and-mortar world, then getting a web hosting account is like renting office or shop premises for your business.

When you create web pages by adding text, images or other forms of data (ie. video), you need to save the pages on a computer so that it can be viewed by web users. In order for your web pages to be accessible to many people at the same time, the computer that is used to store your web pages needs to be of a higher specification than a regular desktop computer and needs to be connected to the Internet through a very powerful link. The job of providing these super computers (also called web servers) and the powerful connection is called web hosting.

There are many types of web hosting. The best type of web hosting for entry-level websites are:
  • Shared hosting – in this type of hosting, one physical server and its available resources are shared among hundreds of websites. This is possible because each of those websites are relatively smaller and requires minimal resources (hard disk space, bandwidth, RAM, etc.)
  • Website builder hosting – this type of web hosting is provided by your website builder

In other words, if you are using a website builder, you don't have to worry about web hosting.

However, if you plan on using the self-hosted WordPress platform to build your website, then you will need to sign-up for web hosting services.

Will shared hosting be sufficient?

If you are using the self-hosted WordPress platform to build your website, then you will need to sign up for web hosting services.

*NOTE* If you are using a website builder to create your website, then you do not need to worry about web hosting – your website builder should provide you with basic hosting services.

If you are new to websites, it is always good to start small with a shared hosting plan – a shared hosting account is affordable, easy to maintain and sufficient for most new websites. There are many shared web hosting service providers in the market: BlueHost, Doteasy, GoDaddy, iPage and Hostgator, just to name a few.

Should I get a domain name and hosting from the same service provider?

For the sake of easier, centralized management, it is recommended that you purchase your domain name and web hosting services from the same service provider.

The big players in the shared hosting market often package their domain name registration and web hosting services as a value plan.

For example, Doteasy and BlueHost both throw in a free domain name registration when you signup for their shared hosting plans.

What you need to build a website?

Why do I need a domain email address?

When you use a free email address, such as [email protected] or [email protected], people can't help but wonder, "they can't even afford a business email?"

Using free email accounts on your business website doesn't look very professional or trustworthy.

If you are serious about building a website to attract new customers and grow your business, then getting a domain email address with your website domain name is a must. Once you have a domain name, you can use it to create a business email like [email protected]

While domain email accounts are included as part of a shared web hosting plan, not all website builders provide such service.

What you need to build a website?

Should I use a website template design?

A website template is a pre-made website design that allows you to easily add your own content to create a professional looking website. It is a quick, easy and affordable way to build a website.

If you are using a website builder, you will find that your website builder comes with a library of template designs. Note that some website builders offer both free and premium templates. Premium meaning you need to pay extra to use those templates.

If you are using a self-hosted WordPress, you can download free WordPress themes from Wordpress.org. If you want more unique designs, you can find great premium WordPress templates at WooThemes, Mojo Marketplace and Themeforest.

What you need to build a website?

Where can I find high quality stock images for my website?

Images are an important part of a beautiful website. Images allow your visitors to visualize your product or service and themselves using it, thus impacting purchasing decisions. Images also help viewers remember what they saw and read on your website.

If you are going to use images on your website, you need to use high quality graphics and photography.

  1. It makes your products more appealing and desirable
  2. It makes your website look more professional, credible and trustworthy
  3. It makes your website look more expensive

Fuzzy images and fake stock photos will cheapen even the most beautifully designed website and have a negative impact on how your viewers feel about your site and your business.

The best option is to hire a photographer to shoot images for your website. If you have the time and ability to create the image you're looking for with relative ease, then why not? But if you have a limited budget and/or if your photography experience is limited to snapshots and selfies taking with an iPhone, then stock images is another great option.

Stock photographs are professionally designed or photographed images sold or licensed for use. If you are using a website builder to create your website, we strongly recommend you check out the website builder's image library first. Most website builders like Wix, Website.com and Weebly have free image galleries that contain professional images you can use for your website. The image galleries available from website builders are all comprised of professional images and are not in violation of any copyright laws.

Here are some of the additional places where you can find high-quality stock images:
What you need to build a website?

What is Google Analytics? Why do I need it?

Google Analytics is a website analytics tool that lets you understand how your visitors are interacting with your website.

For example, you can find out how many people visited your website, when they visit your website, which page was visited the most, where did they arrive on your website from, and much more. All these data can then help you understand your visitors better and also know what area/pages of your website you need to improve.

Most website builders support Google Analytics. All you need to do is create a Google Analytics account and then copy-and-paste the Google-generated tracking ID on to your website builder control panel.

Some website builders, such as Website.com, also come with a built-in website statistics tool. If you don't want to use Google Analytics, you always use the built-in web statistics tool instead.

WordPress also supports Google Analytics. The easiest way to add the tracking ID to your WordPress website is via a plugin from the WordPress plugin library. Once you have signed up for a Google Analytics account, just copy-and-paste the Google-generated tracking ID into the plugin's settings page.

What you need to build a website?

Other things that I might need to build a website?

Other things you will need to build your website:

  1. Logo
    A logo is basically an illustration of your image. It can be an image or text. A professionally designed logo attracts attention, and leaves an impression in people's minds. A logo also distinguishes your website from your competitors.
  2. Specific pages that are relevant to your website
    In addition to the home page, all websites should have an About Us page and a Contact Us page. If you are building a website for your business, you should also include a Products or Services page, as well as a Testimonials page.

    Many website builders, such as Website.com, provide pre-designed pages you can easily add to your website. These pages are usually pre-layout for that page type. For example, a Contact Us page will come with a contact form and a Google Maps plugin. These pre-designed pages are a great way to quickly add pages to your website, in case you don't know where to start or not sure what to include on that particular page.
  3. SEO tools
    SEO stands for search engine optimization. While Google will eventually crawl and index your web pages, it's important to use good SEO practices to speed up the indexing process and to improve your search engine ranking. For example, page title and description meta tags and image ALT text. If you are using a website builder, you should find these SEO tools within your builder. If you are using a self-hosted WordPress, you can easily find SEO plugins on Wordpress.org.

    For more information on SEO, take a look at our article Finding your site on Google.
What you need to build a website?

What would I need if I want to sell products on my website?

If you are going to be selling products or services on your website, you will need some way to collect credit card information.

PayPal® is a great payment solution for accepting payments online. It is supported by most website builders – all you need is a PayPal® business account.