Developing your own website — Why and How (part 2)
In the first part of this series we went over the different steps you have to accomplish to get started with your new website. Now let's get down to the meat and potatoes of this thing: developing your own website.
In the first part of this series we went over the different steps you have to accomplish so you could be developing your new website. We talked about why you should prepare your content beforehand, how to get a domain, and all of the available hosting options.
Now let’s get down to the meat and potatoes of this thing… Developing the website.
Keep in mind that there are as many ways to create a website as there are websites. There is no silver bullet.
I will outline a couple of different techniques to do it, but you will ultimately have to adapt them to your needs.
Developing your own website with good ol’ WordPress
WordPress is to web development what Facebook is to social networks. It’s powerful, widely adopted, and soo easy to use, even your grandmother could use it!
Initially developed as a blogging engine, WordPress grew into something beyond our wildest dreams. It is no longer just home of the blog; blogs became full blown websites. The choice of themes and plugins became vast; a carefully chosen plugin and theme could make all the difference in terms of professionalism and user-experience. The right theme for your website can separate the men from the boys.
Where can you find the best themes you might ask? Don’t worry, we’ll cover that subject in an upcoming article. Until then, take a look at WordPress’ theme directory and Theme Forest.
Take note though, there is a subtle yet very important distinction between hosted WordPress (which basically works like Tumblr) and self-hosted WordPress which is what we are looking for.
The latter will take you to WordPress’ source code download page, which you’ll later install on your own server.
After that, the steps will be fairly straightforward:
- Create an empty MySQL database on your server and a user to which you’ll grant the database’s privileges. This can be done easily from your cPanel if you are using a shared host. On the other hand, if you want to do it on a VPS, here’s how to using a Ubuntu server.
- Upload the source code on your server, load your website in your browser and WordPress will ask you for the database credentials.
WordPress is a very good option if you need more of a website and less of a web application. Although, if you want some more complex and custom application-like interactions, keep on reading as you might want to consider using a framework.
Frameworks, a rock-solid foundation
Using a PHP framework is also good practice if you want to be developing your own website and build yourself a tailor-made solution. However, keep in mind that this solution is less than ideal for beginners; it’s far more complex and requires greater coding knowledge.
Why PHP framework instead of building something from scratch, you might ask? Frameworks take care of huge parts of boilerplate work and helps you concentrate on your application’s development while arming you with out-of-the-box tools like MVC patterns, authentication, routing, etc.
There are various PHP frameworks out there which all have their respective pros and cons. I’d personally go for Laravel for its ease of use, elegant syntax, and strong community.
We will not outline the steps to setup your own Laravel application as they are very well explained in the Laravel Quickstart section.
Sweet! Now you have all the tools you need to get that new website of yours started on the right foot and start earning money !
In the next and last part of this series, we’ll take a look at the various things you’ll have to do to get that new website of yours running efficiently and securely. We’ll learn how to set up tools like Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, and we’ll talk a little bit about web security and how to improve your website’s protection. Stay tuned!