Building websites is very important for owners of projects and stores, and the absence of a website for an institution, store or company is almost unbelievable in our time, everyone has websites to symbolize his commercial or institutional activity. Websites allow people around the world who are interested in your business to visit it, get to know you and what you do, and possibly even order some services and purchases from your site or store.
Building websites – opposite to common – is easy and not really difficult. This is important because numerous employers and owners of small and medium enterprises think that building websites is a difficult task that requires specialized companies and developers, but we will see that it is easier than a drink of water and you can do it yourself.
Web Development Basics
We will first learn about some foundational concepts about building and developing websites. There are some knowledge and terms that we must understand before we start building our website.
What types of websites can you build?
“Website” is a collective name for the many different classifications of digital presence that your activity can achieve on the network. These sites may be:
- Store sites: where you aim to display products to customers while they browse and contact you to order, and they may even order your products directly and make the payment through the website itself (this is common and default). The most famed example of this is Amazon.
- Service sites: sites that offer services in a particular field to visitors, or help them solve some simple tasks such as converting multimedia formats, writing over the network, compressing images, etc.
- Information Display Sites: Simple sites that display content in the form of articles and pages about your company or business, useful for companies that want to showcase their services, for example, to targeted visitors on the network and attract more of them to associate with them and learn about them.
- Blogs sites: Blogs are sites that specialize in displaying renewable content that may be particular to a specific field or several fields. Blogs may be personal (i.e. belonging to only one person and under his name) and may be collective blogs in which more than one writer participates to publish different types of content and attract visitors.
- Content sites: sites specialized in publishing content in a field. The difference between them and blogs is that blogs are often a simple, non-professional personal effort that does not seek to publish large amounts of content or attract vast numbers of visitors, and blogs often publish irregularly and in various fields, while content sites are professional and have frameworks, goals and particular numbers that you want achieved.
- Encyclopedia sites: Just like Wikipedia, you can create an encyclopedia site in a specific field to gather all information related to that field.
There are many other classifications of websites and there is no room to limit them.
Is building websites difficult?
Building websites is not a difficult process, opposite to what numerous people think.
Once you understand the basics of website building and after you build your first website, you will find that the whole process takes no more than two hours to create a basic web-accessible website.
What takes time and effort building websites is the customization and content building processes often; Where you may need to change the site’s themes, install some extensions, publish articles and pages about your company or business to visitors, and then display all of this in a beautiful, organized way for visitors to interact with the site.
But this varies from one site to another and from the requirements of one company or organization to another. The time required to set up a site for a giant company with 1,000 employees, for example, is not the time needed to set up a small personal blog or an online store.
In general, the process is easy and does not require the agency of companies or waste a lot of resources and time; You can even understand it and do it yourself whether you want.
Let’s go over some basic concepts about website building and the terminology we will need.
A server is a computer that has the necessary capabilities to host visitors and users. Often the server is connected to the Internet, but servers can also operate locally without an Internet connection (Local Server). For example, you can convert your personal computer to a native server, but it will not be appropriate to transfer it to a production server to host your site, for example, because a number of technical requirements such as 24/7 connectivity, stability of resources, electricity, etc. are matters that may not be available in your personal computer .
An IP address is an address on the Internet through which a server can be accessed in order to browse the contents of that server at that address. Just like the real addresses of each of us (neighborhood, building number, street name, floor, house number…) the IP addresses are distributed and divided between different countries. An address like 126.96.36.199 refers to Turkey, which means that the server is physically located in Turkey (unless it uses a proxy to operate).
Domain Name is the text name by which the preceding IP address can be accessed. The need arose because we don’t want to remember the long IP address every time we want to open different websites from the web browser, we want easy names like google.com, youtube.com, etc. When you visit an address like google.com what actually happens in your browser is that you are automatically converted to an IP address like 188.8.131.52, so you don’t need to remember that long address yourself, you don’t even need to see it.
To do this, the need arose for what is known as the Domain Name System , or DNS for short. It is the system that automatically associates domain names with the IP addresses of the servers.
Hosting is a set of resources that hosting companies often give to users in order to enable them to create their own websites on their servers. As individuals, we do not want to rent entire servers (the whole device), for example, as this is very expensive and immoderate for our needs. We only want parts of the resources of that server. That is why the need arose for hosting companies that rent parts of their servers to users for a monthly (or hourly) fee.
When the Internet revolution began, companies were giving you what is called shared hosting, which is a very small portion of resources shared with a number of other users to allow you to host your site. Now matters have developed and there is no longer a need for shared hosting, but most people are buying what is known as a virtual server (Virtual Private Server) , known as VPS, which is a separate part of the server with precisely specific resources that are not shared directly with other users, but rather resources that are entirely dedicated to you. You can get your own good virtual server for $5/month from most hosting companies.
Content Management System ( CMS) is an electronic system that can be installed on servers that allows website owners to create the websites they want. Some content management systems are specialized in a particular field, such as MediaWiki for creating encyclopedias, while others are general, such as WordPress, that can be used to create different types of websites. Content management systems differ among themselves in terms of features, speed, performance, protection, and other things that may make you prefer one over another.
Building a website
We will now move on to the practical steps for building websites after we have explained the most important basics of this field. Whether the above terms and concepts are too much for you and you want to deal with someone who does these work for you instead of doing them manually, you can hire freelancers through a freelancer websites like Fiver to perform the tasks you need.
Steps to build a website
Let’s quickly summarize what are the steps to building a website:
- Register with a hosting company that sells a VPS server, and create a VPS server to host the site on.
- Register a domain name like Example.com, and this could be either from the same company or another company, some companies sell hosting services and domain names, while some specialize in one of these two.
- Change the DNS addresses of the domain name to those of the hosting company.
- Connect the domain name to the server we created.
- Do any infrastructure services you want on the server (monitoring services, backups, security, DDoS attack prevention, etc.).
- Installing appropriate content management software to build our website on, and the necessary dependencies on it.
- Add the necessary content and customizations to the site.
It may seem a difficult list at first glance, but with practice and non-stop experimentation, the process from start to finish will not take more than two hours. What will only take longer than this is the content addition and customization processes, which as we explained vary depending on the size and goals of your site.
Building websites with WordPress
WordPress allows you to create all kinds of websites you can imagine, it is a very versatile content management system. You can use it to create personal blogs, online stores, corporate websites, service websites, and more.
And all this thanks to its system of plugins and themes; The huge number of tens of thousands of plugins and themes designed to perform different tasks makes everyone accept it, because all the required websites can be easily built with it.
You can install these plugins and themes from inside your site after you set it up and configure it to work, from the same control panel you can view and install these plugins in seconds.
You can also use the WordPress system to build online stores. Whereas, the popular WooCommerce extension allows you to turn your site into an online store where you can publish products and accept payments from buyers easily, and it is a free add-on.
There are other content management systems that specialize in creating stores, such as OpenCart . It is a free and open source system that allows you to create multiple stores for free once it is installed and set up on your server. You can also install some third-party add-ons for it to get more payment methods or additional features in general.
All other content management systems such as Drupal and Joomla can be converted to online stores as well by installing the appropriate plugins for them, and they are all free and open source, but the most popular option for producing stores is undisputed WordPress due to its popularity and large community size.
Building digital encyclopedias
Do you want to build an encyclopedia like Wikipedia in a specific field? Like an encyclopedia specializing in the agricultural field, for example, or the engineering field? You can also easily do this via MediaWiki ; It is the content management system used to create Wikipedia itself. That is, you will actually use the same system to create your encyclopedia, and it will look and feel very similar to Wikipedia.
There are other encyclopedia management systems, such as DokoWiki , and the latter has a smaller community size, but the way to deal with it is smoother and easier in the long run, and it is simpler to manage and deal with.
All of these systems are open source, and most of them work with PHP and MySQL, so once you have these dependencies installed on your server, you can install them and start using them directly.
In this article, we have reviewed the most important basics of website building and development, and we have also seen the most popular content management systems for creating various website rankings. We repeat once again that creating a website for your association or store is very important in our time, particularly in the time of the Corona virus, as everyone is forced to reduce their presence overseas and be satisfied with the digital presence.
The process is not difficult and it is inexpensive, and once you get used to it, creating a website becomes very easy.