Tell Me the ABC's to Building a Website

I want to build a website at a free website, like Wix. FOREMOST, I was advised to reserve the domain name ASAP (if available). But, can I associate this domain name with the future site I hope to build? The ABCs of building a website all seem like “chicken and egg” paradoxical pieces of a puzzle. What comes 1st? 2nd? 3rd?

Now, while trying to build a website, will Wix let me build my site offline and view it (just for me to proof and tweak) until it is ready to go “live”? And, what will people see who stumble upon my website before it is “live”? Do they get a 404 Error? Can I set up a “This Site Under Construction” or “Coming Soon” temporary screen, as a default?

Last, will free sites like Wix allow me to have multiple web pages within my website, with some only accessible by password? Will Wix let me add a counter to count how many hits my website gets?

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated as this is all new to me (obviously).

You rent the domain name first — it has to be renewed by the year — after which you can link it [ from your domain registrars ] to a site or not; or even to several sites in succession one after the other: the domain name no more care what it links to than do the registrars or anyone else.

Once the site is up you link the domain name through the registrars’ nameservers to the IP addresses of your host. Maybe Wix does that for you.
In the mean time you can build it on your computer and view it there not live; or build it at your hosting service, maybe with a software such as Drupal or Joomla or through your host’s tools; and view it from your host’s control panel.
No-one will stumble across it until it has a domain name linked and IP addresses working. Maybe not after either. Still you can put up a parking page, or a closed for maintenance page, if you want. Just take it away when it goes live.
I don’t know what Wix does, but most sites have multiple pages, and you should be able to reserve some through a password. Pagecounters went out of fashion 20 years ago; normally one would have several website statistics applications, most of which are free.

First. Don’t use Wix. They suck. Seriously, find something else. You can’t use ftp to add pages, can’t mod code from their stupid ui.

Whoever you chose to host your site will probably have a generic “under construction” page.

Caveat, I’m not a web developer and my html skill is rusty as all hell.

Once you purchase the domain it’s yours until it expires even if you never use it. You can point almost whatever you want at the domain you can also build sub-domains if you need.

These days the easiest way to build a website is through a modular service called a CMS, or Content Management System. That’s what Wix provides, an interface to make building a website easier. Squarespace is a very popular alternative, which I used for my website here, starting with a provided template which I adjusted to suit. Once you understand how their system works, it’s very straightforward to build it your own way.

Places like Squarespace will do all the heavy lifting and complicated gobbledegook, including domain name registration and assignment, for a tiny monthly fee. They’re robust, will be around for a long time, and will update to new technologies seamlessly as they develop.

If you use free Wix you will be assigned a domain name like Jinx Anybody can find it and use it. You can build your site for a million years but it won’t be seen by anybody else until you hit publish. You can hide additional pages from the menus so they won’t be seen until you let them. You can have as many pages as you want, up to a total storage and bandwidth limit. If you get a domain, you can change the URL at any time. You can use a domain name you bought or have Wix buy it for you. (Either way, it’s no longer free.) Wix has a Support page and user forums so that you can other questions.

Wix has numerous issues and many idiocies (no spell checker). But it’s probably a shorter learning curve than some of its competitors. The point about Wix is that you never need to learn HTML or CSS. You just enter stuff (text, pictures, videos, whatever) into boxes and move them and resize them until you get the effect you want.

My site Flying Cars and Food Pills is on Wix. I curse them a thousand times for each page uploaded but it does a lot of things (including Java) that I couldn’t do myself and I couldn’t do on Wordpress. My Gnome Press site is on Wordpress. That might be better for you. It’s more limited but that makes it easier to handle.

Is either one good for you? I have no idea what you want to do on it, so that’s unanswerable. You can sign onto all these builder sites for free and then build a page or two to see how they function and what fits best in your hand. That’s the only test.

If the domain name you want is available (that is standard domain such as something .com etc, not something.SomeWebPageBuilder .com), register it right now - go to GoDaddy or name .com or some other host that does domain registration and reserve the domain - even if you only park it while you figure out what to do next.

You can then point/redirect this domain anywhere you like; including to a free site created on something like Wix, or to your own site on web hosting capacity that you rent from a web host (which may or may not be the same place you registered the domain).

Thanks, everyone… I see I have a lot to learn!

I dabbled in this briefly and had a good experience with fatcow.

It’s been several years, though.