Building a website from scratch can be a daunting experience, especially if you have no knowledge of web-building software, and do not consider yourself technically savvy. So, here’s a guide that will give you some resources and guidance to make your journey easier.

A website is a great way to refer people to your product, or, if they lose your business card, a perfect way to ensure they can find you online. However, it’s also a way for people to judge you – if they don’t feel your website is professional enough, or colorful enough, etc., they could be turned off from working with you.

Step 1
The first step is to determine your target audience. Professionals? Creative types? Get as specific as you can with understanding who your clients are.

Step 2
What do your potential clients need to know about you, and doing business with you? Help them understand what you have to offer them. This is a good point to see what others in your field are doing on their website. Say you’re a Career Coach – do a Google search for “Career Coaches” and take a look at what information other people have on their website that might help you develop yours. I am NOT suggesting you copy their information verbatim, of course, it’s about understanding the elements of your website – Welcome Page, Contact Page, your accomplishments, etc. – that you need on your site.

Step 3
You may want to actually make a physical drawing of the pages and how they link together – like a flowchart – starting with the Welcome Page.

Step 4
Buy your domain name. Ideally, it’s something simple that people will remember, or matches your business name. Companies like Godaddy and Namesecure offer you the ability to purchase domain names for 1, 3, 5 years and beyond. If you think you might change your name in the near future, a 1-year investment should be enough, and you can always renew.

Step 5
Do you have technical expertise in Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop, for example, which would allow you to design your own site? Or, are you looking for a pre-formatted template. If you don’t have time or money to hire a web designer, and you want something simple, try a pre-formatted template. Most companies that sell domain names offer pre-formatted templates. Verizon has some fairly good ones, so does Godaddy. This means, all you have to do is type in your text, enter links between pages, upload any photos you’d like, and you’re done. The layout is pre-formatted, as is the navigation bar. Page linking, page anchors, etc. are easily done within the template.

Step 6
Hosting – if you are going to design your own site using Dreamweaver, or utilize templates from a 3rd company, like Homestead, you’re going to need to upload them to a hosting server – again, you’d purchase a hosting account through the company you bought your domain name from. Godaddy offers free hosting with your domain name, but this subjects you to a banner with their advertising. If you don’t want the banner, you’ll need to buy a hosting package allowing you enough bandwidth (Megabytes) to store your site (size of images, etc.). If you’re doing a few simple pages, the least expensive package will normally suffice.

Step 7
Start designing your site! Your Welcome Page is how your client will make their first impression of you. Keep it SIMPLE. Make the assumption that most people visiting your site do not want to read a lot. Provide quick information on your business, your contact information, and links to further information. Save the “About Us” page for your background, education, and personal history. Ideally, your homepage has everything fit into the page, such that the user doesn’t have to scroll down. Since that is not always possible, make sure that the navigation bar, and your contact info, at least, appear with no scrolling required. You can add a counter if you want to get an idea of how many people are visiting your site. There are many free sources if you Google “free website counter”. If you pay for the additional service, you can also track who visits your site, keywords they used to find it, and what regions access it most frequently.

Step 8
If you are needing a quickly available website, you might start with only a Welcome Page, About Me, and Contact Me page. If you used a preformatted template from, say, Godaddy, or Verizon, you’d simply have to go to a tab where you’ll find a “Publish” button. You’d click it, and the site would be uploaded for you. If, however, you’ve made your own site, or used a 3rd party company site, you’ll need to use something like FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to upload your site to the hosting server you purchased. I know Godaddy has telephone-based tech support that will gladly walk you through the uploading steps, and make the process very easy.

Step 9
Let your website grow. I find that, over time, I become aware of additional information I need on my site, which may require additional pages. Let it happen in its own time, as you get more in touch with what you need to put out there, and what your clients need.

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Author's Bio: 

Heather Markel is President of Spice Up Work Coaching, based in New York City. She specializes in helping people find joy in the workplace by tapping into their unique skills and passions. She has over 16 years of sales and marketing experience. You can see a couple of her websites, built from scratch, at, and