We are now living in an age, where you can find just about anything in a Google Search bar. Now, more than ever, it’s important to stake out a place on the web where you or your business can be found. Whether you are a recent college graduate looking for a job, a church congregation looking to grow, or a business seeking new clients, having a presence on the web is paramount.
Mobile Friendly Website is a Must
A website is a good start to building your presence on the web, but your quest doesn’t end there – you’ll need to make sure that your website is aesthetically pleasing and mobile-friendly. The appearance of your website says a lot about you to its viewers. If your website is cluttered with excessive amounts of tiny text – it’s highly likely that your viewers will never return again, especially if they viewed your website from a mobile device. Mobile devices now account for 17.4% of global web traffic worldwide – that’s 2.1 billion viewers you are missing out on. Granted, at this stage you may not be looking to reach everyone in the world, but there is a good chance that the people who you need to reach, are members of the mobile-browsing community.
How to Create a Website
If you made it this far, there’s a good chance that you are sold on the need for a website. So, let’s talk about how to create one. First, you’ll need to decide on a few things, because the path to building your website is like a freeway – there are many different directions you can go.
First, you’ll need to decide whether to register a domain name (i.e. paleolithicfilms.com) or if you can settle with a subdomain (i.e. paleolithicfilms.wordpress.com). I recommend registering your own domain, because it contains only your name, which is more professional and credible than choosing a subdomain of someone else’s domain.
If you have decided to register a domain, you’ll need to decide on what that name should be. Most dictionary words and common names are no longer available for the Top-level domain (TLD) .com, but there is good news! Besides the other common TLDs, such as, .org, .net, .biz, .us, .info, .co, there are also over 100 other Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) that may be available to you (depending on where you live) to choose from. So if you want to register a domain (i.e. visually.com or jasontorres.com), but they were taken – you can choose one of the available ccTLDs to register a creative workaround, such as, visual.ly or jasontorr.es. I recommend that you brainstorm a list of domains you are interested in, because there’s a good chance most of the ones you come up with might be taken.
Next, you’ll need to decide what type of website you want to create. Do you want a static web page or dynamic web page (do you want a few pages that give general information or do you want a website to post new content to regularly)? To decide which is right for you, you must consider your website’s purpose. If you are a restaurant, it might make sense to create a static website where all you need to post is your menu, hours of operation and the location of your business. If you are a writer, graphic designer or video editor, you are going to want a dynamic website where you can easily post new content regularly.
Now that you have decided what type of website you need, it’s time to consider who you want to build your website. Do you want to do it yourself or would you prefer someone else to take care of all the technical and creative work for you? This may depend on the time you have to devote to working on it and/or budget. If you are a college student working on a tight budget, for $20 per year at WordPress.com you can register a domain and create a pretty slick, mobile friendly blog that you can use as your portfolio website. Be forewarned though, you may outgrow the basic features offered and will be prodded to spend anywhere between $99+ per year for upgraded services and $129 to relocate to a self-hosted WordPress.org installation, which provides even greater flexibility. If you would like someone to professionally build your website for you instead, I highly recommend J12Designs or you may contact me about the services I provide.
If you decide to create your own website, but want to use something other than WordPress, you’ll need to look for a web-host such as iPage. At iPage you can not only host your website, but register your domain as well, even obscure TLDs like .tv, .mobi, and .me.
Creating your own website, yourself, will require one of two things. You will either need to purchase software such as Adobe Dreamweaver or Adobe Muse and develop your website through the use creative processes which may require additional software or choose a Content Management System (CMS), such as WordPress.org, Drupal, Joomla, Concrete5 etc., which are usually included with a hosting plan from web hosts, such as iPage.
Either path you choose, whether it be to use a CMS or software – you may want to purchase a template. Templates save a lot of time and help produce professional grade results that bring you closer to your goal, which is to have an attractive, mobile friendly website. There are a lot of places to find templates, here are just a few: themeforest.net, mimundografico.com, templatemonster.com. Please keep in mind you’ll need to search for templates that are specifically made for the web-building tool you are using.