When you’re making your first website, there’s a lot to do! As well as writing your HTML and CSS code, you need to test your website, buy domain and hosting, upload your files and more. There are also optional things, like SEO, analytics and validation.
Find out how to set up all of these things the right way and with minimal stress. Let’s build your website!
HTML and CSS
HTML and CSS are the basic languages of websites, and you need both to make a good website. HTML without any CSS will not only look ugly, but it can make it look like there’s a serious problem with your site.
HTML and CSS are very easy to learn, compared to other coding languages. To learn HTML and CSS, browse these HTML and CSS training recommendations.
You’ll also need a text editor to write your HTML and CSS code. A text editor is a special program that’s designed for writing code, rather than a word processor like Microsoft Word. Find out more about text editors…
Every website needs HTML and CSS. However, depending on the type of website you’re building, you may also need website scripting. Website scripting is what turns a static website into a dynamic website. It’s very likely that your website will need, or at least benefit from, scripting. Here are some examples of website scripting:
- contact forms
- interactive buttons and controls
- website databases
- shared content between web pages
Each web browser renders HTML and CSS in a different way, so you’ll also need to make sure that your website displays and functions properly in each one. The five most popular web browsers, in order from most to least popular, are:
- Google Chrome
- Windows Internet Explorer
- Mozilla Firefox
- Apple Safari
Internet Explorer is particularly notorious for being slow to support new HTML and CSS capabilities, and most web designers find it a pain to optimize their websites for IE. Just a heads up on that one.
Domain and Hosting
Web hosting is a service that hosts your website files (HTML, CSS, images, scripts etc) on a server so that anyone can access your site. A domain name is the address of your site (for example, codeconquest.com).
There are many different companies online that sell domains and hosting. You’ll want to research some of the popular options, like GoDaddy, Media Temple, NameCheap, HostGator, Bluehost and Dreamhost, just to name a few.
File Transfer Protocol
To transfer your website files from your computer to the server that will be hosting your website, you need to use file transfer protocol, or FTP. This simply means uploading files to the Internet.
When you log in to your hosting account, there is normally a service that lets you upload your files through a web interface. Alternatively, you can use a program like FileZilla to upload your files without logging into your hosting account.
Optional: Analytics Software
Analytics software is optional. But if you want to be able to track how visitors are interacting with your website, it’s very useful. Analytics software lets you see:
- how many people are visiting your website
- which pages they are viewing
- how long they are staying on the site
- the sites they were on prior to visiting yours.
Google provides a 100% free tool to make all of this possible, called Google Analytics. There are other analytics providers, but Google Analytics is the most popular and most likely the only one you’ll need.
Optional: Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is the use of certain on-site and off-site strategies to increase search engine traffic to your website. There’s a lot to learn if you want to get good at SEO, so we’re not going to go into too much detail.
If you do want to optimize your site, here’s a good place to start. Identify search engine keyphrases related to your website, and include those keyphrases on your site in certain places – such as the
<title> HTML tag and
<h1> HTML tag.
One last thing that’s worth mentioning is validation. Validation lets you check whether your website code meets the W3C standards. If it doesn’t, nothing bad will happen – but there’s no harm in doing it. Validating your code is simple – the W3C provides free tools that you can run your HTML and CSS code through to detect any errors. Here are the links:
On the next page, you’ll get the opportunity to get a head-start creating your first website, with a free HTML template.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.