Creating a website can be quite an adventure, especially if you are a beginner. But with today’s resources it can be a simple process. You can build websites to sell items, post all things “grumpy cat” related, or showcase anything you want. Bellow is an overview on how a beginner like yourself can launch a successful site effectively.
Finding a Purpose
Before you can launch a website you need to put together a plan. Before you create a plan, you must identify the purpose of the site. Your objectives may include selling a product or service, informing your readers, or sharing personal stories and information, etc. Once you have figured out what your objective is you can then determine who is your target audience. Here are some examples you may find helpful:
Purpose >> Target Audience
Sell high heels for discounted price >> (Selling) >> Females 18-50
Local news >> (Informing) >> Females & males 18-75
Mom blog sharing work from home experience >> (Personal) >> Moms who work (or want to work) from home
Technori suggests that you “develop a customer profile” by identifying demographic and psychographic information including age, gender, location, ethnic background, marital status, income, interests, hobbies, values, attitudes behaviors, lifestyle and more.
After defining your purpose and your target audience you can determine what type of writing you will be using. Your website will either have a need to be persuasive, informational, or simply honest and detailed.
Picking a Hosting Site
Now that you know why you want to establish a website and what audience you are targeting, you can research and choose a hosting site. Webhostingbluebook.com defines web hosting as a “connection between an individual or company and World Wide Web readers.” In order to create a website or webpage you need a hosting site to “hold” your content and images. There are free hosting sites that offer limited storage space, limiting the number of pages you can have and images you can upload. If you are attempting to sell a service that requires you to post a lot of images then you would likely benefit from packages with greater storage space.
Do you prefer that your hosting site offers an option to buy the domain as well? It’s important to remember a domain name is as important as your own name so choose wisely. This will be your “brand” and will go on everything you publish online. Your domain name can also help identify what your website is about. For example, CNET purchased the domain name “News.com” because it offers news and wanted to draw any and all individuals who were simply searching for the term. If you are planning to create a site to sell products you can use a company like Shopify to set up an entire online store, including credit card transaction functions and even shipping.
Basic Template Designs
Instead of building a website from scratch and having to learn coding, it’s much simpler just to use a template. Templates are pre-built designs that allow you to add and change certain features without having to insert, change, or delete any codes. WordPress and Joomla are two of the most popular content management systems (providers of templates). Pick a template that is specific to your goal, for example, if you are a photographer trying to sell your services and showcase your work you need to choose a template with a gallery allowing you to post images of your work.
Plan and Build Your Pages
Now that you’ve started a website it’s essential that you determine how many pages you will need to build. The most important page is the Home page, where most of your audience will land when first coming to your site. Create unique content for the home page and the rest of the site. If you are putting together a website where your audience can purchase items then be sure to write descriptions for each item. Blogs still require at least a Home page and occasionally a disclaimer page, especially if you write reviews. Those selling services should add a review or testimonials page with customer opinions. And don’t forget a contact page.
Establishing a Social Media Presence
Once you’ve finished your website don’t forget to build profiles in Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Pinterest. This will help you promote your new products, services, news, or posts. You can also share images and posts from others to help establish your website’s voice. Check these accounts every few days and post something new at least once a week, even if it’s just an image with a short comment or description. If your audience asks you questions or makes a comment, be sure to reply politely, even if some feedback is negative. Business2Community advises website owners to add social media buttons on your website. Some website templates offer you the option to incorporate social media buttons.
Follow The Rules
Be sure to always follow the rules when building a website. Here are a few important things to remember
If you add images or information from another source, make sure it is legal to use and be sure to cite it, even on social media networks. The Copyright.gov website states that the Fair Use Law, “Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.” If you are looking to use free images on your website then you can use a royalty-free image, also known as a creative commons image.
If you are going to share someone’s article it is always best to show a summary or only a piece and link the readers to the source so that they can read it in its entirety.
Now that you have an idea on how to begin feel free to do a little research to see what resources are available out on the World Wide Web today that can help you.