One of the reasons I love the modern Internet age is the ease with which I can share my hobbies, interests, and sale items with the world. I still remember a time when “having a website” meant hours and days of complex coding. Nowadays though, we have service that do most of that ground work for us, quickly and easily. Here are a few things to consider when you’re ready to make a website.
1. Ask Yourself If It Needs To Be A Website
If you’re enthusiastic about something, and you want the world to know about it, there’s already lots of ways to share that enthusiasm. Perhaps the most important step in making a website is to consider WHY the website should exist in the first place, and the answer is usually that it offers something to the reader.
I’ll give you an example. Some people love to cook. Every time they create something yummy-looking, they take a picture of it to show others. Of course, website readers might find this interesting, but how likely are they to visit (and re-visit) a blog that is only pictures of someone’s dinner?
On the other hand, including recipes with those pictures gives visitors something in return for looking at those pictures. People look for recipes on the internet, so by giving people something they’re looking for, you’ll draw attention to the stuff you want to show off with your website!
2. Look For Templates
There are dozens of services readily available on the Internet, all with templates that are as easy to complete as filling in a few blanks. Many of them even let you make a website for free!
The nice thing about templates is that someone has already created thousands of great-looking layouts, and paired them with easy-to-use navigation and functions, so all you have to do is pick one and get started. Some templates even let you tweak the colors or switch out certain design elements such as background pictures and icons, so even customizing your new website can happen quickly and painlessly.
Researching template-based website building services is very important. Use a search engine to look for website building services, and carefully consider the features they offer their clients.
3. Determine If Your Website Will Be A Presentation Or A Conversation
Generally speaking, websites work in one of two ways. They can either be “presentations”, which means people just read them, or they can be “conversations”, in which readers have a way to respond.
Presentation-style is not as popular as it used to be, but it’s the easier of the two to design and it still serves a very useful and specific purpose. If you’re trying to build your website quickly, and there’s no foreseeable reason for your readers to “talk back” to you or your posts, then this is definitely the way to go. The only real downside to presentation-style websites is that you are responsible for creating and updating content on your site all by yourself.
On the other hand, conversation-style websites draw in readers by making their website experience more interactive. They can leave comments or reviews that are visible to your other readers. Readers of your website will feel like they are part of the experience, because they will be! Conversation-style websites are a great way to share knowledge and learn what it is your readers might be looking for.
4. Find And Create Content For Your Site
Keep in mind that websites are multimedia – that means they can have words, pictures, music, and videos on them. You should take advantage of this!
Attach a blog to your site and write something every week. Take pictures often and make them part of your website design. Find music and videos that fit with your website’s purpose and share, share, share! Your website should be a vibrant and ever-changing museum, dedicated to whatever topic you’ve designed it around, and you are its curator.
5. Learn How Your Website Can Make You Money
There are many ways to make money with a website, so I’m only going to cover the two most popular: selling things, and advertising.
Selling goods and services online has become easier. Remember how we discussed templates earlier? You’ll be happy to know that a lot of the services providing those templates also offer easy access to e-commerce tools such as online shopping carts and secure payment services. You’ll want to research these payment methods and figure out which ones are right for you and your product or service.
Advertising is easy to set up, but can take a LOT of work before you see any real money come from it. Internet advertisers pay-out website owners based on traffic – that means the more people you can draw to your site, the better chance you have of making money from ads. You’ll want to make sure you update your site regularly, and promote your site as much as possible. This brings us to the final question…
6. Get People Looking At Your Website
Thanks to search engines, people can find whatever it is they’re looking for without having to memorize web addresses. That’s why when you design your website, make sure to include things people look for on search engines.
Of course, your website is going to end up on a big list of search results, next to other websites! I can recommend researching “search engine optimization” (“SEO” for short), however there’s another great way to steer traffic towards your site, and that’s through social media. Create a Twitter account and Facebook page for your new site, and then share them with friends using your personal Facebook and Twitter accounts. Updating these social media accounts every time you add new content to your website takes seconds, and increases the chances of your site getting popular!