Monday, March 26, 2012

Building a Website in 5 Key Steps

1 - Decide what YOU want your website to be

Using a website builder can help a lot during the formatting, linking, and uploading of your site, but it can't help you decide what your site is. Ask yourself some of these questions before you get started.

  • What is the purpose of my website?
  • Do I need a domain name, what will it be, and is it already taken?
  • Who am I trying to reach?
  • What kind of information, functions, buttons, links, and/or purchase options do I want from my website?
  • How many pages do I want to have, and what separates my pages?
  • What do I want my website to look like? What kinds of colors, graphics, images, and text styles appeal to me and people who will visit my site? Do know someone with a graphic design degree that can help me with this, or should I pursue graphic design myself?

Now many of these things will be revised as you go, but you need to have a good idea of what you're trying to make to create a successful website.

2 - Choose a website builder program and a host

Compare costs and benefits of competing sites and figure out whether you will be using your website builder as a host as well.

Assuming you're using a website builder program, you will be separated into one of two camps:

  1. Your website builder package includes hosting and you will build directly through the host; or
  2. You will build offline using the program, and once you are finished you can upload your site to any hosts with which your end product is compatible.

3 - Build your website using the tools in your website builder program

Most people start by designing the home page and setting it up fully so that when they create additional pages, they can easily link them back to an original source.

The two main things you will need to decide on and create are the content, meaning the writing and information within the site, and the navigation. Both of these should be easy-to-understand and easy to use.

Individual pages often have individual functions but hail back to the original design and layout of the home page. If you're searching for design options and inspiration, check out some design blogs. If you find that the design aspect is of particular interest to you, you might consider a future vocation in that field.

This is also the part of the web building where you figure out how to manage hits, visitors, and maximize the web-users' ability to find you and your site.

4 - Test and take your site live

5 - Continue to update and manage your site

Continuously updating your website will keep it fresh and current and help you maintain a competitive edge rather than fading into obscurity.


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