So, How Do I Make A Website?
Our Roos Explain Everything from Zero to Hero!
Originally published 24 October 2018
Posted by roo Stef – A 5 year web industry veteran
Your how-to guide on everything websites!
Transparency is one of our core values at Siteroo, so we’ve put together a guide on what exactly goes into a website, from design, hosting to marketing; the lot!
Feel free to email us any questions at [email protected] or drop a comment below and we’ll shortly reply.
The Website Creation Pipeline:
1. Choosing Your Idea
So you’ve decided you want a website, which means you must have a business or personal idea you want to broadcast across the world or just to your locality (bearing in mind that it will still be publicly accessible to anyone on the web).
Common website examples range from: portfolio sites, blogs, e-commerce stores, forum discussion boards, landing page emailing list collection forms to something entirely custom like AirBnB or eBay (the later custom solutions often requiring salaried full-time Full-Stack Web Developers + a multi-disciplinary team or many teams working in sync; these companies are known as startups and are a whole other kettle of fish entirely in the tech world,although they can often use the same types of sites like blogs, e-commerce stores, landing pages and forum boards, basically they are platforms, products and digital services appealing from 1000s to millions/billions of users).
Google has put together a Digital Marketing video series for businesses wanting to get online known as Google Digital Garage Australia. We highly recommend checking out their series and video below. This video below is about when do you actually need a website? A hairdresser salon example is given.
If you want to get involved in startups, we highly recommend attending startup meetups in your local area and learning full-stack web development if you’re technically minded.
As far as startup conferences go, if you’re in Sydney, StartCon.com comes up around 1 December and is basically centered around Australian startups and online “Growth Marketing” – a great way to meet like-minded people and even spread the word of your business. There is also TechCrunch Disrupt held every year in various cities, usually in San Francisco, New York City and London.
Since we’re a web design studio, we’re focusing our efforts on making really elegant and effective Portfolio, Landing page and E-commerce sites for now.
2. Choosing Your Site’s Name
After the idea then usually comes coming up with your business name that’s hopefully unique so it stands out in Search Engine results like Google and Bing. (If you google your proposed name, not many exact or near-exact results showing up is a good sign, because it means that google query result isn’t a flooded namespace and new and existing visitors can easily google your business name to find you once you buy your domain name).
Another tool we highly recommend is using Moz Domain Authority checker (Moz use to have this open to anyone but now you need to sign in) or ahrefs.com or SEMrush (all three are leading domain name analytic providers in the SEO space) to check if that particular domain name hasn’t been misused by potential previous owners (since domain names are leased every year, and never owned by one owner unless owners keep renewing the domain name each year or 2 years, more likely to be renewed by established companies or personal brands).
Here is an article from Moz describing how Domain Authority is important. It’s basically a strong information indicator for search engines like Google to rank you higher or lower in search results and also some social media pages man blacklist certain URLs from being posted if they were previously misused either by the current or previous domain owners (more common among common terms or abbreviations that have become available again e.g. ‘EDM’ for electronic dance music is a common term, so any domain names with edm included should be checked against a domain authority service).
We recommend sticking to as short as possible names that are easy enough to spell when said out aloud and memorable. We we never go over 2 single or double syllable words e.g. blueoven.com, since it’s quick to type on mobile, memorable and always try to obtain both the .com and the ccTLD (the country domain you’re in), e.g. .com.au for Australia, .co.uk for UK for 301 redirections. (So no one can take your business name for the 2 most used domain names with your name).
Still stuck? Here are 8 domain name tips from Moz, a leading SEO tools company.
If you’re still not sure of which name would be best, feel free to contact one of our roos at [email protected] and we’ll happily assist for free on this part.
3. Envisioning Your Site’s Design / Branding
This is the most creative and fun part! You can start thinking how you would like your website to look, which colours you think would appeal to your potential users to make your brand stand out or perhaps remain subtle or something in between, the choice is yours!
Usually you can get design inspiration from example websites you frequently visit, or just google blogs/websites in the area you want to enter. E.g. “Fashion blogs”, “Tech News blogs” and see the latest design trends there are.
Another way is to browse templates from themeforest.net (Traditionally the go to place for WordPress themes) or Front-end WordPress Page Builders like Elementor (featured above, this entire site was built on Elementor via WordPress), Divi, Beaver Builder, Oxygen, Gutenberg (Official WordPress Development which should eventually come with mobile app compatibility too! Something lacking in all the rest) which have just started coming out in the last 2 years and allow far greater customisability at ease of use, so even you can continue to make any changes to your website without needing the expertise of a Web Design agency to always do that work for you. (Translates to quicker and more frequent site content updates whenever you want and all totally free).
Our roos at Siteroo handle everything from website name selection to design to web hosting, so you need NOT to worry. 🙂 On to our next step, launching your website!
4. Finding a Reliable and Fast Web Host (i.e. The Cloud)
So you have a website name and design in mind, now you want to get that in front of as many users as fast as possible.
Think of web hosting as electricity lines for websites; it’s what they rely on to run and broadcast websites to the world literally every microsecond.
There are a myriad of hosting companies out there on the web, but namely these solutions come in two types: managed and unmanaged hosting.
Before we get bogged down in the details of web hosting, our roos managed to track down a pretty video from Google to help nail the points in a brief manner.
Managed is basically one word to describe “set and forget” in which a dedicated WordPress hosting company will handle all of your website’s hosting needs for you, generally this is recommended for non-technical or even technical users (who don’t want to spend time setting up and maintaining hosting – usually resulting in hours of lost time, especially if it isn’t their expertise, it would be like a Doctor trying to be a Lawyer for a day) and usually only costs a little more than unmanaged hosting solutions, sometimes on par pricing for low user traffic sites like new personal or business blogs. It’s well worth investing in managed hosting considering how cheap these plans go for, starting from US $15/month with GetFlywheel.com, $30/month with Kinsta.com or WPEngine.com which are the 3 biggest managed WordPress hosting companies right now.
Managed hosting is best for:
- Set and forgetters.
- Technical people who don’t want to worry or spend time on yet another thing that is already fully automated.
- People who rely or like to have technical support to contact.
Unmanaged hosting is basically if you’re experienced in website hosting and want to do it yourself. Common Cloud Infrastructure platforms for this include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud or Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platforms. They are basically servers, networks, firewalls and WordPress installs that all need to be configured from scratch.
Sometimes these server solutions start from $5 a month from AWS and Google Cloud, but the costs of backups and scaling out can quickly add-up (especially given the time costs to setup and maintain) and often just makes sense to go with a managed hosting provider unless you’re one that likes to:
- DIY and learn the technical intricacies.
- Has mandated privacy concerns to trust a third party host (Usually found in Enterprise or Government).
- Just prefers to have end-to-end insight into what goes into your web hosting stack. (More control for people experienced in web hosting).
Under unmanaged hosting, you will also need to deploy your own Content Delivery Network (CDN) to ensure that your site is fast around the globe and also safe from DDoS attacks (basically, always up and running at speed). A highly reliable and free (free tier) CDN we’ve used since 2013 is Cloudflare.com. All of our client’s sites use it. Think of it as a necessary added layer of global speed and protection between your users and server. Cloudflare also manages your DNS (domain name system) to mitigate DDoS and other potential attacks on your site.
We should also mention that custom business email addresses (e.g. [email protected]) is another kettle of fish but still relies on DNS, and is offered by G Suite for $5 a month (we have a referral code for $4 a month: 77LUN6R3KCMTQ3E) and other services like Zoho. G Suite falls in between managed and unmanaged, there is still some configuration involved but a lot of the heavy lifting is done for you. 🙂
At Siteroo, we handle the web hosting for you, so we’d be managing your hosting for a small monthly fee.
5. Customising Your Site’s Content
Arguably the most important step. So now, you have your site up and running, but it’s bare with a default WordPress theme.
First we’ll need to install and activate the theme you selected in Step 3. Envisioning Your Site’s Design.
Then we can start adding in the pages you want, images (ensure they’re compressed to under 250kb each for optimal image loading times, a good way to do this is to upload them to FB in ‘Only Me’ privacy mode and then download them – Facebook compresses all images and video before uploading, you can also compress to .jpg using Paint, Photoshop and other image software), logos, blog posts and choose our colours. You can also use Imagify.io which is a free WordPress plugin that takes care of compression for you. I still recommend making sure your images are appropriately resized using Mac’s Preview, Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft’s Paint.
Videos tend to boost your SEO and captivate your audience a lot more on your home page. Including an explanatory video on your home page is almost a must these days (even if someone else made the video like an industry body, you can still embed the related video on your site via YouTube).
Other than that, frequent yet relevant blog posting helps you attract new and existing visitors and also tells Google that your site should be ranked higher than other websites in a similar or same industry. Ensure that the material you’re writing is of substance and actually giving value back to your readers. Would you want to read it? Also try to keep it short, lots of people will be reading it from their phones while commuting.
We highly recommend sticking with WordPress due to its highly customisable nature, strong third-party community support/plugins and the fact that it has been around since 2004, it is a tried and tested measure which powers ~33% of websites in the world today. WordPress allows us and you to have full control over WHERE your content is stored (hosted), and to make backups of it as needed.
There are web (Software as a Service – SaaS) editors out there like Wix.com and Strikingly.com but we find that these solutions are putting all of your eggs in one basket, and often their customising dashboards are clunky – although they are great at quickly and cheaply prototyping what you want so you can easily get your designs across.
What if one day Wix decides to shut up shop or start charging more for their services? You’re at the peril of their ecosystem. WordPress.org is open source (portable to any server you lease, WordPress is not owned by anyone; their is a company called Automattic in conjunction with the open source community who maintain feature and security updates for the open source CMS, there is a great WordPress history writeup here) and fully free. The free and open source nature of WordPress is what has allowed it to scale across the globe so easily and still remains as the go to CMS (content management system) of choice today.
6. Creating Social Media Pages, SEO + Marketing
Ok, so now the hard bits are over, phew! 😌
Now for Social Media Marketing (SMM) we just need to make Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, add logos, cover photos, page descriptions, and start posting! 📝
Two highly useful Social Media Management tools for sharing to all 3 social media sites and more AT ONCE include Buffer.com and HootSuite.com, they allow you to schedule posts at specific times (say 8am when everyone is travelling to work) and also queue up posts so you don’t have to post everything all at once any more.
As for Search Engine Marketing, you have to keep up your blog post count, say at least once a week (with quality) and write headlines of what people would commonly search for, e.g. for this post it’s “How Do I Make Website?“. You can also set up Google My Business if you’re a location or business and Google Analytics is a must for any standalone website – it basically counts how many users visit your site, where from and how.
There are paid ad options too if you wants to target your ads even further on Google Ads and Facebook Ads, but we highly recommend using organic reach (blog posting to get users searching via search engines like Google) for as long as possible and until your website is more polished (usually you’ll make many little changes after your site is launched) before you find the need to start paying for ads.
If all of this digital marketing effort feels like all too much, there are Social Media Marketing and Google SEO marketing agencies that can help you with all this; two big ones in Sydney, Australia are ProsperityMedia.com.au and 4Mation.com.au. Our roos can set you on the right track. Usually this SEO work takes 3-6 months before you start seeing any results in user traffic increase. Often blog writing (like this very article you’re reading) and reaching out to other relevant blog sites for backlinks (guest posting) are two main SEO tactics used to increase SEO rankingsthrough reaching as many keywords as possible in search engine results, but in these aforementioned legitimate ways. Here is a 2018 checklist from Moz.
You can also print customisable business cards, flyers and other physical items at VistaPrint.com
We hoped this has given you a leg up to start building your website. And Remember, done is never ready, so launch today! 🚀
As always our roos are happy to do all of this for you. We get your custom site live in 2 weeks.
We have over 5 years experience building websites and validating what works best.
Just drop an email to [email protected] and we’ll contact you within a day.
Head on back home to Siteroo – Fresh Websites Delivered. 👨💻