Websites are clearly no longer an alternative. The online community has grown so much that you simply cannot avoid the digital realm, try as you might. But how do you build a website? You know there's code, but that's about the extent of it.
So here it is, the “Build-a-site For Newbies”:
Follow these steps and you WILL have a functional, attractive site at nearly no expense to you.
Visit GoDaddy.com. It's all pretty straight forward. Simply run a search for a domain that you had in your sights. They will tell you if it's available or not. DO NOT pick some abstract domain name. Ensure that the name you select tells people what it is you offer. In this respect you will get more visitors that are there BECAUSE they know what they want.
Purchase the Domain. This will run you about $10. You will need hosting as well and GoDaddy will supply this for an additional $60 a year. So now you've got a website AND hosting and all you paid was $70 for the year.
Download Filezilla. You can find it in any online search and it is ALWAYS free. This software allows you to upload and download files from your hosting server. It is by this method that you will add and update your files that essentially make your website look and act the way it does. Once opened, near the top of that program it will ask for some information which in turn allows you to connect to your host to view and alter your files:
Host: ftp://(your site).com
Username: GoDaddy Login Info
Password: GoDaddy Login Info
If for any reason the above information doesn't work, simply call GoDaddy and they will gladly walk you through it. They are both knowledgeable and helpful in this respect.
So now you have a website. There's nothing on it, but it's yours all the same. The next step is to create some code. You'll want to connect through Filezilla. If you've done it once you can simply click “quick connect” every time thereafter. It's really very simple.
In the right corner, once connected to your hosting account, you'll see a list of files and folders, along with a list of whatever is on YOUR computer (to the left). Simply pull “index.html” from the right and drop in on the left. Now it's copying it to your desktop.
Download a text editor. Notepad will work, but in order to receive tips, line numbers and helpful info regarding your code you'll want either Aptana or Dream Weaver. Neither of these are free, as far as I know. Another option is Text Pad. This IS free. It lacks some cool features, but it does the job and it's actually a decent program. This can be downloaded by searching for “Text Pad” on any search engine (Google!).
Now you'll open “index.html”, which is sitting on your desktop. Open this file with your chosen text editor.
Step 5: ERASE EVERYTHING.
Now you'll write some code. Every website consists of MAINLY html. This is the fundamental ground from which every site is built. You'll want to write the following code EXACTLY as it appears below.
Simply input your description and key words in place of the ones seen above. You'll want to select terms that you believe others may type in when searching for the services that you provide. This can be a very simple step, but truth be told, it can also be vary complex. In order to get the most out of your key words and description you'll want to do a study based on recent polls and other online information. There are plenty of Key Word Navigators that will do this for you and it's usually free.
Another reason you'll want to get the keywords and description correct the first time is because of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO will account for any and all of your success online. Basically, just because you have a website online DOES NOT mean that others will see it.
It's because of SEO that Google can find and show your listing to people who search the terms that apply to your site. There are MANY search engines online today, the most prominent being Yahoo, Bing, MSN & Google. They are all important but Google is the most used, thus making them the Gate Keepers. The problem is that Google has an extremely in depth list of demands prior to your site being indexed (meaning that the Google Spider Bots will crawl your site, thus letting Google know that you exist & thus displaying your site to others.).
If you do not meet Googles requirements you may not get listed, you may get sandboxed, or you may even be banned indefinitely. If things do not go your way the first time, there is very little you can do in the way of getting answers or even expressing your wishes for a 2nd chance.
It's through this cut throat policy that Google sifts through the slackers and lists only the sites that have shown the proper respect that Google requests (More or Less). But enough about that. The main thing is that SEO can be a simple enterprise but you'll want to read more on the subject in order to stay off their bad side.
The above code is written like this so that once it gets thick and full of text it will be easy to read and decipher later on down the road.
Whatever you write inside the open & close “title” tags will be seen on the websites tab when it is opened. Whatever you write inside the open and close “body” tags will be considered the meat of your site, or the content.
You'll find that you cannot simply write ANYTHING in your “body” and have it look good. Without extra code your lines, font, color and spacing will ALL BE FOR NOT. The web simply does not recognize your efforts unless you take the time to write code explaining what it is you want to see happen.
But, for the sake of time, lets go ahead and write the following inside your body tag:
This is a test.
Now your body should look like this: