A Beginners Guide to Launching a Website

A Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Website

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Launching a website sounds difficult, like the kind of work only a tech guru would want do. However, the truth is today, with all the technology available today, it’s really not as hard as it seems. As a matter of fact, web design platforms now exist that help Clients launch a simple website without touching a single line of code.

Considering the benefits of having an established web presence, it’s not a bad idea to find out how to create one for yourself or your company. So, in this post, let’s take a practical look at the steps one should take to successfully launch a website.

Practical Steps to take to Launch a Website

For the sake of clarity, let’s first define what launching a website means. Simply put, a launched website is one that can be accessed online via a domain name.

In our article titled “Does your Company need a Website”, we considered five reasons why companies need websites. We also discussed the average costs for domain names, web hosting and professional web design. We recommend that you also go through that article to fully understand the cost implications for launching a website.

These are the steps you would need to take to launch a website:

Step 1: Select and Purchase a Domain Name

A domain name is your website address. They generally take the format www.anyname.com. Domain names resolve to your unique web server IP address and point website visitors to your website files. In order to launch a website, you must have a domain name, otherwise no one will know how to access your files.

When selecting a domain name, it is recommended that you choose one that reflects the name of your business or what your business does. Top Level Domains (TLDs) such as .com and .org should be chosen based on the type of business. This will be useful in identifying what products or services you render. It will also come in handy during search engine optimization of the website.

Short domain names are also preferred when possible or domain names that are phrases. An example would be www.buyatoyota.com which is the phrase “Buy A Toyota”. A domain name like this is clear and easy to remember.

Once the domain name you want has been decided on, you would need to check for its availability. To check if a domain name is available for sale, simply use a domain checker. I recommend Instant Domain Search which shows you domain availability in real time as you type. If a domain name is available, you will see a green “BUY” button next to it. Instant Domain Search also shows you variations of the domain name you typed, including different available TLDs.

If your domain name is available, you may purchase it from the website or make the purchase from your preferred Web Host.

Step 2: Select and Purchase Web Hosting Services

All websites have their files stored on a web server. In order for your domain name to show your website files, the domain name must point to a web server where your files are stored. However, setting up a Web Server requires considerable technical skills and a lot of money. As an alternative, Web Hosting companies provide Clients with a place to store their website files. This is usually for an annual recurring fee.

Webhosting services are generally categorized into four types:

  1. Shared Hosting: Website files and resources of several hundred Clients are stored on a single server. This is usually sufficient for the average Clients.
  2. Virtual Private Server: About five or six Clients make use of one web server. This gives them greater resources, flexibility and hard disk space.
  3. Dedicated Server: In this case, one web server is assigned to one Client. This provides ultimate access to all the resources of the server. Its only limitation is if the Client grows beyond the capacity of the server.
  4. Cloud Hosting: This allows a Client to choose and scale web server resources on an as-needed basis. It is cost effective in the sense that you only pay for what you use and you can scale down resources when they are no longer needed. An example of Cloud Hosting Service is Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Your Webhosting type and Web Server type (Apache, NGINX, etc) are important factors that affect the overall speed of your website. Also, some webhosts may charge you fees for things other webhosts give for free. As such, your web hosting company should be selected carefully. One webhost we recommend is Siteground. Other excellent web hosts include WP Engine, Host Gator and GoDaddy.

For first time domain name purchasers whose domain names are available for purchase, most Web Hosts throw in the price of the domain name for free when you purchase a web hosting plan with them.

For help with domain name purchase and selection of your web host, contact us or leave us a comment below.

Step 3: Upload your content or Select and Install your desired Content Management System

Once you purchase your domain name and webhosting service, you should be able to access your website online. However, it will not have any content on it, except for adverts placed there by your webhost.

Uploading content to your website is done in two primary ways:

  1. Through a Web Development Tool such as Adobe Dreamweaver CC: In this case, you would design the website content on your computer and then save and upload it to your Web Server via FTP.
  2. By use of a Content Management System: Over the last decade, the use and features of Content Management Systems (CMS’s) have grown considerably. One such CMS is WordPress, which powers about 28% of all websites online today. Other popular Content Management Systems are Joomla and Drupal. Generally, your CMS of choice is installed on your Webhosting account. This then allows you to upload content to your website directly from an admin backend.

For the purpose of this guide, we will assume that you intend to use a Content Management System for your website. We will also assume that you intend to use WordPress as your CMS. The process for installation of your desired CMS is however almost the same.

To install WordPress, visit the WordPress.org website and download the latest version. Some Web Hosts have scripts in their Admin cPanel that walk you through its installation in a few easy steps. WordPress prides itself in its famous 5-minute easy installation period. For an indepth explanation on how to install WordPress, please visit this link.

After installation, you can simply create your web pages and posts and publish them to your website.

Final thoughts on How to Launch a Website

Once you have a domain name and webhosting services, you can do a lot of things. For example, you can setup custom email addresses associated with your domain name. Domain based email addresses as they are called are very useful to businesses. They show that correspondence you engage in through though those custom emails are authentic and legitimate. Anyone can create a Yahoo or Gmail email address with any name if the name is available. However, only someone with access to a domain name can create a custom email with it. An example of domain based emails is contactus@idscreate.com. Access to and use of this email shows ownership of the domain name and is proof that the user of the email address is associated with the website.

Another part of launching a website involves creating a Sitemap or Wireframe for the website. A Sitemap is a structural layout of the website you wish to create. It is always a good idea to put your thoughts and ideas for your website on paper first. This helps identify the pages of the website and the content that should go on each page.

Launching a website is not as difficult as it sounds. Of the practical steps we listed on how to launch a website, you can very easily implement Steps 1 and 2. We would also gladly assist you with Step 3; creating your domain based emails and creating a Sitemap for your website. Simply contact us or leave us a comment below.

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