The very simple introduction to creating your website is particularly suitable if you are:
- Someone who has not yet used the internet and now needs to have a website
- A basic internet user who wants to have your own website
- A member of an organisation without a website who needs to explain the basic concepts to others
Whilst 85% of the UK's accessed the internet last year (2011), the level of skill varies from very basic user to highly competent. Eight million adults in the UK have still never used the internet. If you feel unsettled or unsure of your use of the internet – you are not alone :-)
A website is a collection of linked pages on the web. For example the BBC has a website, www.bbc.co.uk that contains individual pages on the programs, news and sport covered by the BBC.
You need five things to create your own website:
- Access to the internet
- An address – called a “domain name”
- A place to hold your website – known as “hosting”
- A way to build your website
- Information to put on your website
I will assume you can access the internet and consider the other four points in a bit more detail.
The analogy is of you finding a suitable address (domain name), with a nice plot of land (your hosting) on which to build your house (website) to move your personal effects into (your web content).
Domain Name – your address on the internetJust as the place where you live or work or meet has its own unique address, a website on the internet must have a unique address – your domain name. Examples are www.bbc.co.uk or www.google.com. Domain names are available for sale on the internet. A mysite.co.uk domain will typically cost about £3 to £5 a year. A mysite.com site may cost about £20 a year. My own website is www.miltoncontact.co.uk and I also own www.miltoncontact.com.
Hosting – your plot of internet spaceAt your address, you need to have space to build your website. This is provided by companies that “host” your site, like landlords or owners of a plot of land. Some hosting companies provide a minimum of space free. In this case, you may have to accept their advertising on your site in return or their giving you a domain name that they own and that is linked to them. This article, for example, is on my free blog hosted by Google's Blogger, it has “blogspot” in its address. Most companies provide you with paid for hosting which you can link to your own domain name.
Building your websiteNow that you have your address and plot on the internet, the domain name and hosting, you can begin to build your website. At one end of the scale hosting companies offer simple free website templates that you can use. At the other end of the scale you can employ a website designer to make a large and flexible website for you for thousands of pounds.
You can learn to build your own from scratch. A good alternative is to use the free Wordpress program to build your site. Wordpress is open-source and maintained by a community of selfless individuals. Designing and building your own site requires time and commitment but is not as hard as it may sound.
Adding content to your siteThis is the most important part, filling the space of your new website with words, pictures, videos and sound. Surprisingly, this is the part that many companies find difficult to do.
However, if you have a passion, an interest, a cause, a desire to communicate with others – then this is the part which you will find the easiest. You need to add new content on a regular basis to your website so that it looks alive.
ConclusionSo, I hope that I have shown that creating your own website is a bit like building your own house; you find a suitable address (domain name) with a plot of land (your hosting) on which to build your house (the website). You then move in and gradually fill it with your personal items (your website content).
This article gives you the big picture. Of course there is the nitty-gritty of how to do these things. Hopefully you will feel more confident about finding out – or finding a key individual who can help you with building your site. Good Luck! :-)
If you are a small charitable or social or interest organisation in Cambridgeshire who would like some help along the way, please get in touch with me, email@example.com.