Want To Build Your First Website?
I have already mentioned in the past that virtually any person would benefit from having a website or blog. If you are an aspiring writer, for example, you could use a blog to practice and polish your writing skills. If you are a freelance writer, you could use a website to showcase your work and get new clients. If you are a stay at home mom, you could launch an online store and try to make some extra money selling things on the web. So on and so forth.
Why then very few people have their own websites? I suspect because they think that building one requires a lot of technical skills, a lot of time, a lot of money, or all three of them.
The reality is quite the opposite. Today you can get a website up and running in a matter of hours, even if you have no technical skills at all. How much would it cost? Around $10 for a domain name, plus $10 monthly for a decent web hosting plan.
But how exactly do you build the website? What kind of domain name should you buy? How do you install the software to manage the content of the website? How do you customize the design? These are some of the questions I get asked very often, and that is why I decided to create a free tutorial explaining how everything works. You’ll find it at HowToMakeAWebsite.net.
The main tutorial is divided in 5 sections:
Step 1: Choosing A Domain Name
Step 2: Getting A Hosting Plan
Step 3: Installing WordPress
Step 4: Choosing A Template for Your Website
Step 5: Customizing Your Design
On top of that you’ll also find some articles to help you promote and optimize your website once it is up and running. My plan is to make that site a complete resource for people who want to get started on the Internet, so check it out.
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12 Responses to “Want To Build Your First Website?”
5 Tips to Help You Build Your Custom Website
Your custom website may take a lot of time to build. However, it doesn’t have to. You can have your first custom website put together in one day if you’d like. Here’s 5 simple things to remember when you build your custom website.
1. Never Use Splash Pages
Basically a splash page is that page you see that usually has some soft elevator music with sweet graphics and a link that says “skip intro” or “enter here.” This has nothing to do with your actual web business and you will lose viewers because of it. So never use splash pages, no matter what your graphic designer says.
2. Avoid Banner Ads
Let’s face it. Banner ads annoy all of us. Don’t let your custom website have a boat load of them. It just reeks of “buy my stuff, buy my stuff!” Most people are thrown off by this. In the place of those banner advertisements, put some valuable content or some well written affiliate links.
3. Make Your Custom Site Easy to Navigate
You can have the most beautiful site online, however if your visitors cannot figure out how to easily navigate your website, they’ll leave in an instant. Remember, you only have about 10 seconds (if that) to capture your visitor’s interest. If you don’t, they’ll leave. So make it easy for them to stay.
4. Make Sure Your Viewer Knows Where They Are
Hopefully your visitors will get heavily involved in reading your content. They may also clink links that take them to different pages. Just make sure your visitor has an easy way back to your home page no matter where they are. And let them know at the top of the page where they are. Remember, if your visitor gets confused, he’ll leave.
5. Avoid Annoying Audio
Your custom website really shouldn’t have useless audio. If you are going to have audio, make sure there is a mute or pause button. Your visitor does not want to hear you talk about your website in an endless loop during their duration at your site. Audio is good, just use it wisely.
Building your website can be exciting and frustrating at the same time. But it doesn’t have to be. I created my first website in under one day and I believe you can too. You just need the right tools and the right mindset.
While I agree that nearly anyone who creates (writes, paints, makes ceramics, carves wood, etc.) can benefit from having their own website to showcase their work and present it to the world, this article, as well as an advertisement that showed up on the main page of DWT when I got here today (the ad copy read “Want Your Own Money Making Website?”), should act as a warning to all the aspiring site owners out there. Both that ad AND this article should have been better proofread before appearing before an audience, checking for errors in spelling, punctuation, syntax, etc. Remember, folks, you’re a WRITER! If you create a website that looks like it was created by a dimwit, or post content that evidently was proofed/edited one night while you were on a drunken binge, your audience will take this as evidence that your work stinks and they will gladly take their business elsewhere.
While we all know that our clothes and grooming make an impression on the world, coloring how we are perceived by society, we can forget that our website — our “face” and “suit,” if you will — is often the first thing our customer sees, and if it isn’t informative, well-groomed, and easily navigated, we will likely lose that customer.
Bottom line: Before you post your site to the Internet, before you put your story or poem or whatever out there for everybody to see, do yourself the biggest favor in the world — proofread it until your eyes hurt, then get someone else who knows the ins-and-outs of punctuation and spelling to do the same. Make your site and content the best it can possibly be; it’s your first chance to impress your reader, so don’t lose that chance or you may not get another.
@Usi, creating the website is easy. Promoting and monetizing it is not that easy, but totally possible if you put some effort into it.
As you mentioned that even moms can make a website or page and can sell online, do you really think it is easy? as just to create a page and people will buy.
I am agree with the point that now a days you can make a site in less then 30 mins, but the point is that how much your site worth?
If I am right I need your answers on this.
@Nilesh, that is one big difference with using WordPress.com – you actually won’t own your site!
If I am going to put hours of work into something, I’d rather own it, so I can do anything I like with it in the future (even sell it if so I desire).
@Rhonda, that is easy. Simple use the “export” function on your WordPress.com blog, and then use the “import” one on your new domain.
I mean changing from the wordpress.com to just the “dot com” in order to include ads, etc., but still import all of the content from the wordpress weblog.
I would just use wordpress.com as my free blog site. After all, why pay when you can get the same thing for free.
But yea, I am a Software Engineer specializing in Web Development. So if you have any questions just shoot me an email.
And I am using my wordpress blog as a way to improve my writing, which needs alot of improvement.
@Rhonda, what do you mean by change from a blog to a website? A blog is another type of website, and with WordPress you can make your site look like anything you want, so you just need to learn how to customize WordPress more (or get someone to do it for you).
Thank you for this resource.
Do you have any resources for those wanting to make the change from a blog (WordPress) to a website, including importing all content from the blog? Or do you think that is best left to a professional?
This is a really good article and I believe any writer will find the guide at the website useful.
In my role as an e-learning coordinator at a Further Education college in the UK, I have come across a couple of sites that readers may find useful to support their development of web pages.
http://www.wix.com allows you to create quite dramatic, flash based websites with no web programming experience. There are several templates available to get you started, without the need for any design skills.
Another alternative is to create a website in Google Sites. This is a free resource that allows ‘simple’ website creation. It does not have as smooth interface as wix and does take a little time to get used to the site management, but it is free. The sites created look nowhere near as good as a wix site, unless you start tinkering with the templates.
I am planning to get my learners to create their own websites using Google Sites to present their knowledge to me and I have therefore created my site in Google Sites as an example.
Whichever solution chosen the tips given in this post will be very useful.
Very informative tutorial! Despite what some people may think, starting a website is actually easy. The difficult part comes from updating your website regularly with quality content. However, if you’re a writer already, this shouldn’t prove to be a problem.
Those who aren’t used to writing regularly may find that creating quality content on a regular basis is time consuming. However, it will get better as you practice. Once you start establishing a good writing routine, writing will come easily.
I was looking at an article on the tutorial website linked (100 Ways to Increase Your Website Traffic) and there are literally tons of ways to increase traffic to a website – more than I thought were possible. Great work and looking forward to reading more tips!