Quick and Dirty Guide to Building a Website


The first incarnation of Work-At-Home Success was built using MS Publisher and later with MS Frontpage (Expressions). These tools made it easy to design a site without knowing how to code, but you still had to know about FTP (file transfer protocol) and how to tweak code.

Eventually, a host of online content management programs were developed, such as WordPress and Joomla, that made building a website fast and easy for everyone, even people with little to no tech skills. Many webhosts started adding these systems, templates and scripts so you could add them to your site without knowing how to upload and install them.

Today, you don’t need a lot of tech know-how to build a website, although it helps to not be afraid technology. Here is a quick guide to building a website.

1) Buy a domain name. Many webhosts include a domain name free in the purchase of their services. Or you can buy it separate from any domain registrar. I use Godaddy (aff) but there are others. Buy a name that fits your business idea, uses a keyword related to your idea, is easy to remember, and is available as a .com. Avoid using numbers (spelled or written) and hyphens. Both make it more difficult to say your domain name and give people too much opportunity to type it in the browser wrong.

2) Buy webhosting. You have many choices and it can get overwhelming especially if you don’t understand what the features (i.e. SSL or cgi) mean. I recommend you choose a host that offers cPanel which acts like a dashboard to access all the features of your website. It should also have Fantastico Deluxe or other similar auto install script library. Fantastico Deluxe includes a host of programs and scripts including WordPress, Joomla, classified ads, customer support, forums, e-commerce, email lists, polls, and more. I use Hostgator(aff), which I have a love/hate relationship with. It’s very affordable and when its working, it works well. But I have some issues, some of my making and some of Hostgator’s making. BlueHost is another popular webhost. I have had many people say they moved to LiquidWeb and they’re very happy about it.

3) Connect your domain to your webhost. If you buy your domain name separate from your hosting, you need to tell the domain registrar where to send your domain name when it’s typed into the browser. To start with, it’s “parked” at the registrar. Login to your registrar, click on you domain and choose “change nameservers”. You should have received an email from your webhost or you can login into your host and get your nameservers in your cPanel. It’s two sets of numbers. Simply copy and paste them into the “change nameservers” information box, click save and wait a few minutes. If you bought your domain with your webhost, your host will take care of this for you.

4) Build your site. Login to your cPanel and check out the options under “Software/Services”. There you’ll find website builders (i.e. Weebly Site Builder) and Fantastico Deluxe (or other auto script library offered by your host). I have a preference for WordPress, which is found in Fantastico Deluxe. Whatever you choose, you’ll be asked where you want it installed (choose your domain name). You may need to create items such as admin username and password. Just follow the directions and within a few clicks, you’ll have the foundation of a website.

5) Customize your website. Many content management programs like WordPress make customization, such as themes and added features (plugins) easy. Make sure your site colors and graphics match the theme and mood of your business. At the very least, your site should have an “About,” “Contact,” and “Privacy” page along with your business information. You also want to make sure your website is easy to navigate so visitors can find what they need. That means figuring out good organization and structure of the site. Avoid things like frames, flash and video or audio that plays automatically.

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