Build your business online: prerequisites

Build your website

Building your own website requires a collection of skills. You do not have to be a master in each of these. This post is the first one that will be making up a complete series. The aim of this post series is to give you a complete guide from beginning to end, on how to build your website. you can find the index to this series here

Timing: Writing this series will stretch over weeks. Keep in mind that if you follow these steps continuously, you will build your own website in a day or two.

Objectives

We are starting right from the beginning, with the goal to help everyone, irrelevant of your skills level. In this post we set-up and get the software to build the site, find and prepare a hosting account.

These are the parts we will be looking at in this post:

  • Book your name and reserve your parking
  • Making your new home nice and comfy
  • Moving in some furniture

Hosting: this can mean many things, to make sure we on the same page, we will be referring to hosting as all the services provided by the company from who we rent space, register a domain name and configure settings.

Additional reading: Hosting tips for non-webmasters.

Book your name and reserve your parking

To get going we need a name, this may sound easy but you will soon realize when checking for your name, that it’s most likely taken. That usually sends you into a frantic search for just the right name.

We passed a point where having a perfect domain name makes or break your website, unlike before. We now have many ways to easily drive traffic. That does not mean your domain name is not important, it’s still a good idea to spend a bit of time and find the right name.

Instead of guessing and rather finding the best domain name by means of online research is a topic on its own, that will get a full post somewhere later on.

The name we will be using for this build site is fspnewcastle.co.za

Got the name what’s next?
Use Google and search for “Hosting” the result will be a plethora companies and hosting options and different prices. Find the one that suits your pocket and other demands best, as explained in the link above.

Make sure you sign-up for an account that include the following:

  • at least one database
  • +- 2 Gig space
  • some email accounts
  • must be WordPress friendly
  • easy and efficient support
  • CPanel dashboard
  • enough traffic allowance

Most hosting companies have CPanel and automated registration, simply visiting their sites, you will be able to select your hosting package, book your domain name and set-up payment.

Once you done that, you should receive a couple emails from your new host. These email will contain crucial information that you need to get access to your CPanel dashboard and do other settings.

Making your new home nice and comfy

First log-in: Don’t be overwhelmed by the many icons, they all part of your account, but most of them you will never use. This is what your CPanel may look like. The layout is easily adjustable, by drag and drop and you get the option to collapse sections you don’t need and you can change the theme/colours and look.

CPanel1

The three circled links are the ones we take a look at first. In the pages to follow we will create an email address, create a database and configure a FTP account.

Circle 1 –  MySQL Databases

Clicking the first link brings us to the MySQL database settings page. On this page we have 3 steps to complete. These steps create the database and give permission to access the database. In some cases if you have an account that allows for one database, you will find the Database to be created by your host. Here is a capture of the database page:

Database1

  1. Database name
  2. Create a user
  3. Add user to database

That is what you are looking at above, the first step being – Database name. You need the database name later when configuring your website. Start by typing in a name, you will notice that all database names are prefixed. Just as the names in the example is cleared for safety reasons, do you need to keep your details safe.

After you hit the Create button you will be able to see the new database listed in the Current database sections. You can rename and delete the database, both being very DANGEROUS if you have existing databases. By renaming or removing them, the sites connected to those renamed or deleted will no longer work. Take care when you get back here again in the future.

Being sure the new database are in place, you can continue to step two – Creating a user account. To enable access from your website to the database, you must have a user with a password. Your site configuration settings will need those in place. The best practise for the password will be to use the generated password and COPY PASTE it somewhere to use later.

Whenever you copy paste passwords, you need to make sure there are NO spaces in the characters you are copy pasting.

So now we hit the create button and a new user will appear in the drop down list, ready for the last step. In the third step we assign the user to a database. Select the right user and database to link and click add.

This pop open a permissions box. You have to set the permissions for each user. In this case where the user account will be linking the site to the database, you give all permissions, easily achievable by clicking “Select All” and finally the add button below.

On return to the database page you must now see your user connected to a database. When that entry shows up, it means we good to go to the next part.

Circle 2 – Email Accounts

Click the icon and let the page open, will be the obvious first step here. You will then be taken to the email configuration page, that shows all the associated email accounts, and have certain key functions you can perform. The page you on now should look like this:

 EmailCreating a new email account is as easy as it gets. Start by adding the name you want to use. It is a good idea to create an account to use as admin account on your website, it is a bad idea naming it:

  • webmaster
  • info
  • accounts
  • admin

You want to avoid those and other names that are usually targeted by hackers, why make it easy. Choose something better and create the account. Make sure you copy the password when generating a secure one – as you will need that later to set-up your account, and there are no way to see existing account passwords.

The options you have available are to reset a NEW password, control how much space each account will be allowed to use and delete an account entirely.

Under the more options drop down menu, you get help to set up some of the more popular email clients – like Outlook etc. That’s it easy – now you have the admin email account and a database ready.

Circle 3 – FTP Settings

FTP is the acronym for File Transfer Protocol. This is one the older protocols online, and designed with transferring files in mind. We will be looking at ways to use FTP in the following post, but for now, while we here – let’s fix the settings.

FTP is a very important part, all the settings and configuration and even programming needs the files you are working on to be uploaded, and backups downloaded. Many different software applications are available to buy or free download. I will suggest using Filezilla and you can download it here: https://filezilla-project.org/download.php?type=client

You may have noticed in the control panel icons, that a file manager do exist, you can use that to upload files too.

FTPsetup

Adding a FTP account is easy and works the same as the mail set-up. Add a user name and generate a password. Once again – these details need to be kept secure. When you done this we are set and good to go on moving in some “Furniture”.

Moving in

 Keep all your account details from above handy in the next post we start by finding the core files and uploading them, followed by configuration and installing WordPress for the first time.

In the meantime, if you get stuck with any of the steps above or have questions – do not hesitate to ask in the comments below.

Renier van den Berg
Working alone, providing digital services to businesses in different sectors, comes with an advantage. I get to see the similarities in businesses operating in different sectors and will gladly help you to implement the right digital strategies and applications to save money and generate more business leads.

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