I don’t think I can begin to tell you the amount of times I’ve come to my own websites and thought to myself, I’m going to make something amazing. You start on your own projects, you get sidetracked, you come back and you scrap all your thoughts on it. You start fresh once again the cycle tends to repeat at least for me. I’m rather doubtful I’ll ever be completely or even close to completely happy with my own site. I can rather easily however be quite happy with a customer site. It’s strange you think to yourself, I can do so much better than this it’s going to be completely amazing … time passes and you don’t get around to it. Client work gets in the way and if you’re busy then you probably shouldn’t be working on your own site too much unless you’re worried for the future. With all that being said I’m launching my site and it’s going to not have very much in the way of amazing styling. Why? because as most SEO expects will tell you content is king. While of course imagery is content (and the old adage “a picture paints a thousand words” rings true) it hopefully shouldn’t be the focus of your site. Will people remember the nice image or will they remember the cool article on your site?
With that in mind I’m starting fresh and I’m starting clean.
I’ve countless commercial themes at my disposal all of which make me go I’m not happy with them for my site and of course there are all the free themes available as well. So I’m going to stick with the default WordPress theme and I’m going to try to focus instead on writing some useful content.
If you’re new to websites it can be rather daunting at first. Hell it can be rather daunting even going on. There’s always something new to do or think of so it can always be worth paying someone to do it all for you. Whether you’re after something basic or a completely custom job time is money. I’m working for a web hosting company called Blacknight and one of the things they offer with their shared hosting ( see we’ve already gone from wanting a simple website to talking about web hosting … a company called Blacknight .. and shared hosting whatever that is.
So let me dumb things down if you’re new to all this. If you want a website you generally need a few things
1: A credit card ( or some method of paying for your website … paypal .. cheque (though there will be delays) … and so on ) There are always free ways of getting a website but as we can see from yet another example in the last week or so .. Posterous ( a free website provider ) is closing up and this leaves all their existing users / website owners .. well .. basically homeless on the web. So I put together an article the other day on moving from Posterous to WordPress. One of the key things I mention in there … if you’re not a paying customer then you generally are the product.
2: You’re going to want a domain name. A domain is basically what you see up top in the address bar. My domain is forbairt.com. There are many different extensions ( the ending bit .com .me .net .org …. ) The most popular is .com ( there are around 90 million registered in the world .. so changes are you’ll having difficulty getting mydomain.com ) If you’re based in Ireland .ie is quite popular but again there are problems with .ie as you need to provide a lot of details as to why you should have the domain name. If you want a personal domain I love the idea of .me
3: You’ll want web hosting. Web hosting is where you put all your files. In my case here I’ve installed WordPress which lets me use a nice interface to add pages / images and tweak my website. There are many ways of going about this. WordPress is one of the most popular systems out there. (shared hosting mentioned above means your website lives with a lot of other websites on the same machine … this is generally the most cost effective way of getting online)
4: Time. Getting everything together for your website takes time … a whole lot of precious time ( I promise I won’t break into song) Writing takes time. Think about your website takes time. Taking a photo takes time. Getting people to visit your website … making a logo … creating banners and so on… So now the big question is how much of your time can you spend on this and is it just easier to go hire someone?
So what do you need for a website to summarize:
- Payment Method
- Domain Name
- Web Hosting
- Time … if you don’t have it you might want to think about hiring someone who does.
What I recommend .. go to blacknight.com today find a domain name you like. They cost a few euro. Can’t think of something … brainstorm with friends you trust. Buy the domain name. Buy some web hosting (I’d recommend getting a 1 year linux minimus subscription). Use the app vault that comes with your web hosting to install WordPress (it’s quick and easy and practically automatic). Play a little bit. It’s going to take you an hour or two in total to get your own website / hosting and WordPress installed. If you can’t invest that to start with in your website why are you even bothering. After that you’ll be able to decide is this something I can do myself and can invest the time in or should I just hire someone or a company to do it all for me. A lot of your answer is going to boil down to two things.
- How much is your time worth
- Can you afford to pay someone to do a professional job for you
And hey presto … I’d like to think I’ve started with a bit of a bang on my blog. Can I keep up writing content. Will it get better. Who knows stay tuned :)