There are several elements that go into building a website and thousands of websites talking all about it. It’s really easy to get lost in the noise so I’m going to walk you through a quick game-plan for deciding on the basic building blocks for your site. This is the type of guide that I wish I had when I started my first website, so I hope it will help!

Tools of the Trade

First things first. You need to decide which tool to use to build your website. The internet is full of awesome platforms and tools you can use to make building your site a breeze. Most of these tools are either in the Content Management System or Website Builder category. Each serves a different purpose, so let’s quickly go over those.

Content Management Systems: A content management system will give you a very robust and flexible set of possibilities for your site. It may be a little bit tougher at the start to figure out how exactly a CMS works, but most think that it’s worth it. A CMS will have plugins for just about any functionality you need to add to your site. You can even add a plugin to make your building experience more like a WB interface. Using a CMS will ensure that you can power whatever site you can dream up.

Website Builders: Website Builders usually have a simple interface offering a drag and drop experience. They’re easier to get the hang of, and a bit easier to get your site to look exactly like you want from the UI. The downside of using a WB is that they aren’t really designed to power sites that are more than about 30 pages. If your site is purely informational and doesn’t need a cart feature, a simple website builder could work for you.

Claiming your Space

After you’ve thought about how you want to build your site you can proceed to choose a hosting package and a domain name. Many website builders roll website hosting and sometimes even domain purchase into their packages. There are also some hosting companies that roll domain and hosting together. But if you want to choose the hosting package, domain and building platform you can definitely do them all separately.

Hosting: You want to find a hosting package that will meet the needs of your site. Think about how much content you’ll have, how many visitors, how much server space you want to yourself and if you’ll need any managed services.

Domain Name: Purchasing a domain name is pretty simple as long as your domain name is unique. There are plenty of sites out there, so you just have to pick an available domain that suits your brand. This can be quite a challenge! If you’re having trouble finding your perfect domain name, you may be able to find the right one using a different top-level domain (TLD) than the traditional .com.

Rolling it all Together

If you went with a website builder in the first step, you should be ready to go. Just start building that site to your heart’s content!

If you went with a CMS, you have a couple extra steps to take before you can start building your empire. Also, if you purchased hosting and a domain separately you’ll need to link them together.

Link your Host and Domain: There are tons of great step-by-steps on how to do this in great detail. In short, you need to get a list of the servers that your host uses, then enter them in your registrar settings for your domain. This shouldn’t prove to be too difficult, just make sure you keep your usernames and passwords handy.

Install your CMS: If you picked an awesome web host, installing your CMS should be an extremely easy process especially if you’re using WordPress. If you chose to use another CMS, follow the directions for installation on their respective websites. I hate to say it, but you’re kind of on your own here!

Build Build Build! You’re ready to go! With your CMS based website, the world is now in your hands. Go get ’em, tiger!