/ Your own website – 6 decisions to make before you get started

Oct 08

/ nic.at News - 08.10.2019 09:40
Your own website – 6 decisions to make before you get started

In 1991 the British physicist, IT expert and HTML inventor Tim Berners-Lee laid the foundations for the world wide web with the first website. Four years later, the total had increased to 2,738 websites. Today there are 349 million domains. Websites are no longer the exclusive preserve of companies and organizations – numerous private individuals now in possession of their own sites, whether it’s a blog, an online portfolio or simply a place to publish images, videos and texts. Once an individual has decided that they want their own website, they still have to take a number of important decisions. To help find a way out of the maze we have put together a check list outlining the main points that need to be taken into consideration.


1. The domain name
The first step towards getting your own website is to register the desired domain name. A .at domain instantly shows people where you or your company are based. In terms of search engine rankings and reputational factors, it is absolutely the right choice. And we’ve put together various tips and tricks to help you find the right domain name for you.

2. Do it yourself?
These days you don’t necessarily need specialist technical expertise or graphic design skills to set up a website. Thanks to modular systems (see point 3) it only takes a few clicks before a website is ready for filling with content. But anyone who is not prepared to put the time in, wants custom functions, or needs additional design or SEO support can reach out to an online marketing agency or freelancer for help.

3. Modular vs. CMS
Modular providers such as Jimdo and Wix allow users with no knowledge of HTML and CSS to get started, thanks to their user-friendly interfaces and off-the-peg design templates. In most cases they can take care of setting up the domain, e-mail address, hosting and technical updates – all of which can usually be managed after the customer logs in. But one word of warning: with many of these modular systems, site owners will not be able to transfer various content and layout components should they wish to change providers.

Although content management systems (CMS) like Wordpress usually call on users to configure technical settings and components themselves, they also offer a significantly higher degree of latitude in terms of design and customisation. Both modular solutions and CMSs are free to review before committing or at least accessible with limited functionality. But if users need any special functions, they usually have to pay for them. And these kinds of sites don’t really cut the mustard when it comes to search engine rankings either– so getting extra support from external consultants is definitely advisable.

Tip: many registrars offer packages that include CMSs free of charge. While modular systems tend to be cheaper initially, they usually come with much less support or fewer services, meaning that web space, plug-ins and functions have to bought at extra cost, which tips the balance in the other direction over the long term.

4. What do I actually need?
Whatever you end up going for, there are almost always different packages to choose from. So it makes sense to think very carefully about what you are going to need from the outset, to avoid unnecessary costs further down the line. Do I need an email address? Do I want to include newsletter subscriptions? Would I like my online store to offer different payment options? And it is also important to think about what kind of web space you are going to need: an online store with lots of product images or a travel blog with masses of photos and videos is going to be much bigger than a site that is predominantly text-based.

5. What host should I go for?
Users who do not want an off-the-peg solution have to decide on a host (provider or registrar) who will then take care of all the technical settings. In many cases, hosts offer packages that comprise hosting services as well as web and e-mail storage, virus and spam protection, support, backup and various other components. Our partner finder tool will help you find a provider who is right for you! Additional services such as certificates, security products or DNSSEC signing can usually be added at the press of a button.

6. Structure
Even if you have made all the decisions outlined above, there is still one piece of housekeeping that needs to be taken care of before you start: the way that a website is set up has significant implications for search engine optimisation; a good structure presents the content on the site logically and in clear categories. Whatever the underlying architecture, the aim should always be to make the navigation as intuitive as possible (and accessible with as few clicks as possible) – today’s users have certain expectations about where they should be able to find certain types of content. The structure of the individual pages is as important as that of the site itself. In principle, a page consists of four sections: the header at the top with the website title and headline, the navigation directly below that or on the side, and the content section with the actual information. Finally, the bottom section contains the footer with links to the credits, contact page, and sometimes GTCs or links to the company’s social media channels.