My first website, what do I do?

There are many ways to set up a website, with bespoke template websites sold online, that can get something ‘Live’ straight away, to employing someone (or learning yourself) to write code.


As a Graphic Designer and Web Designer for 20 years, I’ve seen people come at this question, in various ways and can end up being a costly exercise.


My advice is to ‘Keep it Simple’ and follow the instructions below




1) Set up two areas of server space.


One area, for your ‘Live’ website. And one for the second phase of your website. The second phase of your website is the one that will be under construction, and will on your ‘Dev Server’.


Straight away, gives you control on your decisions. The server space needs to belong to you, a lot of packages/developers will host your website on their server; this is wrong.


The problem is, you are giving someone else the control of your Domain and Ownership of your website, which can end up being costly, and very hard to move away in the future.


2) Set up your homepage on your ‘Live  Server’ space and get your e-mail set-up


Once, you have chosen your hosting service provider for your server space.


The hosting provider usually has IT, staff, that can help you. You need to explain what you are planning to do, and they will help you get your e-mail going and may even supply you with a simple homepage.


If they don’t supply you with a homepage, you may want to ‘get technical’ and learn how to make a simple homepage yourself, by writing HTML and FTP to your ‘Live Server’ space.


If this isn’t your thing, maybe you could find a Freelance Designer/Developer (such as me!) to do this for you.


Or, find some of the many free homepage templates online, which you will need to FTP the file to your ‘Live Server’ space.


Trust me, this may not be what you are after, as in; ‘an all singing all dancing website’ ‘which is live now.


But, this can be achieved in weeks, rather than seconds, and will be worth doing it this way, as well as end up being, less hassle and stress in the future.


You should now have a homepage, that you can now advertise on your Business Card and Facebook page. Well done!


3) Start to think in phases, and start using your ‘Dev Server Area’ as a testing bed


The ‘Dev Server’ space means, it is not accessible on the internet, and IS PRIVATE; it can have password protection on it too for extra security.


Again, all these requirements A through the IT staff at your hosting service provider.


Now you have your homepage ‘Live’; you can sit back, and think about what you want from your website.


You may have already seen, some good options online (such as bespoke built websites). I would contact them and see if you can move your bought website to your ‘Dev Server’ space and work on it from there. If they don’t roll over easily, I would think again about going with them.


Again, I would revert, to my ‘keep it simple’ philosophy.

On your ‘Dev Server’ space, you can work on the ‘Phase 2’ of your website. I would aim to get five pages done and ‘Live’.


Such as the following pages:


  • Homepage
  • About us
  • Portfolio
  • Contact us
  • Most importantly, a blog will help your SEO and is vital.


Once this has been done on your ‘Dev Server’ space, and you are happy with it, you can then make it ‘Live’, by contacting you hosting server provider or employing a Web Designer.


Now you have got phase two ‘Live’, you can think of your next phase. Which may well be ‘the grand finale’ and ‘all singing….’ that’s up to you, as you have it under development and have a website ‘Live’ for your clients and customers to view.


I hope that helps!


Please check back to my blog of lots of useful tips and hints.

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