Create My Own Website

So you have sat down one evening and said to a friend, I want to create my own website. GREAT! Perhaps you’ve been thinking about it for a while. But then the doubts set in. You haven’t the foggiest how to start, or what to do. You are not a programmer, you haven’t done a lot of writing and everything you read makes your head spin.

Don’t give up! You can do this!

website planningBefore you do anything, you need to get a notebook and start planning a website. What will your website be like? If you have never created a website before, planning a website can seem like a daunting task, but as with all new projects, you start with a little research.

First Find Out What Other People Do

Go surfing!

Visit lots of different websites. Make notes about how they are organizing their website and what they are publishing. When you like a website, jot down what it is you like about it in your notebook. When creating your own website, these are the parts of a website to look at and think about.

Choosing Your Own Website Colours

Do you like light or dark themes? A white page with black text, a black page with white text, or colours. Light themes are easiest to read with black or dark grey text on a white or cream background. For framing the main article page, business sites often use blue – the “trust” colour, warm colours are generally targeting women, and very dark themes generally send a message that your site is about music, games or entertainment of some sort.

images, pictures, photos, graphicsCreating or Choosing a Header For Your Website

Do you like a big picture header or a small? You can create your own website header picture from a photograph or logo, or use a generic header that comes with a theme.

The “above the fold” area is what you first see on the website when it opens, and before you start to scroll down. The header is the first thing that people see. This header and the “above the fold” area is the prime space on your website, so use it wisely.

A “bounce” is when people click away before they scroll down. You do not want a high bounce rate. Large headers take up a lot of this valuable space, so if you give this space to one graphic, make sure that the graphic is highly relevant to your topic, and draws your visitor in to read more. Otherwise go for a slim graphic header and an inviting headline that hooks your viewer and makes them curious.

Above or below the header there is usually a main navigation bar with your website’s home link and category links.

designChoosing Your Website’s Font Type and Size

When you are creating your own website you want to think about it’s design. For your articles, do you want large text that’s easy to read, or small text that keeps the overall page size compact and as much of it inside that “above the fold” area as possible.

What fonts do you like? Fonts are the pictures that make the letters in text look different. Open a Word document and write “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”, this contains every letter in the alphabet. Copy and paste it until you have 6 rows, then change the font on each one. Use Ariel, Georgia, Verdana, Tahoma, Trebuchet & Comic San, these are the most common browser safe fonts, compare these to what you see on websites.

ideas & tipsCreate Own Website Sidebars and Feature Areas

How many columns do you want your website to have? The article page text is one. Then you can have sidebars with navigation links. You can have one or two or three sidebars, and these can be to the left or right of the article page text.

How wide do you want your whole website to be? This is a major decision when creating a website. A slim 600px “one page only” site,  700px wide – with page and one sidebar, 800-900px wide – with two sidebars, or fill the whole screen with 1,000px or so.

If you intend to have a lot of pages, special navigation links in sidebars helps people to find all your content. You can also publish advertising in a sidebar, or display links to other sites.

Between the actual header and the article, and between the article and the footer, there can be feature areas that stay constant, or change according to content, similar to the sidebars. Start to become aware of how people use these areas and what for.

hyperlinksCreate Own Website’s Navigation Menus

Click on links in various website’s navigation areas and see where they all go. Get a feel about how people organize their navigation links and menus, and what content they feature, how they feature it and how they link to it. Note what graphics they use, if clicking on them takes you somewhere, and where they may place a video or an audio.

If you are offering any kind of service or product to download from the website you are planning, you will need legal documents to be web compliant.

Links to these disclaimers, disclosures, policies and terms of agreement docs are often placed in the footer of a website, along with copyright information, a home link, a site map link and a contact link. Depending on what content you are using, you may be subject to legal constraints, so do a little research about what web law documents you may need.

Create Own Website Structure

Below is a picture of the parts of a website I outlined above. You need to look at and plan out if you want them, and think about what content you want to display in them.

Illustration of Website Parts

I see that you are starting to understand that there is a lot of planning that goes into creating your own website.

To create and build a static website with all it’s pages and navigation takes quite a bit of time and thought. A static website cannot easily be changed either, as it’s system is fixed on each page. This is why having someone do it for you is a good option. But that means you are constantly needing them to help you, when you want to update things.

There is a better alternative.

DIY Websites Way To Create My Own Webiste

Instead of creating a static website, we create a dynamic website.

This means all the parts of a website are made in modules. If you change your mind about where one part goes, you can just switch the link between parts. The text is in one part, the frame is another part. You can turn parts on and turn them off. You can change fonts and colours for a whole site or just for one article.

You have a back office for your website, where you can set all these options and after you learn to use it, you can easily manage and update your website. You can add new articles, change a phone number, change a picture, add a video. It’s the Ultimate Do It Yourself Website. How?

Use a Content Management System

Although there are many content Management systems (CMS) to choose from, I recommend you start and finish with WordPress. You can download and install WordPress for free and can follow this link to download the latest version , always listed in the top menu Links. You cannot try it out on your home computer, you can only use WordPress on the web, using your browser.

Image via Wikipedia

WordPress is open source software, which means it is free to download and to use. It’s huge community of users have created a massive variety of mostly free “plugins” that you can download to extend WordPress functions.

There are also hundreds of free “themes” that will start you off with a great looking template. This template or “theme” places all those areas above for you automatically. So all you have to do, once everything is installed, is to add your text, graphics and other content.

That’s the Plan to Create Your Own Website…

When you have done your research and think you know what you want to start to create, you can go looking for a theme that matches your criteria or, on the next page, I’ll tell you about the theme that DIY Web uses.

At this early website planning stage, don’t worry too much about fonts and graphics, all these things will have default settings in your theme that look pretty good, and can be changed easily at a later stage so they look as you want them to look.

Don’t feel you must decide everything now – just find out what you like….

Create Own Website – What To Do Now…

writing articlesConcentrate on thinking about what you want your website to say and 5 main articles you’ll want to start out with. Start gathering information and typing up business and contact information, thinking about a header or logo, and getting those articles ready to publish.

target audienceWho is Your Target Audience?

Perhaps more than anything, you need to do some market research and find out who your target audience will be. Are they predominantly male or female, young and trendy or business people in their middle years. Ask yourself what the function of your website is. Knowing what you want your website to achieve is essential when creating your own website.

Do you want to create a shopping website, a news website, a personal website, a brochure website to give people more information about your business, a profile website where you can display examples of your services. Do you want to create a site that enables you to get in contact with people or allow them to contact you via email.

Discover this information now, before you start to create a website that doesn’t have a clue what it’s about!

anchor textPlanning a Website’s Keywords

People find websites by searching, so it’s important to start planning some keywords for your website. You will need these to help the search engines index you for the topic you want to appear for. So read some articles about what keywords are and why you need them for a website plan. Do a search for anchor text. Anchor text is using a keyword in a link. When you start promoting, you’ll need to use keywords as anchor text in your links.

You will learn more about what to do as you continue to create your own website. The good thing is that if you do it the DIY Web way, you start with a good foundation so that you don’t have to try and fix what can’t be fixed. Learning and writing take time. You just want to send the right text message to your visitors to start with.

All the rest is decor, we’ll get to that later.

When you have finished initially planning your website, move on to the article about the website construction phase, where we talk about getting started on building your own website.

Continue Reading – Build My Own Website

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