- Internet & the Web
All About SEO
Website is a useful tool for any business. Big or small they need it all.
A website is an extension of your business, a window into what you do. It can be informative, it can promote your products or services, educate your customers, sell what you have and more.
A website can be as simple or as complex, but every website should follow one basic principle. A website should be built well, should relay the right message and should match your business brand or image.
There are many places on the Internet where one can get a website built cheap and they all claim to be well designed and give you what you need, but in my twenty years or so of website development, I have learned to mistrust a quick out of the box website solutions and here are some reasons why:
Flexibility: I always advocate to my clients that any website they build for their business should be built and molded around their business and their brand and not other way around.
Out of the box websites are not flexible to allow a business to shape the look and feel of the site around the brand and image the business reflects. You are limited to few options that the developer of the template has built and although you can change text, graphics, few colors, etc. you can never get your website to fully match your business. Quite often you have to sacrifice the vision of the website you have in order to accommodate limited options available and sooner or later you will come to conclusion that out of the box solutions do not work as well as you thought they would.
Growth: Out of the box solutions (do it yourself website builder) are as discussed, quite limited in giving you the custom flexibility to build and craft a website that will match your business image and your business needs. And once published, the website built using the quick editors (out of the box) will offer limited flexibility to grow and change as your business grows and changes.
So what do you do?
You can hire a design company to build a website of your dreams but let's face it, professional web designers can be expensive and out of reach for small business owner or a startup.
If you are a little bit tech savvy and understand basics of the HTML, you can design a dream website of your own and this tutorial will teach you step by step of how to do it. We will reveal principles, tools, techniques and know-how to help you build a custom website that will match your dream design.
Your Website Your Way - Tools
There are many ways and many platforms to build a website. You can choose to use a simple HTML editor to build it or you may opt for something more complex and build a CMS (content management system) website.
My preferred website building platform is WordPress. Originally started as a blogging platform, WordPress has seen a tremendous growth and has evolved into a full CMS (content management system) where you can build a simple or complex website and further enhance it with many plugins and add-ons.
The other reason I choose a WordPress as a preferred foundation for our website project, is the fact that WordPress is easy to configure and get running even if you are a novice and never deployed the WordPress installation. As long as you have basic understanding of your hosting account you should be able to deploy a WordPress in a less than five minutes. Furthermore, many hosting packages already come equipped with the WordPress preinstalled or semi-preinstalled so you do not even have to worry about connecting the SQL database or uploading the WordPress package to your hosting package.
My preference however, is to deploy WordPress manually and there are few reasons why this is so. I will be discussing those in my subsequent posts, here I will list tools you will need to begin creating your website.
The second tool I like to use for building my website is called Artisteer. What is Artistteer, you may ask.
Artisteer is a platform for developing a custom WordPress theme (wrapper that determines a look of your website). While it is true that you can go and download many pre-built WordPress themes (many of them for free), in order to achieve exact look of your website to the look and image of your business and brand, I prefer custom building my own themes and Artisteer saves me a lot of time in custom coding the template for my website. I can choose layout, colors, header, footer, graphic, insert and arrange text, graphic, build and style custom menus and even pre-load content of my website before I go ahead and upload it to my WordPress installation. And as far as technical know-how, as long as you have a basic HTML and some CSS knowledge to be able to custom tweak your theme beyond capabilities of Artisteer, you can build a custom theme for your website yourself. The program will cost you few dollars but in my opinion is a well worth the investment.