If you’re wondering if it’s possible to build a website yourself, and you have the time and inclination to put into building your own website, then it is completely possible. It will never have the functionality, power and capability of a bespoke build by a knowledgeable developer, but if you want a small, simple site, and are set on building it yourself, you can.
For a strictly do-it-yourself approach to building your own website, here are the four steps of the process you’ll need to go through.
Step 1: Decide on the platform to build your website on
The platform is the Content Management System (CMS) you will use to build your website upon. Some platforms are free, some are not. Some require you to have a bit of HTML or CSS coding knowledge, or tie you into their own hosting, some don’t. So, look into all of your options and see which is going to be the best platform for you.
As a quick heads-up, WordPress is free, and builders such as Wix, Weebly and Squarespace are not. And, if you’re a complete beginner, but are used to Microsoft Office applications like Word and Excel, then WordPress is thought to be the easiest platform to use.
Things to consider about each platform:
- Does it tie you into its own hosting?
- How much is it to use?
- Can it make your website mobile-friendly?
Step 2: Get a domain name and hosting
Some platforms will give you a domain name and the hosting, which may at first seem ideal, but here are a few things you need to know about each:
Any free hosting that comes with a website building platform is likely to be of lower quality than if you’d bought your own hosting package. This matters because low-quality hosting is slow, and will affect your Google ranking – no browser wants to sit and wait an age for your pages to load. But you can buy your own hosting package from a provider and choose the level of service that’s right for you and that you can afford.
A free domain name is likely to look something like this: www.yourwebsitename.theplatformname.com, which looks unprofessional and messy.
Make sure you can choose and set your own domain name. It needs to be memorable, short and preferably contain one or more of the keywords that people may search to find you. Avoid hyphens and numbers that are harder to type and for people to remember. And make sure not to choose a domain name that could be confused with somebody else, or infringe anyone’s copyright. You should check all the options you come up with before you settle on one and buy it.
Step 3: Install your chosen platform, or CMS, and get building!
You will be able to choose from basic themes, fonts and templates, and have options to purchase more advanced ones, depending on the look and feel you want for your website. You should make these choices, on what best suits your brand, and the image you want to portray to your audience, as well as the results you’re looking for from your website.
Think about what will most appeal to your browsers and potential customers.
Step 4: Add content
You will need to add a menu, pages, and the content for those pages, to your website. Look at websites that achieve something similar to what you want your site to achieve. Get ideas for content and think about the words and phrases that people may type in to search for you. Here are a few pointers on writing your content:
- DO NOT copy other website’s copy. Website owners can run checks to see if their words are copied. Whether this turns to legal action or not, at the least, it’s embarrassing and awkward, and above all, it’s reputationally damaging.
- Research SEO copywriting and spend time thinking about structuring your writing about keywords and phrases – but do not keyword-stuff your content as Google will see you as low-quality content.
- Give your audience your genuine reason for being, how you can help them, and make their life better.
- Write in straightforward, plain English. Browsers don’t hang around to read War and Peace. Would you?
Hopefully this gives you the basic steps that lots of DIY-ers go through to build their own perfectly serviceable websites, for the purposes they need them to fulfil. It just takes some time, thought and effort. If this isn’t for you, after reading the above, then Cultrix are always here to help you - DIY-ers, those that want the full service, and everyone else in between!
Out-of-date website practices
Unless you’re in the industry, it would be hard to keep up with every detail, but it’s good to know the aspects of web design you should now be leaving behind.
Google’s Core Web Vitals coming into effect
Google has announced Core Web Vitals will become a ranking factor from May 2021. Find out what they are and what you can do to improve SEO.