At the end of 2017, there were 5.7 million companies in the UK. 99% of these can be classed as small or medium businesses. This means there are a lot of other companies competing for your customer’s attention. One way to make your business stand out from the crowd is by having a content packed and stylish website.

Building a website in the past could be an arduous task. And, costly as well.

See also: Online resources for building a website

Time and technology have moved on and now building a fully functional website can, in some instances, be done in a couple of days.

This guide has been designed to help you understand the basics of building a website.

Decide what to call your website

Choosing a name for your site is just as important as deciding on how the website will look. What you call your website is referred to as a domain name. This is what people type into the search bar to access your site.

The name you choose should be:

  • Unique
  • Professional
  • Not cause offence
  • Reflect the products or services you provide
  • Easy to remember and to spell

Once you have decided on a name, you need to check that the domain name is available and apply to take ownership of it. This is done using a domain name registration site.

Decide where to host your site

The next step is to choose where to host your website. Web hosting platforms provide the expert technical knowledge and services that enable customers to access your website on the internet.

See also: The basics of designing a business logo

There are numerous companies providing this service, but for simplicity, it is easier to have your domain name registered with the same company who will be hosting the website. Otherwise, you’ll have to point your domain name to the hosting company. This can be tricky to do if you have no technical experience.

Prices for hosting packages are generally quite low. However, this depends on the amount of online storage space you’ll need.

When choosing a web hosting provider, it is worthwhile taking some time to understand what support services are available. Just in case you do run into some difficulties.

Choose your content management system (CMS)

A content management system (CMS) is the software that is needed to publish your content on the internet. A CMS is used to:

  • Create the structure of your website
  • Create pages or posts
  • Store images, or other content
  • Create an online portfolio of work

The big three content management systems are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. With WordPress having the biggest market share of around 60%.

Things to consider when choosing a CMS include:

  • What functionality you need on the site
  • How easy it is to maintain and update
  • Can it grow with your business (you may decide later that you want to start online selling)
  • Cost (some systems are free to use. Others have a cost associated with them)
  • If it is customisable
  • If it is mobile friendly

Installing your chosen CMS is done through your hosting provider. Your hosting provider may offer to do this for you for a charge. Or, you can do it yourself by logging into your account and accessing the C-Panel. The good news is that most web hosting providers offer a one-click installation.

How you want the site to look

A website theme controls the look and style of your website, without changing its core functionality. The website theme dictates:

  • The site’s font
  • Colour scheme
  • Size of images
  • Where images can be placed
  • The homepage layout
  • Homepage functionality

There are thousands of different themes available, free and paid for. If you want to have greater control over the customisation of your site, you will probably have to purchase a theme. The price of themes varies depending on the look and functionality.

See also: Is your brand up to scratch?

To install a theme, you will be asked to download the file. This is usually a zip file. Next, you have to log-in to the CMS and upload the file. In most cases, this can be done via a one-click system.

Installing your theme should only take a couple of minutes. After it is completed you can start adding pages, posts and customising the website to match your style and taste.