Total Newbie's Complete Guide to Setting up a Website

By popular demand, this guide has been expanded, and moved to its own website. Please visit my Website Setup Guide, to see full instructions on how to create a website.

From my experience as a professional web designer, there's a huge number of people who know nothing about web design. They just want to set up a website, but they have no idea where to start. If this is you, then this guide is what you're looking for.

This guide goes through the entire process of setting up a website, step by step. It also has useful advice for beginner web designers.

Press Ctrl+D now, to bookmark this page for future reference.

This guide just shows you the basics of setting up a website. It doesn't deal with graphics or Photoshop, or learning how to do web design in any kind of efficient manner.

Once you have a basic site up, you've gotten over the hurdle. You can learn the rest as you go.

1 – Choosing a domain name

By popular demand, this guide has been expanded, and moved to its own website. Please visit Website Setup Guide to learn how to create a website.

Your website domain name needs to be simple and obvious. Ask people to guess what your domain name is. Take the most common answer, and use it as your domain name.

Country-specific domain names (like .ca or .au) often carry more requirements, and can cost more. Only use these if your business is a bricks and mortar business, tied to a specific country.

Use a dot com domain name, unless you're an organisation, in which case, you should use a .org domain name. Never use .biz, .ws, .info, or other similar domain names. They say "I'm dodgy/cheap", or "someone serious took my .com domain name."

2 – Web hosting

As well as registering a domain name, you'll need to pay for space to actually put your website on. You should get your domain name and buy web hosting at the same time, from the same place. This means you don't have to "link" them together afterwards.

PowWeb is currently offering a cheap web hosting plan to new signups, so the first twelve months only cost $3.88 per month, which is around half price. Visit PowWeb and have a look. Note: I'm no longer using PowWeb.

3 – A web page editor

To actually create a web page, you'll need a web page editor. The most popular is Adobe Dreamweaver. Many people use Microsoft Expression Web (which comes with Microsoft Office 2007 onwards) or the outdated Microsoft FrontPage, which is similar, and comes with earlier versions of Office.

4 – Setting up a website, in Dreamweaver or Expression Web

Once you've bought a domain name and web hosting, and you have a web page editor, you'll need to use your web page editor to create a website.

This is a list of how to perform the most basic tasks needed in setting up website, in either Adobe Dreamweaver, or Microsoft Expression Web. If you use another website editor, these instructions may not exactly match.

In Expression Web, click the little "Design" button at the bottom. Click the Task Panes menu, and make sure Folder List is ticked.

Start by creating a new website.

Create a new site Click Site > New Site
Click the "Advanced" Tab.
Click "Local Info".
Type a name (can be anything) in the "Site name" box.
Type in your site's address (i.e. in the HTTP address box.

Click "Remote Info"
Click "Access", and choose "FTP".

From the email you got from your web host, fill in the FTP host, Host Directory (this will be htdocs/ if you're with PowWeb), Login, and Password boxes.
Tick "Use Passive FTP".
You can click the Test button, to make sure everything's working. If not, contact your web host.
Press OK.
Click File > New.
Click the "Website" tab.
Click OK.
Create a new page Right-click in the Files window, and click New File. Right-click in the Folder List window, then click New > HTML.
Rename a page Click on it twice, in the Files window.
The main page of your site should be index.html
Click on it twice, in the Folder List.
The main page of your site should be index.html
Edit a page Just start typing on your blank page. Just start typing on your blank page.
Open your site
(to work on it again)
If it doesn't open by itself:
Click the little drop-down box, at the top of the Files window, and choose your site.
If it doesn't open by itself:
Click File > Recent Sites.
Then click on your site.
Insert a picture
If your picture is very large, you'll want to resize it, in an image-editing program. If you're using Windows, even Paint will do. It's in Accessories, on the Start Menu.
Drag it in. Click "Yes" if it asks you to copy the file in.
(Or click Insert > Image.)
Just drag it in, from Windows Explorer.
(Or click Insert > Picture > From File.)

Make text into a link Select the text, then right-click on it, and click Make Link.
Choose the page to link to, or type in a website address.
Select the text, then right-click on it, and click Hyperlink.
Choose the page to link to, or type in a website address.
Insert an email address Click Email Link, in the Insert window. Just type it in.
Put the site on the internet
(or update it with changes you've made)

In the Files window, click the folder at the top (or just one file), and click the little "Put Files" icon. It's an arrow, pointing upwards. Click File > Publish Site.
Choose FTP.
From the email you got from your web host:
Fill in the Remote Website Location and the FTP Directory (this will be htdocs/ if you're with PowWeb).
Click OK.
Put in your username and password. (Also from the email.)
At the bottom right of the screen, click Publish Web Site.
If this doesn't work, or you can't find some of this information, contact your web host.
Insert a table (optional)
A table is a grid. You can insert pictures, or type in the boxes (cells) in the table. Try it out.
Click "Table" in the Insert window. Click Table > Insert Table.

5 – How do I get more visitors / how do I get a higher Google ranking?

Make a bigger and better site.

If you have a bigger and better site, people will be more likely to link to you from their sites. People will follow these links, and come to your site. Also, Google sees these links as a "vote of confidence" in your site. Links from quality sites will be worth more, if you can get them.

Don't bother with tricks or short-cuts. Google is constantly cracking down on people who try to exploit its system. In the long run, there's really only one way to have your site become more popular, and that's by making it bigger and better.

6 – Selling products online

PayPal is the biggest online transaction system. It also accepts online credit card payments. If you plan to sell products online, you really have to accept PayPal. Many buyers only use PayPal, and don't have a credit card (or don't want to apply for a credit card). Click here to visit PayPal.

Tutorials | Articles | Templates | Website | Help | About