Hi, I'm Michael McAndrew. I'm a web designer and the creator of Corrib Digital. If you are looking for someone to design a website for you, maintain or make changes to an existing website, purchase website hosting or even just find out information about creating an online presence, you've come to the right place!
If you are considering creating an online presence for yourself or you business, this is the page for you. I will cover everything you need to know about setting up your own website online. If you know what you're looking for, please feel free to visit any of the other pages on this website below.
What is a Website?
I always like to explain a website as your home on the internet. Everybody needs a home to live in and a website is like a home for yourself or for your business on the web. You may be part of many other web services such as social media sites or YouTube but it's very important that you have a place you can call your own, a place that doesn't belong to someone else or has somebody else's branding.
The great thing about a website is its vast number of uses. A website can be used personally, commercially, by governments or even by non-profits. Anyone can create a website and they can do whatever they want with it. That is what makes a website so powerful.
The World Wide Web, or what is more commonly known to us as the web, was created in 1990 by a British CERN physicist by the name of Tim Berners-Lee. While working for CERN he invented a way host a web page on the internet and view it on any other computer using what he called a web browser. And the first thing that he created on the web was a website. It was a simple, one page site, containing information about how the World Wide Web worked.
Today everyone can create a website of their own with pages, images, videos or whatever they want!
Why Shouldn’t You Make a Website?
I'm going to play the devils advocate for a minute and talk about some of the reasons why you wouldn't or shouldn't make a website.
As a web designer I get many people who claim that they cannot make a website. I am talking to someone about how anyone can set up their own website these days and the first thing they say to me is 'I don't know where to get started!'.
Another popular one is 'It seems so complicated to set up a website'. They are very valid points. Some other things to consider are that maybe a website doesn't suit your needs. Do you really even want a personal website? Is a website the best option for your business? Another thing to consider is that you are potentially one of over one billion other people with a website around the world.
The thing is that everybody has their own opinion as to the best way to make a website. All you want to know is which way is the best way for you to set up your website based on what you want it for and what your budget is. In this post I will hopefully try to answer that and convince you that the pros of creating a website greatly outweigh the cons.
A website could be one the best things you could do for your business. There are over two billion people who use the internet worldwide and if you could even capture a very small percentage of those users it could be very beneficial for your business.
I think that every business, no matter what it is, should have a website. Why? When I discover a new business the first thing I do is I Google them. If they don't have a website I question their professionalism. Even if your business does no business online I believe it's important that you have a web presence so that people discovering you for the first time can find out more.
Where Do I Start?
We've covered what a website is, why you should create a website and even why you shouldn't create a website. Now you want to get started and create your own website. Where do you start? This question is a little bit difficult to answer but I will try to break it down into manageable sections for you.
Before we get started there are two terms associated with building websites that you need to know. They are pretty easy to understand and will only take a minute to explain.
A home needs to have an address so that anyone who wants to visit can find it. The same applies for a website. On the internet world a website address is called a domain name. Everyone who has used the internet have come across domain names. Google.com. Yep, that's a domain name. This website has a domain name too; corribdigital.com.
Anyone who has built their house knows that they need to find a site to build on first. You buy a site based on how big you plan on building your house. The bigger the house, the bigger the site. The same applies for a website. You need some place to put your website. The bigger you plan on making your website, the larger the hosting. The hosting is normally space on a computer connected to the internet that is set up in a special way. The technical term for this is a server but you don't need to worry about that for the moment.
Before you even think about the actual creation process of your website there are a few things to consider.
The first is what you want to achieve from your website? Just write down on a piece of paper what your website is for and what your main goals for the website are. What is it that you want to get out of this website?
The second thing is the domain name for your website. This is your website name such as google.com or my site name corribdigital.com. You need to come up with your own name for your website. A domain name is extremely important. Like a house address, a domain name is the way that people will find your website. Some tips for picking a domain name are:
- 1. Keep it short and sweet.
- 2. Make sure that it describes what your website is about.
- 3. A memorable domain name sticks in peoples minds for longer. Keep that in mind.
The third is content. Content is probably the most important part of your website. If your website does not contain quality content, what use is it? A typical example of simple website would one or two pages with a paragraph or two about the business and contact details. That's no good to anyone! These days that's just not enough.
For The DIY Master
If you are the kind of person who likes to make repairs to the house yourself or service your own cars, this option is for you. This option is for the person who may not know much about creating websites but who is eager to learn something new.
If you are a DIY master you are lucky. There are many free and paid build-your-own website services out there now. They make it super easy to get your very own website up and running in minutes.
There are loads of different companies that provide these services. I'm just going to name a few:
These websites make it so easy to set up your own website and many of them are free to set up a basic account. All you have to do is go to their website and sign up. Easy as that. If you have set up an email account before you can set up your own website. Once you have created your website there are extensive tutorials as to how you can customise your site and make it look unique.
This option might sound like a no-brainer. However, there are some caveats. Many of these build-your-own website services claim that it is completely free to set up your very own website. That is true to a certain extent. I am a strong believer that there is nothing truly free in this world except for charity. This is a perfect example.
These build-your-own website services put their branding on your website. An example of this is your domain name. A normal website has a domain name of example.com. However, a domain name with wordpress.com for example is example.wordpress.com. So the domain name that you get has wordpress.com branding. Another example of this is that they put banner advertisements on your website for other products and services. You end up having to pay a lot of money to use your own domain name and to remove the ads.
I recommend that you keep the pros and cons in mind and try these services out. See if they work for you. Personally, my two favourite build-your-own website services are wordpress.com and squarespace.com.
For Irish Businesses
A few years ago the Irish government has set up an initiative to try to get all small Irish businesses online. The website is gettingirishbusinessonline.ie and they claim to give you a website free of charge. They give you a free domain name with no other branding and they also provide a website builder which makes it very easy for you to set up your website yourself.
This is a great option if you have a small business and your looking to set up your own website. I have set up many of these websites in the past. All you need to do is go to the website and sign up.
I have had a lot of experience with this service in the past. First of all, it's very important to understand that you get website hosting for one year only. After that you must pay an annual fee. Although the annual fee is quite low it's something I feel isn't made clear on the website and is something you should keep in mind. I have also had a lot of experience with the web builder. It seems quite intuitive at the beginning but you may start to notice some limitations as you continue to customise your site.
Considering that you must pay after the first year and the website builder isn't great it mightn't be such a great option after all. Again if you think this might work for your needs by all means try it out. It could be just what you were looking for. I just can't personally recommend it.
For The Rest of Us
There's great news. If you don't want the hassle of setting up your own website yourself then this option is the one for you.
Hiring a web designer could be the best thing you've ever done. I'm not just saying that because I'm a web designer. A web designer has many years experience in website creation and they all the right things to do. They know all of the tricks of the trade.
If you don't have time to build your own website a designer will take care of all of the set up for you. All you need to do is provide them with an overview of what you want and the content for your website. They will handle the rest.
How Much is too Much?
Although this option is really great if you don't have enough time, patience or know how there are a few things to watch out for. Some web designers can rip you off. So how do you know when your getting ripped off? It can be hard to tell but I can honestly say that if you're getting charged thousands of euros for a simple website you are absolutely getting ripped off.
What the Pros Do
You might be wondering how the pros do it? How do the professionals set up a website for someone? Well what they do is they will set you up with a web hosting plan and they will get you to buy your domain name. Then they will configure your website. Much of the web designers work will be coding to get the website to look the way that they want.
In this article I won't go into detail about how to set up a website like a web designer but I will be posting one in the future so keep an eye out for it if you are interested.
I want to thank you so much for reading this article. I hope it helped you to get started on your website creation journey. If hiring a web designer is the right option for you, you can email myself, Michael McAndrew at: email@example.com and we can get started building your website today.
If you want to find out more about my website design and development services you can check out my information page by clicking the button below.