How do you build a website

This is a pretty open question.  I will answer this with a little description of how people get started.

Normally when someone or a company wants to build a web page they start by registering a domain name.  You want a name to find your site.  I will cover this blog in a little later, but normally you want your name or your companies name to be prominent in your web structure.  A domain name is some name like PopRocks, or Pauls-Ideas or Google followed by a domain suffix.  These names can not contain spaces, and shorter names are better, someone will have to type in your domain name to find your site.  Originally the suffixes were .com for companies, .net for networks of computers and .org for non-profits; but recently there have been many new domain suffixes, like .info, .name, and locals like .la.

Originally you purchased your domain name from a domain registry then you would find a web host to host your website on the Internet.  Of course the marketers realized you would like to do it all in one place.  Most professional developers like to select their hosting company not simply take what is available so they keep these separate.  Network Solutions offers to host your website and hosting companies like GoDaddy will give you a domain name if you host with them (the price is really built into the price of the hosting).  If you want to start hosting with GoDaddy and get the free domain hosting, or use Network solutions to host you site go ahead, just realize you may want to change later and it may be difficult.

There is nothing magic about a web server and a website.  A website is simply a series of HTML documents that a web server provides to your web browser.  Your web browser simply renders the HTML as a web page.  It gets a little trickier if you want to make things work automatically, then you need to add some programming like java scripts or server side programming.

So you have your domain setup to point to your web hosting you purchased.  Most of the inexpensive hosting systems will provide you with a web server and templates of common websites.  This works you simply fill in the information about your specific company and you have a website.  You may be able to edit the HTML within the template or may want to simply edit your own HTML, you can use CSS to format the screen and some basic java scripts to make your page nicer.  This starts to become a problem if you have more than about a half dozen pages or if you want more than one person to maintain your webpage.  A web master or web editor learns tricks as they go along to make things work better, when someone else changes things is has a tendency to break things on your web page.

One solution for this is to use one of the free or low cost Software As A Service companies.  For this blog I am using WordPress’s SAAS solution for a personal blog.  It is free with in limits.  You will notice that the name is paulfcoleman.wordpress.com, this is not my domain name but WordPress’s domain name, I am limited to only a few themes and modules to use.  If I want a real domain name I have to pay for it, or if I want some extra features I have to pay for it but the basics are free.  There are many of these for differing costs.  These work well for their purpose but there are limits, you may find that you want more features than these limits allow.

Most of the inexpensive web hosting plans allow you to easily install open source systems to generate web pages.  These are blogging systems. CMS systems.  Things like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, PHPBB and many more.  These systems are usually open source systems that generate HTML pages for you.  You edit the content and the system takes care of making the HTML for you.  There are templates you can use to get the display you want all you have to do is enter your content.

Pretty easy stuff, you select how you want to build your website and you are all up and running with your website.  Now you one of the millions and millions of websites and blogs on the Internet.  If all you want is to write your blog or get your ideas out your are up and running, but if you want people to find your website and use some unique techniques to make your website one of the great sites on the web stay tuned, this are the things I will be discussing here.  This is my attempt to explain the things I have learned over the last 8 years of web building.

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