Ready to Create a Website Yourself?

If you want to personally create your website but don’t know how, read on.  Luke Renn, graphic designer, will take you through the steps and resources that will introduce you to consumers interested in your services and products. “From establishing a domain name to learning how SEO attracts online interest, you will be ready for prime time,” Renn says. www.Lukerenndesign.com.

Domain Name and Web Host. Your new website needs a web address, where people can go to find you on the internet, also known as your domain name. You also need a web host, the service company that will store your website files. GoDaddy, HostGator and DreamHost are among the many possible hosts.

Luke Renn suggests that you “sign up with your host for multiple years, preferably three to five years. Or, if you want to sign up for one year, click ‘auto renew’.”  This is to avoid your website going offline in case you don’t check in on your hosting account regularly. Then consider what your email address will be (luke@lukerenndesign.com)  You can also use Gmail or other email services.

Website Design.  Now it’s time for the look or design of your website. The service company you choose will probably offer templates that you can adapt to your site. For example, WordPress has “themes.” Or, you can work with a website designer. Start the process by looking at other sites, including competitive companies. Ask colleagues for their feedback.

“You need to make sure your website has ‘responsive’ design so it can be easily seen on a desktop computer, tablet and cell phone. From a design standpoint, a website typically has a logo in the upper left corner, a header along the top with navigation links, and a ‘banner image’ or ‘slideshow’ on the homepage. The ‘banner image’ or ‘slideshow’ is generally horizontal in size and spans the width of the website. Other elements include social media icons,” Renn explains.

Renn reminds us that there are many resources for stock photos and images that are reasonably priced. One of them is the website, istockphoto.com.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization. If you want people to visit your website, then you have to learn more about SEO. It helps your business grow and meet your professional objectives. Because users trust search engines (e.g., Google) you want to include the keywords they are searching for and to increase your website’s potential and value.

This means that when you are developing and writing your website’s content, you have to research how people look for your type of business. Your copy and website content should “attract” search engine interest up front and throughout your site.

You will find resources about SEO and keywords and how to choose them at First Person Public Relations: http://sallychapralis.com/blog/?p=1102

“There isn’t a magic way to get good search results. It requires time, effort and maintenance,” Renn explains. Google and other search engines will return better search results over time as your website grows and establishes an online presence.

“WordPress is a free content management system that currently powers 30% of all websites online. Its themes or templates allow users to change the look of their website without altering the site content. Basic themes are free, although you may want to purchase a custom-designed theme that offers superior layout and customization, such as those found at https://www.elegantthemes.com/,” Renn adds.

These premier themes usually sell for under $100.

“An extensive library of plugins, which offer custom features such as Search Engine Optimization, Twitter feed, etc., allow users to extend the functionality of their WordPress websites easily and inexpensively.”

“Be warned,” Renn adds, “that WordPress can be vulnerable to security issues if not properly maintained. You must be diligent in keeping all of your themes and plugins updated. Also, strong passwords are a must for your site administrators.”

Learn more about WordPress at:  https://wordpress.org/

 

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