Building and uploading your own website is a rewarding experience. When I built my electronic portfolio and uploaded it last month, it was such a proud moment that I hailed it all over Facebook, LinkedIn, and my WordPress blog (WordPress Mastery ). I made a QR code and printed new tech-savvy business cards, until I broke my printer. Within two weeks I had three freelance jobs, and two became permanent. You are reading this blog because I made that portfolio and put it online. I’m not a techie, I am a writer. I’m not young, my first computer experience was with DOS. If I can do it, you can too. The biggest hurdle for most people is not how to make a website. They can find the software and tutorials and have seen enough websites to know the conventions of navigation and hierarchy that are best to use. But to actually put the site on the Internet is a daunting task, more mystifyingly technical than the design, writing, and photo uploading we’ve been doing. It is much easier than you expect. You only need to follow instructions. The words you need to know are File Transfer Protocol (FTP). We’ll get to that later. Here’s a bit of summary on building a website first, for those who haven’t actually brought it to fruition yet.
The first step in creating a website is research to find out how to build a website for your experience level. There are simple beginner templates and others that are geared toward those with more experience. You could build it from scratch, (How to build a website from scratch ), use WordPress, or use one of Adobe’s two website building programs: Dreamweaver takes some coding experience, but does the heavy-lifting for you; and Muse, which takes less training to use and you don’t need to code to do it. There are other options out there as well.
Procure a Host
Next you will need to find a website hosting source. Many universities provide a free space to their students. Some internet providers give free hosting space to customers. Adobe Creative Cloud subscription comes with five free sites, as well as Dreamweaver and Muse, among lots of design programs. There are also many free or inexpensive website hosting sites out there. Here are some points to consider when searching for a hosting space:
- How much space does the space offer? Highly-animated sites require a lot of space, while basic sites might need 100 megabytes.
- Make sure to check some sites hosted by the provider to see how fast they load.
- Do they offer 24/7 support to clients?
You can make your whole website or just start with your home page, called the index. With either option, you can create and load additional pages later. Now for the good stuff, this is what you came here for:
File Transfer Protocol
- Download a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) application, which is used to upload information to servers. Dreamweaver has one built into the program. (Dreamweaver CC Training )
- Check with the webhost to see if they support FTP first.
- Install the FTP application, if needed. Follow the instructions on the screen. You will need information from your web host to complete this task. They might have specifics of where to save your files for your website.
Connect to the Web Server and Upload files
- Connect to the web service using your FTP application.
- Enter your user name and password, which is provided by your web host. Contact the web host if you do not have this information.
- Open the FTP client in your web building program. Some FTP programs, will display two windows called a FTP transfer, this is found in Dreamweaver. Others will require the usage of an FTP uploader.
- For FTP programs, select the website pages from your computer by clicking and dragging the files to the folder displaying the files on web server.
- For FTP Upload programs, create a folder in the right pane for your website pages. Click the files in the left pane and click the upload button, or right-click on the file and click upload.
- Ensure that all files have been loaded properly through your web browser. If not, you should repeat FTP transfer or upload process.
If you’re stumped:
Remember that every FTP client works differently. There is some standardization, however and you need this information on every FTP program:
- The host name—your primary hosted domain name, or the IP address of your hosting account
- FTP user name—your hosting account user name
- FTP password—your hosting account password
- Website URL—your site’s URL
- FTP site URL— your FTP server’s URL
- Port—Enter Port 21 for your shared hosting account
- Start directory—index (your home page)
If you’re still stumped, ask your 12-year-old nephew
Register a Domain Name
This is an optional step but it can improve your search engine rankings if keywords are included. Some say that is a myth, however. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is always important if you want to get noticed online, and a registered name, will make you look more professional. An easy way to begin is to just google the name you want. Domain holders like GoDaddy will come up in your search, offering that domain name and similar ones for a price, if it is available. The actual cost is generally pretty low, try different domain names and see what works for you. Sometimes the web host offers your domain name for free. If you change hosts, you will need to purchase the domain name in order to keep it.
Now that you have built your website and uploaded it, how does it look? Does everything load okay? Some testing and tweaking probably needs to happen, businesses will perform full on testing sequences before and after uploading. You will likely have some issues to fix. This is normal. Check your website in all forms:
- Google Chrome
- Internet Explorer
- Work desktop
You probably won’t be able to do the very expensive full testing that large companies do, but if you can see what issues you have, make a list and tackle them head-on, one at a time, until you have fixed them all.