So, you don’t want to hire someone to build your website. You want to create it yourself and manage it yourself. You want to have your little space in cyberspace to promote your new product, or your Etsy, or your photography portfolio.
Good for you.
I had coffee with Betsy Hauser Idilbi, co-founder of Tech Talent South, and Andrew Au, community organizer for Tech Talent South Charlotte, to chat about their free Wednesday web design event and to gather a bit of website-building insight.
— Tech Talent South (@TechTalentSouth) July 16, 2015
//><!--“A lot of people are so afraid to touch this stuff and they shouldn’t be,” Idilbi said. “Once you start playing with it, it’s not that complicated.”//--><!
Create your website with these six steps:
(1) Decide what you want to create in order to determine the proper platform.
Which platform best showcases your intent? Research options like WordPress, Wix, Shopify, Square Space.
“Make sure people going to the site know what the purpose is,” Au said.
(2) Acquire a domain name and a host.
Note: The host may be optional depending on the platform you use, since some platforms may act as a one-stop shop and provide hosting.
– The domain name is your web identity, like techtalentsouth.com. One option for purchasing the name is through GoDaddy.com. Idilbi also recommends buying about five similar domain names, like techtalentsouthgraduates.com for their business, to protect your name from other competing users.
– The host is a service provider that stores your web files. Depending on the one you choose, it can also make sure your site is secure and does not crash. One option is Bluehost, but browse the Internet a bit.
“You’re paying for security,” Au said.
— Bluehost (@bluehost) July 8, 2015
(3) Start with an existing template or theme.
“You want to be able to have control over your portfolio but you might not need to hand code everything,” Idilbi said. “So this is the perfect way to get your feet wet, get something beautiful out on the web, and then as you become more comfortable, it’s very customizable. You can learn added skills.”
(4) Aim for responsive designs.
Design your website with a mobile user in mind, so your content can scale to different devices.
The good news: You can pick a template that does this. It should be listed in the template features. Look for the buzz words “responsive” or “mobile friendly,” Au said.
(5) Set a clean, minimalist design.
Don’t overwhelm people with content. Look for white space to showcase your product or showcase yourself.
“That is the way design is heading,” Au said.
(6) Incorporate your contact information.
That includes social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.). Make yourself easy to contact — provide an email address.
While you’re at it, enable your phone numbers to be clickable and include your physical office or store address. It’s all about the ease.
And if you panic and need help, “Google the questions you want to ask,” Au said.
“Your imagination is your limitation,” he said.
Katie Toussaint @katietoussaint