Tips for setting up your first website

Today’s internet is almost unrecognizable from that of even 15 years ago, and with modern software, coding and online tech, it’s easier than ever for anyone to set up a simple website – often in a matter of hours. Where once publishing a website required the considerable skills, time and effort of professional web developers, blogging platforms and website builders have helped democratize the internet, making it possible to set up a site quickly and easily.

Work out the aims and purpose of your site

As a starting point, you should first work out what you hope to achieve from setting up a website, who your intended audience will be, the overall goals of getting online and how you hope to engage users.

Also, while the point above about using website builders is true, you should consider carefully whether your site might justify being produced by a professional developer – particularly if you’re making an e-commerce or business website.

Blogging software and online builder tools are great for smaller hobbyist-type sites but, if you’re looking to make a corporate site, you would be well-advised to hire a professional firm – visit ALT Agency to get an idea of the scope of work a skilled development company can perform.

Choose your domain name

Your domain name (often also called URL) is the address users will type into their browser to visit your site – and so, consequently, should ideally be as short as possible to avoid excessive keystrokes. As a general rule, you should aim for a name that is short, snappy and memorable and is in some way related to the content your site is going to provide or, in the case of a business, the types of goods and services you provide. Where possible, it’s almost always better to go with a .com extension rather than more obscure varieties like .net, .internet, etc – and try to avoid uncommon characters.

Choose your builder software

If you use a professional company, this step will largely be taken care of for you; however, if you decide to go it alone, you’ll need to work out the best Content Management System (CMS) platform for your site. These days even the most basic website builder tools come with pre-packaged templates you could install for your front-end site but, if you’re looking for a bit more flexibility, WordPress is always a good bet. Note, while WordPress is remarkably intuitive and easy to use, using it will require that you learn at least a little about web production. Check online for beginner WordPress guides.

Work out hosting

Websites need a ‘home’ from which your text, images and other content can be served to users over the web. Again, if you choose a professional development firm, they will typically guide you on the best hosting for your particular needs – or, if you choose to go with builder tools, they will normally host your site on their servers. Choosing the right hosting service is essential and can affect everything from a site’s loading speed to its Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so check online review sites like Trustpilot or Feefo to find a company that suits your particular site.

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