What Do You Need to Build a Website?

By Barb Nefer

  • Overview

    Whether you want to build a website for personal or business use, there are some things you will need before you can begin the process. If you have them ready, the building process will go much more smoothly.
    What Do You Need to Build a Website?
  • Types

    The main types of websites are business and personal. A business website is a site from which you plan to make money. The business may be centered around the website itself, or the website might be a complement to an existing business. For example, you might want to start an online travel agency or an online storefront to sell a certain product. Both of those are website-centered businesses. If you're already a business owner, you may want to put up a website to help people find your company more easily and to give them some basic information. This would be a complementary website. If you want to put up a site with personal information about yourself and your interests, hobbies, and activities, that would be considered a personal site. You need to know which type of site you want before it can be built.
  • Features

    Websites can be static, with one page or several pages of information that is meant to be read, or they can be interactive and allow visitors to make choices and complete tasks. The interactivity can be strictly for fun, such as playing a game or completing a puzzle, or it can have a purpose, such as allowing visitors to choose merchandise, place it into a virtual shopping cart and pay for it online. Before your website is built, you need to know the type of features you want to offer to your visitors.

  • Content

    The most basic websites consist of static text and photographs. However, there are many other content options such as animations, music and movie clips. You will need to decide on the content that you want for your website and how you will obtain it. Do you have articles and photos already, or will you need to create them yourself or hire someone else to do it? Will you link to videos on sites such as YouTube, or will you use your own? Content provides the building blocks for a website, so you must have your content ready before you build your site.
  • Creation

    In order to build a website, you need a way to actually create it. You may be able to do this yourself, or you may choose to hire a professional to do it. If you do it on your own, you may be able to use simple templates provided by the web host you choose. Just be sure that the templates will give you all of the functionality you need. If you need something more complex, you can use a software program like Dreamweaver or Flash if you are already familiar with it or are willing to learn. If you want complex function and don't want to do it yourself, you can hire a web designer to do it for you.
  • Testing

    Before you launch your website and consider it complete, you will need some testers. While you can skip this step with a personal site, it is absolutely critical for a business site. Testing can be as simple as sending the website address out to a group of friends and asking for their feedback. Choose people who will give honest comments, and ask them to follow every link and test out every bit of functionality. Never release your website to the general public without testing it first.
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