Blog > How To Start A Website
Posted By Create
Do you have a website? Many small business owners don’t.
In fact, only 42% of small business owners (10 employees or less) actually have one. This figure is incredibly alarming, considering that in this digital age, a website is the best foundation that you can provide for your business when it comes to marketing and selling your products or services. Every small business needs one. It is crucial as the focal point to any marketing campaign and acts as an online shop window into your business.
It can become a hive of activity and a celebration of your brand that leads to consistent growth for the future. It will be a place for your customers to find out about what you do while you focus on fulfilling orders and moving your business forward.
In our opinion, a website is a key component of success for any start-up… In fact, the internet is moving towards being a place where everyone has their own website to showcase what they have to offer.
So why doesn’t everyone have a website?
This is completely understandable, however, creating a website doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, with a website builder like Create, you don’t need to know any code at all.
This article will talk you through what you need to know so that you can learn the basics and get started.
In the past, if you needed a website, you either had to pay a developer to put it together for you, or you would have to learn the different coding languages such as HTML, CSS and more in order to build it yourself.
This is no longer the case. Website builders, such as Create, provide tools that take care of all the behind-the-scenes coding for you. It makes the process of building a website a matter of selecting a series of options and filling them with your content. This simplifies and speeds up the process tenfold.
As an example, websites built with Create use what we call ‘Content Blocks’. These are pre-coded sections that you can place on your webpage and customise to suit you. The best bit is that we regularly bring out new and exciting blocks to make your website unique and set you apart from your competitors.
The other benefit of using a website builder is you have complete control of your website and can manage your content 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whenever you need to. This means that making a change to your website is as simple as logging on and swapping text and images. No need to pay a web designer to make alterations every time something needs to be edited.
Many website builders offer a free trial so that you can get acquainted with their tools before you buy. Why not try our free, no-obligation trial using the box below?
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Hosting is the “pitch-fee” for your website. It is the price you pay for your own space on a computer server. Your website will be a collection of code, pictures, text, videos and whatever else you include. All this content takes up a certain amount of storage space and the bigger your website, the more storage space it will need.
The server you use will store your website, and whenever a visitor asks to access a page of your site it will send that information to their browser.
Usually, hosting is another thing you have to set-up and pay for on a monthly basis. There are a number of comparative sites that you can use to find a host and each has its own process that explains how to link the website you have built with your hosting.
The good news is, that with Create, hosting is included in your package and there is no set-up required. One less thing for you to worry about!
Another important thing to consider is that a lot of data centres that house these servers run on unsustainable energy. Each of these centres has a huge carbon footprint to account for. At Create, we've chosen suppliers who are either using renewable energy now or offsetting with REGO credits. All our hosting suppliers are on a journey towards being fully powered by renewables in the next few years.
Find out more about our Sustainability journey >>
Before you launch your website, you need to give it a name. This is referred to as a “domain name”.
Domain names are registered to a person or organisation on a pro-rata basis. Purchasing your own unique domain is straightforward, just search for your preferred name from a registrar, make your choice and check out.
Best practice for picking a domain name is to keep it short and memorable. Consider how easy it will be for someone to spell it and whether there might be any confusion arising from your choice which will make it harder for people to type it in right.
Some people suggest stuffing keywords into your domain name but unless you have a specific reason to do so, there might be consequences to this practice with search engines.
What your domain ends with is known as a Top Level Domain or TLD, for example; .com, .net, or .co.uk. There are hundreds of these TLDs available to choose from but securing one of these is recommended as they are the most recognisable within the UK.
If you intend to trade internationally, perhaps choose from .com or .net instead of .co.uk. This is because .co.uk is not as well recognised overseas.
You can purchase your domain name within Create and if you choose Create as the platform to build your website, we can take care of tying your website and your domain name together for you.
If you have purchased a domain externally you will need to associate your domain name with your hosting package. Reputable hosting providers will be able to talk you through the process and help you get this set up if you need them to.
SSL stands for ‘Secure Socket Layer’ and it provides an extra layer of security for your website.
When data is exchanged online (for example in the form of a purchase), it is important that it is protected. SSL Encryption acts as a barrier to stop unwanted intruders from spying on any data you might input while on a website, this includes information you provide when making a purchase. If you have an online store this will be really important to keep your customer's data safe and increase the trustworthiness of your website.
You will recognise sites that are protected with SSL by the padlock and ‘https://’ that prefix their domain name. Sites that don’t have SSL are only prefixed by ‘http://’ and are sometimes displayed as ‘not secure’ in red.
Google has pushed for SSL Encryption to be on every website over the past few years and as a result, having the secure emblem that comes with this encryption has become somewhat of a trust indicator for visitors to your site. In fact, when a site without SSL encryption was displayed as ‘Not Secure’ it was found that 83% of UK users would not browse the site.
In many cases, SSL is sold as an additional add-on and can be quite complicated to apply to your website. It is always a good idea to check what your host or website builder provides in terms of SSL Encryption and what you will need to do to get it set up.
SSL is included with all of our packages so you’ll have peace of mind no matter what you choose at Create. Setting up SSL encryption takes just a few steps and is on by default when you go live.
Once you have these components put in place, the world is your oyster. All that is left to do is to go out there and start telling people about your new website! Our blog is full of great tips and ideas on how to design, fill and promote your site so be sure to check back for more inspiration. You can also make sure you never miss an update by receiving our emails. We'll keep you up-to-date with all the latest news along with more tips and ideas to help you succeed online.
Knowing where to start when it comes to designing and structuring your content doesn’t have to be a daunting challenge either. There’s no need to get everything built right away, most people choose to edit their websites over time and build upon shared advice from customers and colleagues.
We asked some of the members of our Create Community how they started building their websites and this was their advice:
“I think when I was making my first website. I looked at different websites I liked with similar features I was looking for so for example, a shop.
I took screenshots, I printed them out, I made notes, I took different aspects and then drew on A4 paper a layout of how I thought it should all flow. Homepage, About page, shop etc and built from there. Now I'm a bit more comfortable with it I experiment in Create and always start with a blank page.
I picked up loads of help and advice through Facebook as well... people who I had connected with, often through Twitter first. Through asking for help and advice, I picked up lots of useful information. You don't know what you don't know, but ask for help and, genuinely, people want to see you succeed.”
“I think your website should reflect your brand; so colours, styles, fonts and language should be in your mind, broadly speaking. Then, if you are ecommerce, definitely categories and subcategories should be written out and planned. Descriptions of products worked out with variations decided beforehand and then list, list, list.
Keywords should also be worked out before this so that they can be included in the description and all relevant places too so that you are not forever going back and forwards between products.
Personally, when I did my first website 13 years ago, I looked around at others in my industry to get a flavour of what I wanted and what I wanted the user experience to be. I always favour 'keep it simple' over fancy pants but that is just my preference.”
Get Started With Designing Your Site
Now you know the key technical components of making a successful website, it’s time to look at finding some design inspiration.
Many website builders have a number of different templates for you to start with. Most are styled with an industry, look or feel in mind. The template you choose will help you lay the foundations of a website that is successful at reaching and attracting customers for your business.
Why not browse the templates available at Create? All you need to do is fill them with your own text and images. If you don’t yet have your own pictures to start building your website, there are tons of free image resources online that can provide you with professional photography that you can put on your website.
Each of Create's website templates can be easily formatted using our Content Blocks, so you can structure and build your site in a way that works for you. This feature allows you to create banner images, galleries, contact forms and much more to make a website that is completely unique to you.
Find out how to use them in the video below:
One of the first pages you'll need to consider is your home page. Find out how to build an effective website home page in our recent post.
There are 6 points that you need to decide upon in order to build a website:
Website Builders - These enable you to build a page without any prior HTML or coding knowledge. Generally speaking, it will include your template, colours, fonts and other design features.
Hosting - Website Builders such as Create offer hosting as part of your package. If this isn’t included then you will need to set this up separately.
Domain Names - This is the URL of your website. Think about what you want your website to be called and how easy it will be for people to find you using that name.
SSL Encryption - People expect to be able to browse your website with peace of mind and look for whether a green padlock is displayed for your site, so SSL Encryption is a level of security that needs to be put in place.
Website Planning - What will your visitors expect to find on your website? Consider what your pages need to include. It can be helpful to draft this with pen and paper initially.
Templates - Choose a theme that closely relates to your business or industry? This can help to guide your creative process and provide a solid base to build your website from.
Ready To Get Started?
Try our no-obligation, FREE trial today to start building your website. We provide you with all the tools you need to start designing your web pages. Our expert team are on hand to help you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
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