From people in IT and outside, this is definitely the most frequent question I get asked in different forms. So, here I go…
What does a website compose of?
- The name which people use to open the website e.g. the the site you are on is www.setia.in where setia.in is called a domain name, in (the last part) is called a top-level domain (TLD) and www is a sub-domain. Once you buy a domain, you can create any number of sub-domains in it e.g. anurag.setia.in and anotherone.setia.in are perfectly legal sub-domains I can create
- The content which people see when they visit – a website can have a static set of pages which is like a marketing brochure containing textual and visual information which never changes on its own or a website can have varying form of dynamic content which could be universal e.g. stock prices or currently available products or user specific e.g. user’s account balance or emails in the folder etc
- The content is usually visually treated to look nice and uniform
- A hosting service where the content of the website resides
First step: Get a domain name
The first thing anyone needs to do is to identify and buy a domain name. There are numerous places on the internet where you can buy a domain name, www.domain.com and www.net4.in being a couple of them. The key thing is the choose a name relevant to the content and purpose of the website and the name being available in the market. For example, setia.in is not available in the market for anyone else to try and create their website with this name. Therefore, domain sellers provide you with a search function where you can search for your desired domain name, check its availability and buy, if available. Buying a domain name involves making a per annum payment for the domain name to a service provider which is in the range of INR 500 per annum and you can pay up to 10 years in advance.
Choose a domain name relevant to the purpose of the website.
Design & Content
Once you have found the domain name you desired, assuming you only want to display a set of static pages, you need to put together the content you want the visitors to see and have a professional give it some visual treatment by designing the website (and the logo) for you. You provide inputs like the color scheme, nature of content of the website, the purpose, the kind of visitors expected etc and decide on the design which fits best from the options provided to you by the website designer.
This is a one-time exercise usually unless you want to change the look and feel of your website periodically. Changing content or putting up new content also doesn’t usually involve designing for a small-scale website. Getting a logo and a small scale static website designed, where the designer provides you the final pages in HTML form to be put up live, can cost between INR 5,000 to INR 30,000 based on the skill level of the designer and the quality of his designs. For bigger websites, this cost can go up to unimaginable numbers.
For static websites where static content needs to be changed every now and then, there are content management systems available in the hosting space market and website designers are well equipped to translate their designs into themes and pages for these content management systems. However, I am assuming you don’t want to do that yet.
Now you have a domain name as well as a website designed and ready to be seen however, you need to now put this on the internet for everyone to see. This is how this works –
- You buy hosting space – again an annual cost, will provide you an IP address – address of the server which would host your website pages
- Put your pages, along with all the other stuff the designer provided you with i.e. css files, script files, images etc, on the hosting space in the appropriate path
- You tell your domain service provider to point your domain name to hosting space you’ve bought [technically, it involves updating A-record of your domain name to the IP address of your hosting space]
That’s it, you have your website up and running. You can now open your favorite web browser, point it to the url of your domain name and see it for yourself.
DO NOT expect it to show up top of the Google search results yet for your name or your domain name. It’s a subject for another time called Search Engine Optimization and you would have to work hard to make it there.