How to create your first website?

Do you want to know how to create your first website? This article is for you. We look together at the steps to follow to create a website.

Option 1: Use the online solutions

Several online solutions can help you build your website. This solution ranges from $ 0 to $. If your goal is to grow with your website, I advise you to start with the free rate and then change to the paid plan. Here are some facts about online solutions:

Benefits of online solutions

  • A web server is not required. Precisely, the companies with which you create your first website take care of the hosting of the websites.
  • You create your account and start using it. In most cases, you simply fill out forms, choose a theme, and your site is ready;
  • Computer skills are not required. Several online solutions have “Drag and Drop” features that you can use.
  • Your site will be ready in a few hours. Building an online website can take a few hours if your content is already ready.

Disadvantages of online solutions

  • Unless you subscribe to a paid option, many of these companies do not allow you to have your domain name. Among other things, if you go to Wix.com, your domain name is a subdomain that includes wix.com.
  • You cannot remove the company’s signature offering the solution at the bottom of your pages (if you do not subscribe to specific plans).
  • The improvement in the quality of your website is somewhat limited. It means that you only have to make changes to the limit provided by the owner.
  • You cannot monetize your site where you can only receive a portion of the profits. Several online solutions give you the possibility to create your site for free. However, these solutions schedule advertisements such as AdSense to generate income online.

Some examples of online solutions

If you are interested in online solutions, here are some examples:

Option 2: Create a self-hosted website

The creation of self-hosted websites allows you to manage the hosting of your website yourself. Indeed, if you want more freedom and benefit 100% from creating your content, this option is for you. Rest assured; Contrary to what many think, a self-hosted site does not necessarily require computer knowledge. There are, in particular, content managers to assist in the creation of your site. Here are the steps to get you there.

1- Define your objective:

As you may already know, over a billion websites are on the net. That said, having a website without a specific goal is useless. If you want to make a difference, take the time to define the purpose of your website. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Why do I want to have a website?
  • Who is my target or audience?
  • What type of website is suitable for my industry or target?
  • How do I position myself against the competition?

Once you ask yourself these questions, it prompts you to research what you want. You can, among other things, go to Google and search for potential competitors to see the type of site they have. In addition to seeing the type of site, look at how they write their content or choose their domain name.

2- Choose the solution to use for your first website

If you have no computer skills, we advise you to go to CMS (content managers). These are software programs that allow you to create websites effortlessly. There are self-service content managers and paid CMS. In your case, you would want to go for free solutions. Here are some examples of free CMS.

  • WordPress — For creating blogs, business websites and e-commerce (WooCommerce). To download, visit this link.
  • Joomla — For creating blogs, e-commerce and business websites.
  • Drupal — Best for Business Websites
  • Magento — For e-commerce
  • PrestaShop — For e-commerce

3- Shop for web hosts (Where you will store your data). As well as a domain name (e.g. prositeweb.ca)

— Example of Hosts — GoDaddy, JustHost, HostPapa.

– Create or Shop the design for your website

– p. Ex. https://www.templatemonster.com/, https://creativemarket.com/ (The design chosen must be relative to the technology you want to use)

4- Integrate your design and your content.

This step consists of modifying the design adding your text and photos.

Advantages of self-hosted websites

  • You are free to choose the technique you want for your website. Unlike online solutions based on a single technology, you have a wide choice with self-hosting. So, to create your first website, you can try different software.
  • Customizing your site is easier and much faster. With a self-hosted solution, if you use a content manager, you can, among other things, refer a featured vendor or the community. To this end, it is easier to switch from one more modern feature to another.
  • Growing your business is much faster. Choose self-hosted solutions if you are interested in search engine optimization or improving to keep pace with the evolution. Indeed, an online solution forces you to comply with the supplier.
  • You have the option of having your domain name.

Disadvantages of self-hosted websites

You need to manage the server’s security for your website, and it is not easy. In addition, if you are not used to reading or informing yourself, it can waste time. Here are some drawbacks:

  • You may have difficulties in creating a site or making updates. While you don’t need the skills, you need to educate yourself. Not having the correct information can be frustrating in the short, medium, or long term.
  • Risk of making security breaches. One of the biggest challenges for novices is managing security. Indeed, the less we know how to develop a site, the more we use external resources. It can be the source of the flaws.
  • It may require a time investment. If you intend to achieve a high proportion of goals with your website, you are likely to spend more time on the technical aspect rather than your end goal.

In what follows, we will go in-depth into the steps elaborated above.

Main steps to design your first website

  1. Choose the platform you want to use.
  2. Find a domain name and a web host. You inevitably need a place to store your website data. In this case, you will have to choose between a host with more freedom in management (Self-hosted solution) or a platform 100% managed by the provider (SaaS solution). About the domain name, you must shop for a name that fits with the identity of the company or concept you want to create.
  3. Research or design a design for your website. When it comes to choosing a design, you have the choice between hiring the service of a graphic designer or buying a ready-made design from the online market.
  4. Ask yourself about the features you want to include. The features to include can be extensions or modules you would like to see on your website. For example, we can talk about contact forms, a live chat option, or the online payment module.
  5. Configure your website. Via the platform you have chosen in step 1, you must configure your website. You may have to fill out the form and follow a set of steps proposed by the platform (SaaS solution). Or install the software and integrate your design (self-hosted solution)
  6. Make the content and integrate. Here, it is a question of developing the content for your website and integrating it.
  7. Carry out tests and validations. If you have completed the previous steps, you must do a series of tests and validations to reassure yourself that your website is ready to go live.

We will cover each of these steps in what follows, being as explicit as possible.

Choose the platform you want to use for your website

It is about choosing a website design solution. Precisely, to design your site, you must choose software or tool that fits your reality.

When it comes time to create a website, there are various options available to you. You have to choose between a static or dynamic website. There is a vast selection of web design software available for each of these options. It should be noted that all software has its advantages and disadvantages. In addition, some platforms are more suitable for one type of website compared to others. For example, if you want to design an online store, it would be better to choose the platforms such as Magento, PrestaShop or WooCommerce. On the other hand, if your website is a business website, WordPress, Joomla or Drupal can be ideal.

In addition to this small comparison, there is the server management factor that you must consider. We are not going to go into all the comparisons. However, we present below some of the most popular solutions in the web world in relation to the website site you might want to create.

A comparison of online store design solutions

There are several choices available to you regarding online store design software. We will focus on the best. Although you can use any solution, some solutions seem to have more popularity among users. We will base our comparison on parameters such as user volume, flexibility in terms of content management, long or medium term continuity and management costs. 

#1 WordPress

Conception de site web avec WordPress

WordPress tops the list of tools used for store design. Thanks to its appealing minimalist features and its WooCommerce extension, you can create and manage your store without being 100% dependent on a developer. Indeed, the WordPress management interface is well suited for developers and novices. In addition, if you want to boost your sales, you can easily find extensions or developers to assist you. 

About WordPress

It is the most widely used software for designing websites. Indeed, more than 37% of websites use WordPress. In the ranking of content managers, WordPress occupies more than 64%.

Why  use it for website design?

WordPress has several advantages. To know:

  • Easy to use solution. — It is suitable for both developers and non-developers
  • Several out-of-the-box features — The WordPress community has developed several features that you can use for your website design.
  • Fairly detailed documentation. — You will have less difficulty recharging your batteries regarding problems related to your website. Indeed, several websites offer tips allowing you to resource the bugs related to your site.

Some features of WordPress

The WordPress content manager offers you several features among which:

  • A fairly minimalistic database — WordPress’ core database is pretty simplified. It facilitates its understanding and use.
  • One-click installation of extensions. — You don’t need any computer skills to install a WordPress plugin.
  • The design change interface is easy to understand. — You can change your design at any time without developer intervention.

Some disadvantages of WordPress

Although this software offers several advantages, it also has some disadvantages.

  • The security aspect – The solution is not always suitable for reasonably complex projects. For example, if you intend to create an intranet, WordPress is not always the appropriate solution.
  • Performance if you don’t have a master’s degree in web development. – Many people who do not have enough web development skills tend to overload their site with extensions, which can impact performance.
  • Management can be complex when using multiple extensions. – By default, the administrator interface is quite minimalist. However, if you use several extensions to manage your site, you can complicate the platform.

#2 – Shopify

 

Shopify is gaining more and more momentum in the world of online store design. Exactly, over the past few years, especially with the pandemic, several companies have turned to Shopify to design their online store. In addition, with the SaaS model of Shopify which gives the possibility of creating a store without worrying about the management of the server or the basic functionalities, a company can focus entirely on the sale. 

Why Shopify?

Over the years, Shopify has positioned itself as a leader in terms of website design tools. Indeed, the interest in terms of using Shopify is increasing. It is not a coincidence. Below are some advantages that make this solution a leader.

  • You don’t have to worry about hosting or server maintenance — The company behind Shopify takes care of hosting and managing its infrastructure. For this purpose, all you have to do is create and maintain your website.
  • Somewhat practical technical assistance. — You can easily find online help for managing your site. In addition, you have the option of contacting technical support at any time for assistance.
  • Several features and modules are ready to use — Shopify offers you the possibility of purchasing and integrating the features on your site through its Online Marketplace. For this purpose, you don’t have to redevelop everything from scratch.
  • A moderately growing interest that promotes evolution- Several developers and companies are increasingly interested in Shopify. Consequently, the tool remains more and more adapted to current realities.

Some features of Shopify

Via the Shopify interface, you have access to several features

  • The Site Builder — Shopify’s interface gives you the ability to set up your pages quite easily. You don’t need to be an expert to understand how the platform works
  • Access to a vast application library. – The library of functionalities of this solution is quite vast. You will find, among other things, on the platform several applications to perform various tasks on your site.
  • An easy-to-use design choice interface. – You can easily switch from one design to another without much complication. The management panel allows you to import a new design and make the new configurations in a few clicks.

Some Disadvantages of Shopify

While having several advantages, Shopify also has its disadvantages. Below are a few  :

  • The cost of the site — Having a Shopify website can be expensive. Indeed, to use it, you must have an annual subscription which can be pretty considerable. In addition, you have to pay a certain amount for each sale.
  • Shopify is not open source. — You do not have access to all the features of your site. Thus, you are limited to the functionalities allowed by the leaders.
  • Limit in terms of some features — The platform is limited in terms of some features such as language switching. Unless you create two stores and make the connections or use an app that isn’t always functional enough, you can’t easily set up the language on your site.

#3 Magento

Magento is popular in the world of online store design. It is a solution available in open source version and on subscription. So, if you want to design your online store, you have the choice between doing the server management yourself or leaving the management to the parent company. 

Why choose Magento?

It offers several advantages among which:

  • A large community of developers — This software has many developers who work daily for its improvement and maintenance. For this purpose, you do not have to worry about problems related to the management of your site.
  • Fairly advanced security — The platform is entirely secure for managing e-commerce. Indeed, the solution offers several ways to improve the security of its site. In addition, you have access to an interface to reassure you that your site is entirely secure.
  • Several out-of-the-box features — When managing your website, you can easily find the modules that can allow you to integrate more features into your website. Through the Magento MarketPlace interface, you have access to several Modules.

Some features of Magento

Magento offers several features. Below are just a few:

  • The page builder — You can design your page as quickly as possible, thanks to the page builder. Honestly, since Magento 2, you can configure the visual of your site without the need for backend programming skills.
  • 100% Open-source (The free version). As a business owner, you have 100% access to all your site features. Magento is free software that allows you to customize your site to your liking.
  • Integrated ordering process — The ordering process is available in the basic version of the software. For this purpose, you do not need to worry about its integration.
  • Panneaux de gestion pour gestionnaire de sites et clients — Avec la plateforme Magento, vous avez accès à un panneau de gestion simple et facile à comprendre.

Some disadvantages of Magento

Magento has a few drawbacks to know:

  • The solution isn’t always easy for non-developers — Magento doesn’t offer much flexibility in site management. Precisely, unlike other CMS, you very often have to work with developers to add features.
  • Development cost — Although Magento offers several out-of-the-box features, you still won’t find them for free. Many extensions are expensive.
  • Technical support is not adequate – Unless you work with a developer or the paid version of Magento, you will have difficulty accessing Magento technical support for any question.
  • Interest in Magento is quite decreasing, which affects the answer to questions — With the arrival of several much simpler tools, developers and companies are increasingly losing interest in Magento. As a result, there are fewer and fewer solutions to specific problems.

Other Online Store Design Tools

Apart from the aforementioned tools, there are several other online store design tools. We can list among others, software such as: 

  • OpenCart
  • BigCommerce
  • odoo

It is essential to mention that the tool you choose for your website design depends on your affinity or felt after tips. Or even features that you think you can have. Therefore, knowing your reality is a good starting point to offer you the best solution.

A comparison of design solutions from Web Design for Business

You might have to choose a completely different tool for business website design. Some web design software is more suitable for online store-style websites than others. To this end, you must take the time to better compare before making a final choice. In the following, we will present some tools to you according to the greatest rate of use and preference. 

#1 WordPress

WordPress is still at the top of the tools you can use for business website design. You can use WordPress for designing a Blog or a business website. After that, you can convert your website into an online store using the WooCommerce extension. We will already talk about the advantages and disadvantages of WordPress earlier in this article. 

#2 Joomla

Joomla is also one of the most used tools in website design. The software is available in two versions: A free and Opensource version and a subscription option. The principle is similar to other content managers. In other words, if you choose the free version, you must select a host and take care of server management and maintain the basic functionality of your website. On the other hand, the subscription version is a SaaS application. In the latter, you are only responsible for managing your website.

#3 Create your first website with Drupal

Conception de site web avec Drupal

Drupal  is a content management system  free and open source that relies on the PHP scripting language. This software makes it possible to publish, manage and organize the contents of a website. It also makes it possible to control the organization and access rights of a community of users.

Why use Drupal?

Drupal is a tool that does not deny its popularity by presenting some interesting advantages

  • An extensive support community — This software is top-rated, so there is the possibility of being quickly assisted by one of its users in case of problems.
  • A wide variety of modules to satisfy its users — Drupal has at least 7200 modules. Also with this system, you can customize these templates relatively to  your needs.
  • It’s an open-source solution — Drupal is an open-source tool. It is then possible to modify and change it at any time, with ease and complete freedom.

Some advantages of Drupal

If you want to create your first website with Drupal, you will certainly find these advantages: 

  • It is a platform that offers security features by default — Its team takes care of security and its modules by constantly checking its system to find all the bugs.  If a bug is found, the team makes sure to publish the corrections directly to the system to make it easy to use. They send out notifications to notify customers about new updates available.
  • The bases of the projects are already ready — The Drupal system makes it possible to create complex sites without recreating the fundamental functionalities for each new project. It allows you to focus on other essential elements such as ergonomics, design and SEO.
  • Multilingualism and translations — Drupal is a multilingual software. As a result, it offers several installation languages to its users. Each user can choose his language for the administration interface.  Also , it offers full translations, with the possibility of managing them as subdomains.

Limitations of Drupal

Like any computer system, Drupal does not only have advantages, here are some disadvantages:

  • Resource-intensive – Due to its flexibility and scalability, the system is sometimes resource-intensive. Generally, it is not suitable for some low-cost accommodations.
  • Not suitable for small projects — The complexity of Drupal makes its use  disproportionate for simple sites of a few pages among others.
  • An interface not user-friendly enough for all types of users. —   Drupal has an administration interface which is not very appreciated in terms of its intuitiveness. Therefore, the learning curve of the software is longer than that of its competitors.

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