What You Need to Start Your Own Website

what you need to start your own website graphic with a web design, book, and people putting it together

Updated October 2024

Online tools and templates make it easier than ever to build a simple website without truly understanding its components. Business owners especially need to make informed decisions if they want a reliable, appealing website that is built to last.

Don’t rush through signing up for a stock website builder like Wix or WordPress, start here to learn what you really need to start your very own website including website ownership tips and the elements of a successful site.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to starting your own website. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the intricate components of a website, rather than rushing into using templated website builders like Wix or WordPress. The guide will walk you through key considerations for website ownership and the elements necessary for a successful long-lasting site.

Website Ownership: What You Own and What You Don’t

Before you start the process of creating your own website it’s important to understand that there are things that you can own and things you will need to rent.

Website Components You Can Own

When working with a web design company, be wary of contracts that claim ownership of assets or your site. You should gain the rights to your content, design, and code if you pay for their creation.

Website Components You Don’t Own

The 4 Things You’ll Need to Start Your Own Website

1: Rent a Domain Name

www. mywebsite mybusiness mydream .com

A domain name is your website’s address, like www.google.com. Users type in your domain name into their browser URL bar to visit your website.

Website owners lease the exclusive rights to a domain name from domain registrars. These companies register the website to your name, like paying your wireless carrier for your phone number. If you stop paying, you lose your domain and users cannot find your website.

Where should you buy your domain from?

It’s important to pick a reputable domain registrar with reasonable pricing and terms. Reputable registrars include:

  • GoDaddy
  • Google Domains
  • Domain.com
  • Bluehost

Some registrars offer domain names for free with their web hosting package, like Bluehost.

Beware of extra fees, especially for domain transfers. Quality domain hosts should charge no more than $20/month and make switching your domain to a different host easy.

Why it's important to have your own domain

Some hosts like WordPress and Wix will publish websites without unique domains:

  • yourwebsite.wordpress.com
  • yourwebsite.wix.com

Having your own domain (yourwebsite.com) is important for a number of reasons.

  • Reputability: If you are looking to run a serious website for a business, service, or blog, users will trust your site more if you have a unique domain name.
  • Branding: A unique website is memorable and easier to share in advertising.
  • Competition: If someone else buys out your domain, they could steal customers that search for you online.
  • SEO: Having your own domain name is important for establishing a brand presence and authority in search engines; helping you grow and rank in online searches.
  • Control: Posts on social media, forums, or other websites can be taken down anytime. Your domain gives you control over your content and how it will be seen.

Should your website company buy the domain name for you?

Many people think that they should let the website company take care of all the details. But that should never be the case with buying your domain name. You should always own your own domain name.

If you let a web design company buy the domain for you, here are some of the issues you might end up facing:

If you were building a house, you wouldn’t let the builder keep the keys. The house is yours to own and maintain. This is why we recommend all our clients keep and maintain ownership of their domain name.

In addition to owning your domain, you should purchase the domain for multiple years and make sure that you use an email account that you use often. If your payment lapses or you forget how to access your email, you will risk losing your domain.

illustration of a server and computer representing website hosting services

2: Web Hosting

Web hosting provides a physical or digital server to store and host your website. All of your website code and content must be saved to a host so other users can access it.

With different types of website hosts to choose from, it’s important to find a reputable host that suits your needs.

Some things to look out for when choosing a host are:

  • Up-to-date PHP levels. PHP is the server-side programming language used to store and retrieve your website data. PHP versions are supported for three years before they become unusable. Using the newest PHP versions ensures your website runs smoothly and without interruption in your hosting.

  • Your website host should use the most up-to-date version of cPanel to host your site smoothly without any errors. cPanel is a web hosting control panel with an online graphical interface (GUI) and automation tools to simplify server and site management.

  • Backups of your data are crucial for secure hosting. Quality web hosts offer full site backups in their packages. This way, if you (or a hacker) make adverse changes to your site, you can always revert to a saved older version of the site.

Make sure your website is secured with an SSL

An SSL, also known as a Secure Sockets Layer, is a kind of encryption that protects website data. SSLs are especially important when users input information, such as email addresses or credit cards, into your website.

SSLs encrypt any information that passes between a user’s browser and the server, adding a necessary level of protection against hackers.

In today’s online environment, every serious and reliable website needs an SSL to earn customers’ trust before collecting their information. It’s so important, that it’s become a ranking factor in search engines like Google and Bing.

At Website Design Austin Texas, we’re also a web hosting company. We provide affordable hosting services and free SSLs to every website hosted on our server.

illustration of website content

3: Invest in Your Website’s Content

Would you trust a website with typos or incorrect information? How about a website with little to no content? Most users wouldn’t, and for good reason.

The words on your website are key for earning user trust and interest. Just as your website design and security are built for a seamless user experience, so is your text.

Reputable sites offer quality content, which includes well-written and edited text that helps visitors understand who you are, where you are, and what you have to offer.

Website text is also crucial for strong search engine optimization (SEO), helping to improve your online presence. Using proper keywords, titles, links, and other SEO strategies will attract relevant users to your page, and quality text will keep them there.

Website Design Austin Texas has improved hundreds of websites’ search rankings with high-quality, optimized content and SEO Campaigns.

You might also be interested in: Can You Use ChatGPT To Write Your Website Content?

illustration of website security

4: Keep Your Website Secure & Maintained

Ongoing website security and maintenance are crucial for protecting your website and your customers.

Without proper security, hackers can break into important company or customer information – from names and addresses to credit cards. Even worse, a hacker could lock you out or shut down your site.

Before reaching such extremes, website security and maintenance are also crucial for regular user experience. Up-to-date and secure websites will load quickly without any broken pages or missing features.

In today’s competitive online environment, you need to offer the most seamless online experience to retain and convert users.

To Conclude

Creating a successful online presence entails more than just setting up a website. It’s about ensuring control over your domain, selecting a reliable web host, investing in quality content, and prioritizing your website’s security and proper maintenance.

By taking these steps, you not only protect your business and customers but also improve user experience and your website’s visibility in search engine results.

At Website Design Austin Texas, we understand these complexities and are committed to providing comprehensive solutions tailored to meet your specific needs. Together, we can build a robust, secure, and user-friendly website that will serve as a strong foundation for your online success.