We are not born Web smart. While it may appear from all the techie talk that you need the “Internet gene” to be a player on the Internet, you don’t. Here are five steps to get your own website up and running.
You’ve heard of the HTML gland haven’t you? You bet, it’s right behind your left ear. Next to that little hollow spot above your jaw. Can you find it?
Try tapping around that area. That’s it.
Did you feel it? If you tap it just right you’ll notice some animation around your lips. Tap a bit harder and you’ll even detect the definite aroma of Java.
Still nothing? Obviously there is a problem with your ASP (pardon me), and your interface with the server (he brings the tea right?) is not formatted properly.
Fear not, the techies have made it easy for the not-so-techie types to play also. So until the day comes when your HTML gland decides to behave, let’s check out the five steps to creating and posting your own website.
Pre-Plan Your Site
Start by writing out the answers to these questions:
1. What is the major theme of my site?
Having a site built around a central theme attracts visitors who are interested in your product or service. Writing out a mission statement can help you clearly define what you’re about. Unless your site is “Bob’s Rent-All” you’ll want to avoid looking like a flea market. Sites that only have a “make-money” focus tend to do poorly.
2. Who are my visitors?
Your visitors are your Target Group. Take time to understand who your visitors are and what their needs are. Performing a market analysis allows you to fully answer this question.
3. How will I capture the attention of my visitors?
You’ll have only a few seconds to show your visitors that they’re in the right place. Come up with answers to the following questions your visitors will ask about your site:
- Who are you?
- What is your site about?
- What do you have for me?
- Why should I stay and browse your site?
Make this information immediately accessible as soon as your soon-to-be customer arrives on your site.
Lay Out a Basic Site Design on Paper
Start with your home page. Keep it simple and don’t be afraid of white space. Make sure your content adheres to your answers from discussion above. Then draw out a few pages to link from your home page. These might include a Products page, FAQ page, Order page, and so on. Don’t get bogged down here, just keep it simple.
Build Your Design
This can be quite intimidating for the new webmaster. But remember, since our HTML gland is out for lunch, we’ll use the tools set before us by the “smart ones.” Therefore, it’s a good idea to use a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) to design our site.
Mind you, a few of the “smart ones” may not agree with this choice, since WYSIWYG’s tend to be limiting in some respects. But we’re just getting started. We can live with basics for now. CoffeeCup is a solid choice to build your site on your computer.
You can also go with one of the many online web builders, such as Weebly, Wix, or Webs.
Select a Company to Host Your Site
Your hosting company will keep your pages on their server. How do you select a good host for your site?
In addition to reliable and fast connections to the web, you should insist on a host with 24/7 support services. Simply put, when you call with a problem, they should have an immediate solution. There’s nothing worse than a host that can’t come through in a pinch.
A good host will offer numerous productivity and connectivity tools, and even content management systems like WordPress. Take your time and research a few.
Go Live with your site!
There you have it! Why not get started right now? You know, I’ll just bet that if you reach up and give a few quick taps to that HTML gland… you remember… behind the left ear… that’s right… you’ll begin to detect the ever-so-faint, yet distinct, scent of Java.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brett Krkosska provides how-to advice on small business and home-based work issues. He is the founder of HomeBizTools and the publisher of Straight Talk, a syndicated column that offers a unique perspective on today’s business issues.