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What goes into Making a Website

The nuts and bolts of getting online.

Get Hosting!

How do you get it on the Internet? The process is similar to physically renting a mailbox plus some office space, and there are just three basic steps:

  1. Choose a domain name (example of domain name: "davidseah.com") and register it at a domain name registrar so the Internet knows you exist. It'll cost you around $15/year.
  2. Choose a web hosting provider and sign up for the simplest web hosting package. This is "rented space" on a special computer that's connected to the Internet 24 hours a day. It will cost around $5/month.
  3. Point the domain name to the web host. The domain name you registered is "pointed" to the web hosting space you rented, using instructions you will receive.

The entire process takes less than 15 minutes to do yourself; you just need a credit card. It helps to know which companies are reputable, so ask around.

Building Websites

Congratulations! You've just rented an empty space on the Internet that's ready to be filled with your own stuff. That means building a website, which is a complex collection of interconnected computer files you need to assemble.

To build that website, you have two options:

  • Do it yourself - this may take a lot of learning time to master software like Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and Illustrator and languages like HTML and CSS.
  • Hire professionals - this may take a lot of money, unless you happen to be related to one. Just be sure you know how to tell who's professional and who's not.

Building a professional website requires three different disciplines: content management, technical know-how, and graphic design. That's why hiring a web development company to build your website will cost you $1500 and up; the company needs three experts working for least a week, plus company overheads and cost of benefits, to get the job done. Payroll is expensive!

You could go find a solo designer that will do it for less, but finding management, technical, and design skill in one professional is hit-or-miss. You can try the "instant website" feature that your web hosting company may have; it may be enough for your needs if you are not picky about how it looks. If you are picky but have a limited budget, you could use a "project marketplace" site to outsource the website to an overseas development team—just be prepared to spend a lot of time managing the process yourself.

Or you could work with me. I've been working out a way to lower the cost and retain quality through semi-custom website design.