I need a website. Now what?

What it takes to build a website. In simple terms everyone can understand.

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Gideon Cerd
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Simple Series

Serious about going online but confused about all the jargon? Read on, friend.

There are three fundamental elements to having a website. For the purpose of simplification, I'll try to explain it in terms of building a house.

1. Address: How people find you.

In building a house, you need to know where it is. Otherwise, no one will be able to find you. Similarly with a website, you need an address. Think of it as a house number. A website's domain name is your site's address.

There are a number of reliable providers where you can register and purchase your domain name. GoDaddy, Google Domains, and Host Gator are some reliable ones that have a long track record. Domain names are priced depending on how premium the names are, with shorter more common words given a higher value than longer and more obscure words. The price is also affected by a name's TLD or top-level domain. This is the last part of a domain name(.com, .org, .net, .edu, .uk, .de, .ph, etc.). More universal TLDs such as .com, .org, or .net tend to be cheaper than TLDs that represent a country such as .uk, .de, or .ph. Domain names need to be renewed every year at the minimum and can be purchased on a multi-year contract as well.  

In choosing a domain name, the general rule is the shorter, the better. Domain names that are long tend to be error-prone in typing (e.g. jackandjillsbedandbreakfast .com). With businesses, it is common to have official email addresses connected with their domain as well. If your domain name is unnecessarily long, it will be quite a pain for you, your employees, and your customers to type in, not to mention all the emails you will not receive because someone missed a letter (e.g. management @jackandjillsbedandbreakfast .com Note: this particular email address has 42 characters. Nearly twice the number of characters in the English alphabet!). So when choosing a domain name, keep it simple, memorable, and elegant.

2. The lot: Hosting

Any house needs land to stand on (Unless your house flies, in which case, I want one too!). Before building a house, you need to buy a lot. Similarly with websites, your site needs a place where it can stand. In comes the hosting. Host Gator, GoDaddy, and Bluehost are some of the many companies that provide affordable hosting packages.

There are quite a number of packages with different features offered by different hosting providers. It can be confusing especially if you do not know the jargon that they use. So how do you choose which is best for your needs? Well, similarly to a building a house(again), it depends on the size of what your building. If you want a simple website with limited content like an online brochure, getting a hosting package that can fit a shopping mall would be overkill. Conversely, if your vision is a site with an encyclopedia of information and a multitude of visitors on a daily basis, it would be foolish to buy a one-bedroom condo unit. A good practice in buying your lot would be to list down the basics of what you need that is fitted to your budget (bedroom, kitchen, dining, living room, toilet), plus some room for improvement later (garden, garage, den, entertainment, etc.). This also works the same with hosting: get what you want for what you need, plus a little extra. Well-established hosting providers have good customer support which can guide you in choosing which of their packages suit your needs. Hosting packages are renewable on a monthly basis, with discounts for yearly payments depending on the provider.

3. The house: Your website  

Finally, the third and most fun(sometimes) part is the website itself. The website is the house where information about you lives. When building a real house, hiring a skillful architect, engineer, and a reliable contractor is essential to having a strong, beautiful, and useful structure. When building a website, the principles are the same: get someone experienced and reliable. Having a website is a long-term commitment, and getting a provider who is readily available and easy to work with is essential.

DIY or hire?

Build your own cabinet, sure. If you have a saw, hammer, some nails and screws, anything is possible right? ;-)
If you know your way around the web, or you're willing to learn (and maybe break a few things), and you have the time to do so, you would be able to build a fairly decent website. These days, there are a number of technologies that make it easier to build a site even if you don't know how to code. Ultimately, it would depend on your vision, your budget, and your patience.

Details matter.

It would feel frustrating if your contractor or carpenter does a sloppy job in constructing your house, wouldn't it? Small things like improperly angled walls, unfinished concrete surfaces, rough wood, and even missing screws can cause you pain and will make you feel like you wasted money. An experienced craftsman, on the other hand would build you something that would not only be useful, but would bring you joy and pride.

When building a website, small details are not unnoticeable things. Contrary to your house which only a few people see, your website can be seen and will be accessible by literally anyone in the world. That's why every part of your website matters, and no detail should be too small to be taken for granted.

Sounds like a lot of work?

Yes. Building and maintaining a website is a long-term commitment, just like owning your dream house. But having a functional and beautiful site opens a lot of doors. Choosing the right providers and making the right plan can mean the difference between your website working for you, or having an unfinished, useless thing that will be a drain both on your energy and finances.

If you want a beautiful and functional website that communicates your vision but don't want to go to the trouble of everything mentioned above, talk to us. We aim to deliver original designs custom-built for your needs, based on solid technology. You won't have to worry about hosting or domains or jargon that you don't understand. All you have to do is communicate who you are to us, and we'll build and paint a gorgeous canvass that communicates who you are to the world.

let's work on your next great project.

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