When you want to make a web site many people can become overwhelmed by technical details. This article aims to simplify the process and explain how you can make a web site by following the steps outlined here.
To help put a real picture on what I’m about to explain here I will be using (www.nopong.com) as an example site because it covers most of the key ingredients required when you want to make a web site.
Step One: Register a domain name
A domain name is the bit that comes after the www in all web sites. On this site you can see it in the address line of the web browser where it says www.iclay.co.nz .
The domain name helps define your business and it’s wise to think about it carefully. If you already have a bricks and mortar business the domain name you want might be obvious, but it might not be available.
Buying your domain name is the first step you make towards branding your online presence.
There a several places you can register your domain name but we suggest using www.godaddy.com If you go there now and type nopong.com into the registration area on the front page you will come up with a page that says www.nopong.com is already registered. What you will also see is a list of suggested alternatives.
This is an ideal way to decide on your domain name. What you want at first may already be registered but the alternative suggestions can help you to consider a different approach.
Step Two: Create a Logo
You need to create a logo and along with it define the colours that will distinguish your business. Even though your business may be online only it is still highly likely you will need a real-world presence in business cards and maybe promotional flyers or pamphlets.
Don’t underestimate this step. The logo has a commanding presence in the web site design process and its colours can be used as a base for highlighting key content elements in the site. Often the images used in a web site will be chosen in relation to the sites base colour scheme.
There are several free logo design services available online, here is one example www.freelogodesign.org
Step Three: Create your content
Before any real web page design can take place, you need to write your content. You do not need to create all the content yourself, but you need define what it is – preferably on paper. This is the information architecture phase and the first step in determining what your site will look like online.
There are more technical ways to do this, but an easy and perfectly workable approach is to take a piece of A4 paper from your printer and place it down portrait style in front of you.
At the top centre of the page place a rectangular or square block indicating where your logo might go. Underneath this start writing what you believe to be the key links your readers need to access critical information about your products or service.
Some obvious links might be Home, About Us, Contact Us etc but this top main menu could also include links like FAQ, Background, Services.
The key thing here is to KEEP IT SIMPLE.
Look at the front page of www.nopong.com Scroll down the page. You can see here that the aim was to present information in the simplest way possible and not to overcrowd the page. Look at the logo. Simple but effective.
You need images
No matter how brilliant your text is, you won’t create effective impact without good images. If you can’t take the pictures yourself you can select them from royalty free stock sites like www.shutterstock.com, www.gettyimages.com, www.istockphoto.com and many others. Pictures from these sites are royalty free but not free of charge.
Fork in the road
You have now reached a fork in the road. The next step is to decide whether you are going to handle the actual build yourself or hire someone like us to do the job for you.
At this point you should now have a clear picture of what you want to present. The advantage is that it will be much easier for any web developer to put a price on your work and if you are doing the work yourself it will be far easier for you to create it yourself.
DO IT YOURSELF
There are several approaches that can be taken but, as WordPress developers ourselves, we suggest you go the WordPress way. You need to:
- Find yourself a web hosting company and enable WordPress. You will be able to do this from the administration panel in your web host account.
- Go to Elegant Themes (https://www.elegantthemes.com/join/) and download all their themes and plugins.
- Now head over to YouTube and watch the following: How to set up & install Divi
Just to give a quick background. Divi, or Divi Builder to give it its full name, comes in your download. The total download includes several attractive base themes but you don’t need to use these.
With Divi Builder you can design your choice of site but most people often start with one of the themes which come loaded into the Divi Library. Once you understand that web sites are built in a grid system involving rows and columns then you will easily develop an attractive web site.
The great thing about using Word Press as the base engine for your site is that you are working in a secure, ‘controlled’ environment, with a helpful development community continually producing excellent plugins that enable you to add advanced features to your site.
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL
By hiring a professional web designer to take the plan you have already assembled to commercial reality will not only save you time but can seriously improve your chances of success on the web.
Building a web site is only part of an internet success story. Obviously, you won’t get anywhere without one but these days most sites need to be well connected with social media and follow a clear online (and offline) marketing strategy.
If you are simply building for personal needs of course what you desire may be different, but any web-based business must consider its online presence in association with the production and distribution of its products.
No Pong is a perfect example. In many respects their site is very simple but to find out more about the real story that brought this product to market you need to read this backgrounder.
The backgrounder reveals that the web site was part of a combined process that put the business online.
Obviously not everyone has the same story to tell but in this case the personal story has now become part of the site’s extended promotion, raising the profile of the product itself and directing visitors to become buyers.
If want to develop a serious online presence then talk to us. We won’t cost you the family fortune but we will save you from a heap of frustration will you develop a worthwhile return on your investment.