Whether you’re going into business online, or need a site to bring traffic to your bricks-and-mortar business, it’s totally achievable with today’s technology to do it yourself.
Don’t know where to start? Here’s the basics you’ll need to know to create a website.
My Name is…?
If you’ve already decided your website’s name, check if it’s available as a domain somewhere like www.crazydomains.com.au.
Buy the domain name you want, and any other similar ones available, e.g. mydomain.com, mydomain.com.au, mydomain.net. This stops someone else buying up similar names and redirecting to themselves.
You don’t have to buy hosting with the domain name company, although many providers do offer it. You’re free to shop around and find the best service for your needs. When it comes to hosting, the cheapest is not always the best.
And… What IS Hosting?
Hosting just means the server that your website will live on. Hosting providers are kind of like big server farms, with loads of space for your website to roam free. They rent you this space for your site/s and will provide support in case of system issues.
Shop around and look for the extras you might need, not all providers will host your email for example, so decide if that’s an issue for you or not. Will you have one website or several? Not all plans include multiple site support. What happens when something goes wrong, as it invariably does – the internet isn’t perfect – what support will you have?
Dress it Up:
If it’s your first website, and you just want the process to be as simple as possible, go with a ready-made WordPress theme. Most will have some changeable options, have a look through the demo sites and see what appeals.
Before you choose a theme, work out what functionality you need for your website. Get really clear on the purpose of your website and that will help you decide what’s critical, and what’s just nice to have.
Tell Your Story:
If you’re going to write the website content yourself, here’s some tips, and get started sooner rather than later. This is one step that can hold up a website project more than any other.
At the very least, write an outline of what areas your website will have, such as the About page, Product/Services page/s, Contact form, then note down some bullet points for the main ideas/content required for each.
If you are going to outsource the writing, this will give your content writer a good outline of what you need.
Paint a Picture:
If you already have professional images to use, make sure they are going to fit in with the theme you’ve chosen. This post will help you to get clear about your visual design.
Otherwise, using the chosen theme as your basis, start collecting images that will work. Make sure that you abide by any copyright rules when using free images, e.g. you cannot download just anyone’s images from Google Images, or Flickr. The images must be freely available under Creative Commons licensing, and make sure you follow any rules regarding attribution/licenses.
If you’re handy with a camera yourself, start taking snaps from various places and activities that you can add to your own image library for use. It’s pretty easy to take great images using just an iPhone or basic digital camera. Keep practicing if you’re not happy with them, start simple and work on it.