How to Build a Website From Scratch — All the Essentials
Published: August 26, 2021
In the hyper-connected digital world of today, a well-thought-out digital presence is invaluable. So, whether you’re operating a business, pursuing an artistic career, or launching your latest entrepreneurial effort, it has become essential to know how to build a website from scratch.
In the guide below, we’ll share our insight and knowledge of this skill to help you create a website and connect with your target audience. We’ll discuss the cost, design, hosting providers, choosing a domain name, and other important factors.
Building Websites from Scratch — The Essentials
Below we’ll go over some of the critical first steps that you should take to get started. For instance, it’s best to first check out some sites by brands you admire and think about the specific message you want your site to convey.
Do Your Homework, Map Out Your Goals
Before you start experimenting with different platforms, reviewing different templates, themes, or frameworks, you should research what’s currently working for others in the digital realm.
Moreover, you should establish your main goals for creating a website. What do you want to achieve? If you want to know how to create a successful website, you must first figure out the content and image you’d like to portray.
For example, if you’re building an eCommerce business and trying to be a part of the Shopify phenomenon, a blogging platform is likely not your best option. In other words, consider what you want your brand identity to be because it will influence every aspect of your website.
Setting Your Budget — The Cost of Building a Website
Once you’ve figured out what you want to do with your website, the next thing to do is to set your budget. How much does it cost to build a website?
To put it into actual numbers: if you go with a website builder, it can be as little as $6 a month. However, hiring a professional developer could be more than $6,000 upfront, plus another $1,000 per month. Of course, this all depends on how complex your site is and the features that it requires.
The time it takes to build it will also affect the project’s overall price. Therefore, to save yourself from unwanted headaches, it’s best to plan your needs and desired functions according to your budget.
Website Building Basics — Custom Vs. Premade
Before you begin, you’ll first need to decide whether to hire a developer for something unique or use a website builder that allows you to mix and match different themes and functionalities.
The average cost to build a website will depend on which of these options you choose. There are pros and cons for both, and we’ll briefly discuss them in the following text.
In short, with a custom website, you get everything you need: the design, the site layout, and the functions tailored to your taste and style. However, if you want to keep the cost to build and maintain a website low, this is probably not your best option.
In comparison, if you let a professional development team handle your project, you’ll get a fully custom result that best suits your online goals. Plus, they’ll likely take care of hosting and maintenance.
If you go with the premade template option of an intuitive website builder, you’ll sacrifice uniqueness. But, if you build a website from scratch with this approach, you can save precious time and money.
In the end, it’s up to you, your budget, and your business goals as to whether you go custom or use premade templates.
Choosing Your Domain Name and Software
When people begin building a webpage from scratch, they tend to focus on the technical aspects and disregard other essential elements. For instance, choosing a domain name should be a priority, as it will be your actual address on the web. A good tip is to keep it short, memorable, and easy to spell.
There are several ways that you can purchase a domain name. For example, if you use a website builder software, they’ll most likely supply you with one at no extra cost. You can also look for deals with the best and cheapest hosting providers.
Once you’ve chosen your domain name, it’s time to decide on a website software option. Creating a website from scratch doesn’t have to be a tedious process, especially if you’re looking for something simple.
Intuitive website builders, such as Wix, Hubspot, or Zyro, are viable options and supply everything you need, from blogging platforms to business sites and eCommerce systems. Furthermore, they take care of the technical aspect allowing you to focus on content and design.
You can also opt for a Content Management System (CMS), like WordPress. Programming a website from scratch can be difficult. But, with a quality CMS, you can easily edit your content with very little coding knowledge.
WordPress is an open-source platform, meaning that anyone can modify, enhance or inspect the source code. So, if you’re tech-savvy and want to design a unique website from scratch, it can also be a superb tool to help you achieve this.
Prepare Your Content and Choose Your Themes and Plugins
Once you’ve settled on a website builder, the next step in the process for building a website is to get your content (written and visual elements) in order. It’s crucial to have these materials prepared and updated before you publish your site.
It’s essential to have a strong foundation of visuals (videos or photos) and written content that will benefit and interest your viewers. Quality over quantity is a rule of thumb here! Furthermore, we recommend presenting your most refined and up-to-date work from the get-go.
It’s advisable to regularly go back and update your content to keep your viewers enticed and let the search engines know that you’re still relevant. What you post on your site should complement your main objective and remain valid to your brand’s message.
Next up, themes and plugins. Building a profitable website means that it functions correctly and aligns perfectly with your business objectives, not to mention the latest web design standards. Because of this, you need to choose your theme and plugins wisely. Ideally, you’ll want them to reflect your attitude and serve your business goals.
Build a Better Website by Previewing and Testing
At this point, you’re all set with your page’s content, plugins, themes, and so on. It’s time to launch, right? Well, not exactly. In order to build a responsive website from scratch, it’s imperative to preview the entire site to ensure that everything looks correct and that it functions properly.
It’s also a good idea to double-check your grammar and spelling with a quality grammar checker, ensure that every button is working and that the formatting is consistent. Moreover, you should check for bugs, inspect loading speed, page responsiveness, etc.
This process should be thorough and precise. You don’t want to do this haphazardly and not entirely by yourself. Another pair of eyes and a second opinion will always help you find mistakes that otherwise might have gone unnoticed.
It’s Time to Go Live
After you’ve managed to build a beautiful website, it’s time to launch it. Remember, even after publishing a website, you can still make a few tweaks from the back-end and update it when needed.
Now that your site is live, you can focus on generating traffic, marketing, and building a strong web presence. Depending on the website builder you’ve chosen or the agency you’ve hired, there are marketing tools and services to help develop your online business even further.
Building a successful website can be very challenging and even a bit overwhelming for many people. Luckily, there are many online resources and tutorials to help you get started. We hope that our guide and tips will get you on your way to doing so.
All in all, learning how to build a website from scratch is a worthy endeavor. Plus, having a basic understanding of the process, adding a personal touch, and knowing how to update your site are great ways to create an online brand identity and attract your intended audience.
How much does it cost to build a website from scratch?
It can cost as little as $6 a month using a basic online web builder, such as Wix. However, hiring a professional developer could set you back more than $6,000 upfront, plus another $1,000 per month.
Typically the average cost of building a website is around $200 with a monthly fee of $50 to maintain it. Of course, this all depends on how complex your site is and the features that it requires.
Is it better to build a website from scratch?
Many people would argue that it most certainly is better to build a website from its inception.
A lot of perks come with learning how to build a website from scratch. Whether you achieve this by using your own acquired knowledge or with help from an intuitive website builder, it’s beneficial to be involved in the whole process. Then you can add your personal touch to the site’s overall style and possess the know-how to maintain it.
How do I start a website from scratch?
As already mentioned above, every successful project starts with figuring out the chief purpose of your website and setting a budget. This way, you quickly realize your best option in terms of development and features.
How hard is it to build a website from scratch?
Learning how to build a website from scratch can be extremely difficult and take years of studying code and graphic design. However, many online tools are available today to help you build a decent, affordable, and customizable website without any prior knowledge.