Website Building Tips

computer devices with animated text: Build mobile responsive websites that look professional

...without the high costs.

One of the popular methods used by website developers to build mobile responsive websites that function well and look professional is via Bootstrap and here are just some benefits of using Bootstrap for your website:-

  • A website built with Bootstrap is known to function well on different types of computers and mobile devices out there.
  • There is a wide variety of pre-built buttons, widgets, slideshows, etc that look good without needing to modify it.
  • A Boostrap website can be customized without needing to meddle too much with the base codes.
  • Getting a basic one-page website live on the World Wide Web can be done fairly quickly.
  • You get to save even more time by using a website template pre-built with Bootstrap.

For blogging websites, WordPress remains a free popular choice and its themes are mobile responsive too out of the box. There is always a risk though that problems may appear after you load in multiple third-party plugins to make your WordPress website more beautiful and functional. As WordPress is open-source, there is no guarantee that all your plugins will be compatible with each other even if you have bought the pro version. Bear in mind too that the plugin developers may not be working in the same time zone as you when you need to contact them for tech support.

Free Website Templates

At least half the work is already done by others when you use a pre-built website template. Just a couple of examples are the many free and paid Bootstrap website templates offered by bootstrapthemes.co and bootstrapbay.com where you can just download the template you like and then code in your own contents.

Please note I am not officially affliated with these two external websites.

You may still contact me to discuss about building a website based on any templates you found on the Web or you might also want to consider developing a customized web app to enhance the features in your website.

bootstrapthemes.co screenshot
bootstrapbay.com screenshot

Shared vs Self Website Hosting

In order to get your website live on the World Wide Web, you need to upload your website's files into a web server that will host your website, a process known as website hosting. The system required to run a basic web server is just a combination of software and hardware and the hardware need not be very high end as a medium range consumer level desktop or laptop computer connected on a decent Internet speed should be capable of operating as a web server to host a couple of small to medium sized static websites.

Therefore, you certainly have the option to run a web server of your own to host your websites from your home or small office with just an underutilised computer that you may have lying around! If you wish to do this, you will be glad to know that there are open source web server software that you can download legally and a popular one that beginners start off with is Apache. You may even take it a step further and download full fledged server operating systems such as Ubuntu Server or Fedora Server that give you more options to customize various type of servers.

So, if you are on a tight budget, you should then evaluate some of the pros and cons of paying for shared website hosting with an external commercial company or take the DIY route by setting up your own server which will save you money as well as gain more hands-on IT skills:-

Shared Website Hosting DIY-Self Website Hosting
  • Starter web hosting packages are usually very cheap for the first year but expect to see some substantial increments in costs for subsequent years. Expect to pay even more when you require more memory and bandwidth as your website expands.
  • Round the clock tech support and custom domain email services are usually standard features with the popular companies. NOTE: Setting up your own email server to use with a custom domain name can be quite a complicated task, so paying professionals to do it for you is worth it in this sense.
  • If you are busy launching a new business venture and your website is just one of your marketing channels, then having one less thing to worry about will surely benefit you.
  • You will be sharing one web server with other website owners. If one website within the same server goes down, it usually means all the other websites on that server will be down too. If the other websites on the same web server as yours receive a sudden spike in traffic, the performance of your website is bound to suffer.
  • Expect some downtime every now and then for your website as the administrators need to periodically do maintenance and upgrading works on their servers.
  • Established website hosting providers are usually able to offer tools that will help optimize the performance and security of your website but don't expect much though if you are just paying for a basic starter package.
  • Mirror servers located around the world ensure your website is able to speedily serve your visitors from a server closest to them. The physical distance between the website visitor and the local server matters when it comes to page loading speed and a website page that takes too long to load is bad in many sense.
  • Bear in mind that you will be handing over data to an external company. No company will 100 percent guarantee that your data will be absolutely safe with them as the risks of security breaches from hackers or rouge employees are always present.
  • No financial cost if you already have an extra usable computer. You would of course still need to continue paying for your regular Internet bills but learning how to setup your own web and email servers can be done by referring to free online tutorials and courses.
  • The extra electricity needed to run a small server on a 24 hours basis probably won't be much as modern computers are built to be energy efficient.
  • Yourself and the vast volume of knowledge shared by others on the Web will be your tech support. You are in full control of customizing and optimizing your server as you please.
  • You bear whatever happens to your server e.g. hacking attacks, things mess up when you make mistakes, security breaches, unauthorized logins, etc.
  • You get to use the whole computer as your dedicated web and/or mail server, hence all the hardware resources of the computer can be dedicated to serving your online visitors.
  • You control the downtime of your server e.g. you may choose to restart, update or do other maintenance task on your server during off-peak times.
  • If you only need to host a couple of small or medium sized static websites that do not need much updating, you will probably leave the server alone most of the time after successfully setting it up.
  • If you only really care about reaching visitors that originate from your local vicinity, having mirror servers around the world would not present much of an advantage to you.
  • Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may place restrictions on running a server from your home Internet connection.
  • Your home Internet connection is likely using a dynamic IP address and this will affect DNS lookups of your website. This basically means your website will be inaccessible for a few minutes up to a few hours when the IP address changes.

Web Resources on Setting up Your Own Server

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