website basics

Creating a website can be easy. Or it can take you into the tunnels of hell lined with velcro. A few things to keep in mind before you even start…

register your website name

Do a domain name search with a few names in mind. In Canada make sure you use a search tool that includes “.ca” at the end. The name you want might be taken, so think of a few alternatives, they will also suggest a few that are available.Once you have found your domain name, you register it–the website you found the domain on will do that for you. You need to give your contact information, as the owning of a website domain is a legal entity and somewhat regulated.

find a web host

A website host is company with massive banks of computers that act as the storage and interaction area for your website. You pay them to manage the security and all the headaches of keeping things up to date in the background, and they provide you with your own spot which everyone in the world can then access.

plan your website

This takes the most time.

  • What is the purpose of your website?
  • How will the information be organized?
  • What colours and layout are needed?
  • Do you need to change the information on your website regularly?
  • Do you want others to be able to change the information?
  • Will there be payments processed through your website?
  • Do you need a shopping cart?
  • Do you need a calendar? A newsletter? A photo gallery?
  • What social media will you connect with?

more on planning…

create a mock site

An image on the screen of what your website will look like is valuable to use as a template before you diving in to the actual building of your website. Make the changes in a simple image editor so that you don’t need to make more complex changes in the coding of the website later.

Test your navigation using cards laid out to mirror your website pages. Have other people test it. Watch how they make their choices.

build the website

Once everything is clear, organized and written, it’s time to put it together. It’s best to do this on your computer using downloadable software, and then transfer the site to the live host when you’re done,  but you can also do it on a live site.

launch!

Make it live and break out the champaigne.