I do get this question a lot, mainly with new clients who find web site hosting a daunting task especially when starting to research all the variations but there are some basic steps to hosting your own website.
We want websites for various reasons, to display a product or service we have, to have a presence on the Internet for clients to find contact info, to sell goods and services through e-commerce or many other reasons. You need to choose wisely by getting the right information and know what is essential to produce your website to your requirements.
The basic necessities are:
- A domain name
- Space on an Internet computer (Hosting on a Web Server)
- Web design and creation of web pages
This is what people see and type into their browser so it is essential it is something that is memorable. I like to keep it simple and not too long. Abbreviations are useful if your name is lengthy.
If you have a company such as Gold Coast Glass and Brass you might like to shorten it to glassandbrass.com.au or just gcgb.com.au. Easy to type and easy to remember. You will find that many names are already taken, especially the shorter names and generic names such as glass.com.au and brass.com.au as these have been taken up years ago. Try adding your city or another word to make it unique. There are requirements that have to be met to register Australian domains. These requirements are to ensure that the registrant is an Australian Company, Organisation or Association but individuals can register domains too.
There are some rules to the name as follows:
- Only letters, numbers, or hyphens ("-") are allowed.
- The domain name cannot begin or end with a hyphen.
- The domain name must have at least 2 characters and less than 63 characters, not including .com.au, .net.au, or .org.au
The letters are not case sensitive so texhead.com.au is the same as TexHead.Com.Au.
Space on a Web Server
This is the hosting part and usually comprises of area for the web pages, scripts and applications as well as space for email. To manage this space and email there is usually a Control Panel that lets you do the following:
- Create, change and delete email accounts
- Create FTP accounts to connect to the server to upload files
- Create and manage databases
- Look at statistics for your site
The Control Panel is the central place for managing your site, it is comprehensive but not complicated and is initially setup for you.
Web design and creation of web pages
Graphic design along with technical knowledge go together to create a web site that is functional, aesthetically pleasing and a good experience for your clients.
From a technical perspective we use different 'languages' to create web pages:
and many others. These help us to create what goes happens in the web page to make the links go to the correct page, allow for animation and interaction by the visitor to the site.
From a Design point of view we create the graphics and images on the pages using Photoshop or The Gimp and Adobe Flash or Silverlight. The look and feel and visual affects give the visitor a rewarding experience which will bring them back to our site. The User eXperience is essential for a good site.
Bringing all this together gives us a very powerful medium to display content and interact with our visitors.
Pages on a website are created in HTML (HyperText Markup Language), each page requiring code for functionality and graphics for visual aesthetics. Coding like this intertwines the code and content within a page and makes editing each page quite technical and often leads to changes in the look and function of the page that wasn't intended.
There are some exciting technologies that help us create and manage the pages on our site that don't require a Graphic Artists comprehensive knowledge of form nor a Programmers indepth knowledge of code.
The Content Management System (CMS) has been created by programmers to allow novices to create content for their site without knowing the code. So to create and edit a page is as simple as creating a word document. There are a large amount of different CMS's that are used for different sites depending on what the person requires.
Some of the well known CMS's available are:
and many more, for a very large list of CMS software, many that I have never heard of, please look at Wikipedia's List of CMS's. some free to use and others are commercial.
Good web site creation separates Design, Content and Function so each part fits in to the other so you have a uniform site across all pages, A CMS does this and gives Security, Stability, Powerful Features and Function but doesn't require the expertise to manage.
So what are you waiting for?
Give us a call and we can explain any part of the process with you and allay any apprehension you may have.