How To Start a Successful Website
Building a website can seem like a daunting prospect at first since there are so many steps involved.
Some years later at a hackathon, I learned about web hosting and domain names. I discovered that it was actually quite simple to publish a page on the web. At that event, I was given the opportunity to use BlueHost, a web hosting service that is very easy to use. It took me less than half an hour to choose a free domain name (complimentary by BlueHost), choose a web hosting plan, upload my code, and launch the website.
Moreover, with the right services, it can be easy to create a website. In fact, knowledge of computer science is not even required to create website content. There are a plethora of platforms that allow you to use drag-and-drop editors, such as BlueHost and HostGator.
There are three basic steps to starting a successful website:
Decide what your website will be about
Select your web hosting service and purchase a domain name
Create valuable content
Regardless of whether your website will be for your company or not, it should always have a specific purpose. This gives your target audience a reason to specifically come to your website instead of going to other websites. In business terminology, this is called a Unique Value Proposition because you are highlighting a specific aspect of your website that is different than anything else on the web. For example, the niche of the National Youth Tech Journal is technology news and we work on creating valuable content to our target audience of Generation Zers. Our Unique Value Proposition is our ability to write articles in a way that is specifically geared for students to understand (and relate to) rather than millenials and members of other generations.
Another example of a company whose website is designed to serve a certain purpose is Cisco Systems (https://www.cisco.com/). Their website has the intent of informing customers about their latest products and events, as well as providing interactive customer support.
As long as you have a goal in mind of what you want your website to be about, you will be ready to proceed to the second step of this process (web hosting).
For the purpose of this tutorial, I will walk you through using Bluehost since that is most familiar to me, and also because of its range of features and ease of use. I love using BlueHost because of its low monthly cost and well maintained documentation, and I would highly recommend you to use it as well (or at least check it out).
Moving on, web hosting allows your website to be accessible by other Internet users. The web hosting service hosts your website on special computers called servers. When Internet users want to find your website, they simply need to enter in your website address into their browser. Their computer will then connect to the server and direct them to your website.
If you don’t have a web hosting service already in mind, I’d strongly recommend you to use Bluehost. In their basic plan, Bluehost provides 50GB of website space and 5 email accounts, which is already more than most web hosting services provide, and this is all for a reasonable price of $3.95 per month. The other two monthly plans are pretty bolstered up, but unless you truly need those services, the basic plan would suffice.
After selecting a plan, you can proceed to the next part: purchasing a domain name. A domain name is defined as a “the part of a network address that identifies it as belonging to a particular domain”. An example of such a domain name is 'apple.com' in the link https://www.apple.com/.
If you are a new BlueHost user, you can register for a free complimentary domain name. Nevertheless, if you already have registered domain names, you can enter in those.
After you get a new domain (or enter in your existing domain), you can proceed to the next page that asks you to enter in account information.
And you’re done. Account created!
Now that you have your account created, you need to create content to fill up your website. Depending on the topic of your website, you will have to create content that appeals to your specific target audience.
There are multiple ways to create content for your website. The obvious way is by writing code in a code editor and then adding that code to Bluehost. The other way to design the website is using the drag and drop editor integrated in the Bluehost platform. Both methods work but if you are not a programmer, it is definitely much easier to use the drag and drop editor.
If you decide to use the drag and drop editor, you can use one of Bluehost’s customizable templates, which are a serious time saver in creating your website. With these templates, you can customize your website in literally minutes. The color scheme, navbar, animations, etc will all be taken care off by the template.
In this article, I walked you through how to use BlueHost to create your own website. To reiterate what I had previously mentioned, BlueHost provides an amazing ROI (Return on investment). You should definitely check out the website Hosting Facts (https://hostingfacts.com/), and their list of the top web hosting services because they evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each service.
And do your own research as well so that you have the best idea of which web hosting service will help you the most!
In order to further motivate our community to create their own websites, the NYTJ will be having a monthly website creation contest, with the winner receiving a $60 Amazon gift card.
If you are interested in participating in our June/July contest, please go to https://nytjournal.org/contest.php, as it will provide more information about the contest.