Planning

Just like building a house, a website will need some kind of blueprint design, this will combine your ideas with what is possible from an architect’s or in this case web designer’s side.
In this planning section we will take some simple steps to get the ball rolling… each step comes with videos and guides to assist you in the planning and preparation stage.

As mentioned in the Overview Page, we’ll make use of Open Source software to form the core of your website. These are known as Content Management Systems or CMS for short, which simply means that they allow you to login and add content, upload images, add pages and much more…
We’ll cover how to do all of that later on in the Tutorial Page, in this section we will just focus on registering and the look and feel of your website.

Step 1: Domain’s and Hosting.

You need two things in order to own a website in cyberspace:

A) Domain name

www.up1.co.za is this website’s domain name… which means, it’s the URL address you type into your internet browser to bring you straight here.

Loads of domain names have already been taken and aren’t available to register anymore, to see what domain names are available we make use of something called a domain checker.
This will help us find the right domain for you… for example you might have wanted to register the name magic.co.za, but by using a domain checker you’ll see that it is already registered by someone.
We can search again and see if magicshop.co.za, magicproducts.co.za, magicguy.co.za or something relating to the services you provide are available and register that instead.

Domain names aren’t owned, but rented on an annual base. If the owner of that particular domain does not renew it yearly, it becomes available to register by someone else.  I personally use a company called host4Africa to check up domain availability and even register them. You can click on the link below to visit them and make use of their domain checker, also be sure to check out the video for more information.

B) Hosting

If the domain name is the location people can visit on the internet, than hosting will be the physical house you keep your website’s files in, or to be technical… its hard drive space on a webserver you hire from a hosting company just like host4africa. Hosting packages come in all shapes and sizes depending on your needs.
Typical websites don’t need that much space and by properly using it… we can do a lot. Should the day come we need more space, we can always apply for an upgrade.

Domain names and hosting go hand in hand and most web hosting companies sell them as a package deal.  Make sure to check out the video link above for a more detailed explanation.  I can recommend host4africa to host your website as well, as they are cost effective, have a good support network and because I’ve been dealing with them for years, I know exactly what to expect from them.

Step 2: Layout and style.

Now that we’ve covered the domain, hosting and the registering of them, it’s time to talk about the look and feel of your website.  As mentioned before, I use open source software as the backbone of most websites, but the theme (the face) of your website is what visitors see on screen. There are no standards when it comes to designing a theme, but as a website can be a very time consuming undertaking… I took the most popular layouts styles, colour schemes, and other options and combined them to help point us in the right direction, please check out the links below for a guidance video, downloadable pdf and example links.

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