Friday, October 06, 2006
So you have browsed the web for a while. Seen what is available on the internet and what you can do with it. Now you want to make your own website or want to improve an existing one. This article features the various tips and tricks for development and maintenance of a fully featured website.
Before building a website you should know the purpose of the website. Start by planning about the content and features of your site. Depending upon it, choose a language to program it. If you just need a simple content based site programming in HTML/DHTML would serve the purpose but for a site which require user to input information and to save it you need to use server-side programming languages like PHP, ASP, CGI, SSI, JSP and database support like MySQL, MS-SQL, MS-Access.
Domain Name & Hosting
Once you have planned the website, its time to choose a domain name and a web hosting service. A domain name should be easy to remember and should depict the topic of the website. There are many websites which register a domain name for a fee. If you want a domain name which is already registered you can use the Whois Lookup service to find out the owner of the domain.
After registering the domain name you should register with a web server which would host your site. To choose a web hosting service keep in mind the features you require and the programming languages you would use. Also, estimate the amount of space you would require. Usually, there is a fee depending on the features and the space you need. But there are many servers who provide you free hosting, generally placing advertisements on your website.
You can check some hosting providers here.
Before actually designing the website you should organize the contents of your website. See what content comes where, what should be the sections and sub-sections, where should the user enter the site. The page through which the user enters the website is known as homepage and is generally named as 'index.htm' or 'index.html'.
Now, start designing the pages of your website. While designing the pages keep in mind the consistency in design of all the pages. All pages should have the same colour scheme and a similar layout. Also, they should contain links to all major sections of your website.
Uploading the Files
All set with your website, its time to upload the file on the internet for others to view. There are many ways to upload the files which vary according to your webhost. An FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is the best and the easiest way to upload your files. Just copy and paste your files on the webserver. Most hosting providers provide you with an easy to use Control Panel to upload files and manage your website. Helm (for Windows) and cPanel (for Linux) are some of the good ones.
Before spreading the word about your website you should test the performance of your website. Check all links on your website. Check the appearance of your site under different browsers, internet connections and monitor resolutions. If your website uses databases and server-side scripting, check the performance of your script thoroughly to provide a good user experience.
Spreading the Word
Once your website is ready to use its time to spread the word. There are many ways to do so. You must submit your websites to popular search engines or use services to do so. Try to exchange links of your website with other webmasters. It would help you increase your rankings. Also, post a link to your website in common interest newsgroups, forums, directories etc. You can also try some PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ad programs in which you pay for the number of hits you get. Also other conventional advertising methods like newpapers, television, banner ads etc. may be used.
This is the most important part for running a successful website. You must check that your content and design is upto date. Update your website regularly. See what your competitors are offering and try to stay ahead of them. Survey your visitors about their experience on your website and always try to improve.
Monetizing Your Website
You would have worked hard to design and develop your website. So, why not make some bucks from it. Many commercial establishments would pay you for linking to their website. You may register with ad programs like Google Adsense, which display ads relevant to the content of your website. Also, many sites offer affiliate programs, which pay you high commissions if your visitors buy their products.
P.S.: This is an year old article written by me, modified to sublit for the college magazine. The old version is available here.