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Links to great web resources and answers to frequently asked questions about how to improve your website.
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How long does it take to set-up a website?
A simple free to build content based website with links, pictures, and adverts will take less than a week to set-up. This is includes getting listed on search engines and obtaining your own domain name. Although your site will be listed on search engines, it may take a couple of weeks before the search engine is properly calibrated to the key words from your website.
A simple free to build product sales based website with links, product pictures and descriptions and ability for users to purchase goods online could take less than two weeks to set-up. This includes getting listed on search engines, obtaining your own domain name, setting up secure payment method (e.g. a method of encrypting information sent over your website such as SSL, plus pay pal) and simple method for processing purchases. Although your site will be listed on search engines, it may take a couple of weeks before the search engine is properly calibrated to the key words from your website.
A free to build blog: I suggest using Wordpress - this is the website I have used for the www.improveyourwebsiteforfree.com blog and it comes highly recommended. You can get started in 10 minutes.
You can spend months adding numerous extras, e.g. feedback forms, e-trolleys / e-carts, credit card payments, dynamic links. If you are starting out, I would suggest keep it simple - at the very least you need good content and / or products. Once you have this and have started to attract some traffic / sales to your website, you can then spend time adding extra functionality.
You should investigate services you need to pay for, just to see what is out there. You can set-up your website for free (and there is loads of advice on this site), but it will take longer to do and potentially be of a lesser quality. If you have some free time, you can do it, but if you want to focus on your core business you may need to use some pay services.
You can see how long it took to set-up this website by visiting my blog
What should be my first steps to begin building my website?
- decide on your budget
- set yourself some goals, e.g. 10 visitors per day after one month. £10 advertising revenue per month after 6 months.
- start writing content for your website
- decide on which web package you want to build your website with - if your budget is zero you can use various free programs, or some free webhosts will have packages included.
- bag yourself a domain name
- begin building your website
- read up on ways to drive traffic to your site. My favourite free resource for SEO ideas and ways to increase traffic to your website: Getting Hits - improve your website ranking
What programming languages can I use to build a website? What is the best code to build and design a website? How long will they take to learn?
I would suggest learn html, css and php - use simple free code as a starting point to understand the basics:
- HTML: Used as the basic building blocks for websites. To understand how to put some text in paragraphs, bold text, have titles and links should take less than an hour. You can just write html in notepad but there are plenty of free online programs, e.g. I have used NoteTab light.
- CSS: Say you have 10 html files, they can all include text which points to one css file to define different 'styles'. The styles are basically colours, type / size of text, layout of text (e.g. boxes with borders) etc. So the styles may be between one and twenty+ lines of text in your css file, and you can then just use one or two lines in all your html files to use the style. Basic CSS will take longer than basic HTML to learn, but you can pick up some basics in a few hours. Currently the most popular book on Amazon about CSS and HTML: Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML
- PHP: Much more advanced than HTML and CSS, PHP can be used to extract information from a database to publish on your website. For example, if someone posts some feedback on your website this will be uploaded into your database. The next time someone visits the website, the php code will re-read what is in the database and the feedback can be displayed. An example of a database system you can use is MySQL. Currently the most popular book on Amazon: PHP and MySQL Web Development (4th Edition). PHP would take a week or more to get to any sort of basic level with.
The best website I have found which helps you learn different web-programming languages for free is w3schools. If you're serious about developing your website for free and whether you know nothing or a lot about building a website, you should spend time trawling through this website. My favourite part is how you can adjust the examples of code they provide to instantly see what impact the changes you make have.
Who provides the best domain name and webhosting service? We used 123-reg. The service has been excellent, and I used the service helpdesk and got responses within 24hours.
Search for webhosting:
- What services do I need for my website e.g. webhosting, email, SSL, instant site etc...
- Other web programming languages
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