Website Basics: What You Need to Know When You Know Almost Nothing

by | Sep 10, 2023 | Website Development

You enter the website address in your browser’s address bar and the website appears in the window below. Where is the website located? How did it get set up? And how are you able to find it? In a way, it mirrors our physical world.

Let’s say you want to build a house. What do you need?


You start with a plot of land and an address. Then, you hire someone to create plans and build the house.

A website is like a digital house. Or more accurately, a digital office or store.

To build a website, you need space, or a digital plot of land. To get it, you need to purchase a web hosting plan. This is a recurring expense that’s usually paid on an annual basis, but service providers generally offer other options for length of term.

You also need an address, so people can find your website. To get an address, you need to register a domain name. Again, this is a recurring expense that’s usually paid annually, but you can pay for multiple years in advance.

Going back to the house analogy, what happens after you have land and an address?


Unless you already know how to build a house, you’d hire someone to create a plan and build the house for you. The first stage includes setting the foundation, building exterior and interior walls, as well as building the roof.

With a website, you start by selecting and installing a content management system, or CMS for short. A CMS is software that’s used to manage the creation and modification of content. A CMS is the foundation, walls, and roof for your website. It allows you to create and manage a website without knowing how to code.

Ever heard of WordPress? Or Drupal? Joomla? How about Squarespace? Or Kajabi? Shopify? These are some of the options available for content management systems. There are pros and cons to all of them that I won’t talk about in this post, but you’ll want to compare the different options to understand which option is the best one for you.

Time to make decisions regarding the aesthetics.


Home builders offer curated options for some things, but true customization happens only if you hire an independent designer.

Content management systems present you with similar options:  choose from countless templates to provide your entire website with a cohesive aesthetic that other people can also choose, or hire a designer to create a custom aesthetic that’s unique to you and aligns with your brand.

Now that your website is complete, you want to invite people to check it out. All you need to do is provide them with the address to pop in their browser.

Want to setup your own website?


I’ve got a FREE checklist you can download to make the project a bit less daunting.

This checklist is something I wish I would have had when I created my first website. Back then, I didn’t even have the house analogy from this post to help me understand the basics, so you’re already a step ahead!