Please note, this post is out of date. These days I suggest you use WordPress as the software to set up a website. WordPress with a good host can allow you to put up a website quite quickly.
I have already posted about placing a Business Card Web Page online. But what if you want something a little more advanced?
First, I should mention creating anything more than a one Business Card Web Site takes enough time that you might be getting into the realm of wanting to hire someone to help you. If you hire someone make sure you write the copy or hire a good agency (which understands ethics rules) to write the copy for you.
What is a simple Website?
A simple Website is something without much in the way of special effects and no major coding. My timing in this post is not coincidental. I took you through the process of creating a Business Card Web Page when I created one for myself. Well, last night I finally got around to creating something a little more advanced. This time my site has 3 pages, Home, About and Contact. If you so desire you can view my site here.
Get Some Software
The first thing you will need to do to design your own simple site is to find a program that will help you. Generally there are three options: Visual, HTML or both.
Visual means what the name suggests. Something that allows you to create your Site much like you would create a Word document (though not quite that easy.) HTML means you are using a combination of coding and tools provided by the software (for example you don’t need to remember the code for link, the software has a button you click on to make a link.) Both, of course, means the software enables you to do both.
I ended up using software by a company called Coffee Cup. I tried the Visual program but ended up preferring the HTML program; I found the Visual too limiting. Neither program is expensive and both offer free trials. I am not necessarily recommending you use Coffee Cup software. It just happens to be what I used to make my site. Make sure you pick an easy to use program. Don’t go with something that requires a huge learning curve. You won’t be using most of the tools at this point anyway.
Consider a Template
Whether you use Coffee Cup or something else you might find it useful to buy or use an included template. I recommended you find software that allows use of templates because this gives you a basis from which to start designing your site. A template will normally include things such as unchanging headers throughout the site and other details you might find difficult to create on your own.
Map Out Your Site
Once you have the software and possibly a template, think about what you want to accomplish with your site. My goal at this point is simply to introduce myself to people and provide contact information. You may have other requirements.
Map out what you need and think about what you want your site to say. Write out your copy and edit it to make certain it fits into the site physically and creates the impression you want to create about yourself.
If you don’t already have a good logo or picture of yourself I recommend you obtain one. In your efforts to brand yourself you want something that is identifiable with you. Currently I use a simple logo but I will arrange to have a picture taken soon. I have also hired a freelance artist to create a more appropriate logo for me.
Work on your site until it conveys the impression you want it to convey. Don’t rush it. Take some time and make sure the coding is correct (review the site in various browsers without uploading it) and that it says what you want it to say.
Never forget the ethics rules and make sure you put a good disclaimer on your site so people understand you are not forming an attorney client relationship with them, nor are you providing legal advice.
Check Your Hosting Package
Make sure your hosting package covers the additions you are making to your site. Any basic package should cover a 3-5 page site without any difficulties. If your hosting package doesn’t cover anything more than a 1 page site, upgrade it or find a new provider.
Upload Your Site
Once your site is ready, upload it. Coffee Cup contains an internal ftp program that made it easy to upload my site with the click of a button. Most good programs have this ability. My host also has an FTP site which enables me to upload a site relatively easily.
That’s it. Now you have a slightly more advanced site that will show people who you are and what services you provide.