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    How to create a website from scratch

    Who I am
    Aina Martin
    @ainamartin
    Author and references

    Preliminary information

    As you will certainly have read, for the creation of a website, a more or less in-depth knowledge of some programming and / or scripting languages ​​is generally required: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP e SQL they are only a few. Furthermore, very often, it is necessary to have knowledge in the field of Web graphics, in order to be able to create sites that are not only functional, but also beautiful.



    To create a website that is on average complex, even more developers may be needed who, coordinating themselves, are able to reach the final result: the developer of the Back-end, ie the “internal” engine of the site and its dynamics, and the developer dedicated to front-end, i.e. the external part of the site and how it is viewed from the outside.

    How do you say? Are you already starting to panic, because not only do you have no knowledge in the world of programming (or you have very little), but you just don't know who to turn to to shape your project?

    I can reassure you right away: as I already mentioned in the opening bars of this guide, there are a large number of platforms, including free, preconfigured and ready to use, which allow you to create a professional or personal website within little time and, above all, efficiently and without the need to have previous knowledge on the subject.

    Such platforms usually include everything needed for create a website from scratch effectively.

    • Hosting - that is the space necessary to host the files that make up the website, together with the server already configured, able to make them operational.
    • Mastery - ie the possibility of creating a "literal address" through which to reach the site (eg. Configurehow.com). Usually, the paid solutions allow you to purchase entire second-level domains (ie the entire part that follows the "www"), while the free solutions affix the respective second-level domains, allowing you to customize, instead, the third part level (eg. nomesito.wordpress.com, where "nomesito" is the third level domain).
    • Database - generally, a database is useful for managing persistent site data (login information, posts made, periodic updates, and so on). Many platforms offer pre-packaged and ready-to-use databases, which do not require any kind of configuration.
    • CMS - or content management system, this is the system in charge of the actual development of the site. A CMS usually allows you to create an entire site in a simplified way, acting through Web applications with easy-to-use interfaces, able to structure, fill, update and modify "on the fly" the structure and pages of the site itself, without the need to have previous programming knowledge. In almost all cases, the CMS present in the creation platforms are already configured to correctly execute all the mechanisms of which the site is composed (database, PHP script and so on).

    When needed, it is also possible to obtain these elements separately, by purchasing a paid hosting (already set up to host an Internet site), together with a second level domain, on which to install a CMS manually. This solution, however, is more complex and unsuitable for those who are not very familiar with the subject.



    How to create a website from scratch

    Having made the necessary clarifications above, the time has come to move on to the work and to explain to you how to create a website from scratch for free making use of platforms that provide preconfigured CMS, storage space for hosting the site and third-level domains.

    Google Sites

    Google Sites is one of the simplest free platforms dedicated to the creation of websites: in this case, the service - owned by Google - allows you to create a website in a couple of clicks, with a third-level domain sites.google.com.

    The strength of Google Sites is the strong integration with other Google services (e.g. AdSense advertising to monetize content, Analytics statistics and so on), as well as the easy-to-use interface, through which it is possible to create one or more web pages in a very short time. To use Google Sites it is essential to have a Google account: if you do not have one, you can easily create it by following the instructions I have given you in this guide.

    To create a website with the service in question, therefore connect to its main page and log in with your Google account, if necessary. If this is your first time accessing the service, click on the button OK and wait for the summary page of the sites in your possession (initially there shouldn't be any) to be completely loaded.

    When this happens, click on the button capacitor positive (+) lead located at the bottom right and, using the creation tool that appears on the side, start to shape your site: assign a name to the same, indicating it in the field Untitled site, and specify the page title, using the overlay toolbar, so you can format it however you like.



    Next, import aimage for the page you are about to create (button Change image) and, if you wish, modify the disposition, intervening on the item Header type. Now, if you wish to make a footer (i.e. a separate section displayed at the bottom of the site's pages), click the button Add footer and, after entering the text of your interest, format it with the tools provided.

    After this step too, you can proceed with the improvement of your site, using the tabs Enter, Pages Temi: the first allows you to add new content to the page currently being edited; the second allows you to create new pages on the site; the third, on the other hand, is used to modify the aesthetics of the website. It is not necessary to manually save the changes made, as they are automatically stored in Google Drive (without however affecting the available space).

    Once you have completed the creation of all the pages of the website, click on the icon of theeye located at the top to view a preview and, if you are satisfied with the work just completed, click on the button Public to start the actual publication of the site.

    Almost there: from the next screen, type the third level domain name you want to assign to the site, remove the check mark from the item Request public search engines not to show my site, if you want search engines to index it, and when you're ready, hit the button Public! The site thus created will be visible at the address https://sites.google.com/view/[nome].


    If you want to know more about creating websites through Google Sites, feel free to consult the in-depth guide I have created on the subject.

    WordPress.com

    Another very famous platform used for the creation of blogs and entire Internet sites based on the constant updating of contents is WordPress.com: in its free form, it provides a third level domain wordpress.com and a storage space of 3 GB, with limited personalization features and inability to monetize through banner ads.


    If you are interested in adopting this solution, connected to the official website of the platform, click on the button Create your site and subscribe to the platform by filling out the form displayed on the screen: then enter your data in the fields Your emailChoose a username Scegli a password e, infine, click on the button Create an account. Alternatively, click on the button Continue with Google to sign up using your Gmail profile.

    Then, answer the questions that are asked to you on the new page that opens, specifying the name to give to the site,topic and its primary objective. Therefore, indicate your level of experience in creating websites and, when you are ready, click on the button Continue.

    Almost there: on the screen Give your site an address, enter the name you want to appear in the URL, inside the field Enter a name and keyword, find the solution sitename.home.blog and click on the relevant item Select. To conclude, click on the item Get started with free and wait a few seconds for the site to be created.

    At this point, all you have to do is customize the website using the tools made available in the section Customize of the platform; if, on the other hand, you prefer to immediately start adding content / articles to the pages of your site, go to the section Articles.

    If you think that WordPress.com is right for you and you want to deepen its use, know that you can also subscribe to one of the paid plans of WordPress.com and remove many of the limitations of the free service or even download the CMS and install it on a purchased space separately. To learn more, feel free to consult my guide on how to create a blog with WordPress, my tutorial on how to customize a site with WordPress.com, my in-depth study dedicated to the CMS of the same name or one of my other specific guides on the topic.

    Shopify

    If what you intend to build is an e-commerce site, I highly recommend you give it a try Shopify: an extremely simple and intuitive service, already used by over 1.000.000 stores around the world, which allows you to create e-commerce with unlimited products in a few clicks. It includes unlimited secure hosting, free unlimited bandwidth, a free shopify.com domain name (replaceable with a custom domain) and everything you need to manage products, customers, payments, orders, shipments and inventory.

    Shopify also allows you to set up marketing campaigns via social networks, email or SMS and to use the Facebook sales channel to synchronize your products with a catalog on the famous social network, create marketing activities on its pages and take advantage of the purchase function Instagram Shopping. All this can also be managed from a smartphone app.

    You can try Shopify for free for an initial trial period (with no renewal obligation), after which you can choose from various plans with costs starting at $ 29 / month. To open a shop on Shopify, all you have to do is connect to the official website of the service, type your own email address in the appropriate text field and click on the button Start your free trial. You must then set the Password and name to be given to the store and indicated if you have already started selling, what your current income is, in which sector you want to operate e if you are creating a store for a customer.

    Once this is done, click on the button NEXT, provide details of theaddress to receive payments, award-winning Enter the shop and start building your e-commerce. Find everything in the menu you see on the left: Order Process to manage orders; Products to manage products; Clients to manage the customer list; Analysis to view sales data; Marketing to set up marketing campaigns and so on. For all the details, check out my tutorial on how to create an e-commerce with Shopify.

    Wix

    If you wish to accomplish something more complex instead, I highly recommend that you consider Wix: it is an online service that allows you to create medium-complex professional websites, with blogs, photo galleries and possibly an ecommerce section, in just a few clicks.

    Among the strengths of Wix, there are the possibility to choose from over 500 preset templates (automatically optimized for mobile) and to automatically create a thematic site based on the indications provided during the configuration phase, using an artificial intelligence system called ADI.

    In its free version, Wix allows you to create domain sites username.wixsite.com/siteName and provides 500 MB of storage and 500 MB of bandwidth. There are also advertisements on free Wix sites.

    To eliminate the aforementioned limitations, have access to Google Analytics, set up a custom domain and unlock many other features, it is necessary to subscribe to one of the paid plans of Wix, with prices starting from € 4,50 / month.

    To start creating a free site with Wix, connected to the main page of the service, click on button in charge of creating a new site and, using the form that is proposed to you, create an account on the platform. To speed things up, you can choose to log in with an account Facebook Google.

    When login is complete, specify the kind of site to create (BusinessOnline shop or Blog) and choose whether to do create your ADI website, or whether to use theWix Editor to manually specify its details. In the first case, you will be asked questions (eg "What kind of site do you want to create") and, once all the answers have been provided, a website will be generated completely automatically.

    In the second case, however, you will have to choose one of the template available and proceed with its customization, using the buttons in charge of managing menus and pages, to the customization of the background, to the inclusion of new ones elements, and so on.

    Other solutions to create a website from scratch

    If the services that I have illustrated to you just now have not been able to meet your expectations, you can evaluate the use of other solutions of this type which, with different characteristics, are able to create equally valid sites. Below I list the ones that, in my opinion, are the best.

    • Blogger - is another platform developed by Google, with CMS attached, mainly oriented to the creation of blogs. Blogger facilitates integration with BigG services and provides the possibility of monetizing your site by interfacing with the Google AdSense program. More info here.
    • Webs - it is a portal that allows you to create professional Internet sites in just a couple of clicks. There are two modes of use: a free one, which has limitations and allows you to create sites with second-level domains, and a paid one which, depending on the package, unlocks a greater number of features.
    • One Minute Site - is an your language platform that allows you to create, in an extremely simple way, websites and ecommerce platforms without having any programming skills, thanks to a team of specialists able to satisfy numerous categories of requests. It is a paid service which, among its many features, includes a large number of tools dedicated to the creation and optimization of content.

    for further

    If you have made it this far, it means that you have perfectly mastered everything I have explained to you in the course of this guide and that you have probably already managed to make your first website. Let me guess: now, after taking a little of more confidence with the topic, you would have the desire to learn how to further customize the pages of your site, intervening, where possible, also on their code.

    How do you say? That's it? In that case, I really think I have what it is for you: in my guides on how to create an HTML website, how to create an HTML page and how to create a web page, in fact, I got to show you more closely what it is. the structure of a page / website and the elements that compose it.

    Before putting your "hands in code", however, I advise you to make a backup of the pages of your site, when they are in a working state: very often, intervening "by hand" in the code can lead to unexpected and unwelcome results, due to programming errors or, worse still, distraction.

    Therefore, make sure you always have a complete and functional copy of the site available, to be restored in case of need, or carry out your experiments locally, directly from your computer: in this regard, my guide on how to transform your PC may be useful. in a server, precisely the chapter dedicated to web server.

    Finally, if the topic fascinates you and you want to approach the world of Web programming professionally, I recommend that you evaluate the purchase of books and manuals dedicated to this universe (and to the languages ​​that belong to it), which can guide you in your future study. . Below I show you some, available online.

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