Nowadays, almost everyone is on the internet. While some use the internet primarily to run their businesses, others are involved in jobs and tasks that require frequent exposure to the internet. And some use it just to spend time on social networks.
All said and done, the internet is here to dominate our lives, and it is here to stay. In such a scenario, it would be a rather foolish decision not to have one’s own mark on the internet. Whether you are a freelance photographer, an artist, a writer, or even a business person, having your own website or blog is the first step towards online success.
Of course, when you are starting your own blog or website, things can seem daunting for a newbie. Surely, you can hire a professional to do the task for you, but what if you wish to save that money and/or do it all by yourself, thereby learning something new about web design?
In that case, you have come to the right place. In this article, I will help you understand all that you need to know when it comes to starting your first blog or website.
Starting Your First Website/Blog? Read On!
Domain and Web Hosting
Unless you have decided to go for a hosted solution such as WordPress.com (in which case, you will be spared the troubles of setting up your blog or website all by yourself, but will also severely cripple your potential for customization and tweaks), you will need to purchase a domain name for your website or blog, as well as a web hosting package.
For domain names, my favorite registrars are Namecheap, Name.com and Dynadot. All three of these offer good value for money and terrific support, and are used by millions of users all around the globe, so you can be sure that your domain is in safe hands. Many users also rely on GoDaddy, and you can surely check them out (especially if localized support is a consideration), but I have never tried them personally.
When it comes to web hosting, it is advisable to start with a shared hosting package, especially if yours is a new website or blog. As and when it expands and grows in size, you can upgrade to bigger plans or opt for dedicated servers or a VPS, as the need be. Since the web hosting industry is super crowded, a new user might have a hard time picking the best host. The key here is to stay away from very small and very big hosts — I wrote a web hosting guide for Syntaxxx earlier this year, so be sure to check that out before deciding on your favorite web host.
Building Your Website
Now that you have decided which web host and domain registrar to opt for, your next task is to actually build your website. There are many ways to do the same:
You can, first up, go the traditional route and build your website by means of HTML and CSS. While this will surely require some knowledge of coding, if yours is a simple website with barely a few static pages, it can obviously be hard-coded to help you avoid the routine tasks of maintaining a CMS, keeping it updated, and so on. If this is the option that suits you, make sure you bookmark our HTML and CSS Cheat Sheets and also our list of responsive website templates and themes to give you a jumpstart.
If that route does not work for you, you should surely consider trying a Content Management System, which is a specialized software to help you build your websites.
While there are zillions of CMSs out there, a wiser decision is to stick with the ones that are popular. Syntaxxx has a few articles to help you decided which CMS might be ideal for you (all written by yours truly): Drupal is a case in point, and so is concrete5, whereas if your site in question is a personal blog, Ghost might be well worth a look too.
However, the biggest and most popular CMS out there is WordPress, and it also happens to be the one with the easiest learning curve, so irrespective of which one you pick, WordPress should automatically make it on your short-list! And speaking of WordPress, we have a big list of resources and services to make your life easier:
- How about some WordPress tutorials for beginners to help you get started with this amazing software?
- If you are looking for WordPress themes to customize the appearance of your website or blog, check out this wonderful roundup of WordPress themes for 2014.
- Plugins? Yes, surely. To help you pick the right plugin to customize your blog, we have a roundup for that too.
- Still need more? If you are someone who wishes to dig deeper into code and tweak WordPress to your heart’s extent, we have something especially meant for you: here, here, here and here.
So you have now built your website or blog. Wonderful!
If you are planning to incorporate eCommerce on your website, be sure to check out my definitive guide to help you get started with eCommerce. Since the internet thrives via search engines, and it is super difficult for a new website or blog to be found on Google, we have also put together a guide to help you understand SEO basics, and still another one to help you get your facts right about search engine optimization.
Lastly, if you need a Content Delivery Network to speed up your website or blog, here is a list of some free and paid CDN solutions that you should check out.
Starting a new website or blog can be daunting and challenging task. There is so much new to learn, after all! However, all you need is determination, patience and the desire to achieve something — that’s all! Once you set your heart and mind to it, success will obviously be yours.
While I have tried to put together virtually all the resources that you might need in this single article, if there is something that you find missing, you can browse through the archives at Syntaxxx — I’m sure you will find the answer to your questions within minutes! Be it web hosting deals or coding tutorials, or just free templates and themes: you can find everything on this blog itself.
If you still have a question, or are confused about something related to web design in particular, shoot your questions in the comments below!
Featured Image: Dayna Bateman