Building a Website (Part One) 

Welcome back folks.  Following on from the 5G discussion, today I wanted to share with you a little bit about an ever-evolving computer-based hobby of mine.  Hopefully it’ll give you some pointers or at least a useful insight on how to build your own website.  I’ll be discussing content management systems, in particular a globally recognized one by the name of Wordpress, right through to site building and the wonderful phenomena that is the vast array of templates and plugins that are available.

Wordpress 

I’ve been designing and building websites now for just over a couple of years.  It all started when I started running my own business in the hospitality industry, namely a small boutique hotel set in a beautiful old French colonial style building. When we did the final hand over, it was clear from the start that very soon down the line we would need a professional up-to-date website.  The existing one looked like it had been slapped together a decade prior (it actually had) and remained relatively unused, serving only to have an online presence if nothing else. 

Back then I didn’t have the faintest idea of where to begin creating a website, but after a bit of digging around online it became apparent that the best way, at least in my situation – was to build one, from scratch using a content management system (CMS).  Before I continue, I just want to highlight the immediate options that I had at that stage, just in case you find yourself in a similar situation. 

The Options 

These days, it’s getting easier and easier for newcomers to web-building to setup perfectly adequate and professional looking (and functioning) websites.  It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t need to have any knowledge of coding or programing, just a basic sense of how to word things well and a basic understanding of what is aesthetically pleasing.  For starters, there are many online organisations out there now who provide the complete structure online, whereby you simply add your own content and upload a few images.  You could consider: 

  • Wix
  • Webnode
  • Squarespace
  • Simplesite
  • Webstarts

Any of these models can get you set up no time (even half an hour if you have your content pre-written), which makes for a very satisfying creative experience.  This method is perfect if you simply want to have Internet presence for yourself or your business.  The only downside is that you won’t have much control over anything other than basic functionality.  So if you wanted to have, say, an online shop whereby products are viewed, browsed, selected, ordered and paid for, you’ll need to be looking at a more sophisticated way of putting it all together.

Building a website 

Unless you have the knowledge to code the whole thing from scratch, where you can basically achieve anything, your best option, in terms of functionality, flexibility and creating a professional look and browsing experience, is to use a content management system.  The most popular on the market these days are Joomla, Drupal and Wordpress.  All of these will assist you well in achieving the website you’re planning on creating, though most people find it bewildering having to decide on which one is the best to use.  The answer is simple. None of them.  That’s because there are some that are better suited to blogging, some that are great for complicated projects requiring a more sophisticated framework and some that are better for multilingual websites.  In general, all of them will do the job, you just need to do the work. 

Personally, I find Wordpress works for me.  It took a little learning but I have a much deeper understanding of how it works now as I did when I first discovered it.  I did dabble slightly with Joomla but, we just didn’t get along, so Wordpress eventually joined me in the driving seat. 

Wordpress.com vs Wordpress.org

Websites 

Understanding the difference here is absolutely crucial.  Another big decision you’ll be faced with when building your own website is whether or not you want the luxury of choosing your own domain name, registering it, hosting it and tying it all together with Wordpress.  Some people don’t and choose to lose the advantage of their own domain name, instead avoiding the daunting prospect of registering, choosing a suitable hosting package, making online payments and having to fiddle intermittently with extra fine tunings at the back end of the site. 

Next up, we’ll look at ho to get up and running with Wordpress and also explore the wonderful of world of templates and themes, which will help you to create an amazing aesthetically pleasing finish.  Oh and we’ll also explore the magical land of Wordpress plugins, a Disneyland of options that will add functionality and extra features to your website.  Until then, if you’d like to get stuck in yourself, check out http://www.for-sale.co.uk/professional-website and get yourself started.

Thanks for reading folks, until next time..