Pay someone else
This is probably the most expensive out-of-pocket route, but it is there if you wish to take it. There are many people, like me and others, that will be glad to do the work for you. The difference you have know some knowledge about website building. Now when you go hire someone you can ask relevant question and be sure you aren't be scammed. Know this, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Try to hold yourself from being cheap and getting some programmer you found online that will build you a website for $20. While it might be true, it probably won't end quite the way you want it to. My advice is either to find someone local or at least someone who is available to Skype with or talk over the phone. I have heard some horror stories in this department that I don't really care to repeat. If money is an issue, consider hiring a young high school or better yet a college student. Having someone with little experience is not as bad as you might think.
Do it yourself
This might be the most time consuming, but it is the most rewarding. If you do decide to it yourself, make sure you have the time, are a fast learner and are generally above average on a computer. Just because you know how to logging in to Facebook and check emails on Gmail doesn't mean you are ready to take the construction of your website on yourself. Fear not, there is a lot of help available to you online, but it is a changeling task. Many people chose this option just to find out they don't have all the tools they need and give up half way through. You have to be committed, have a plan and stick to it. This is the route I chose to take and in the following stages I will go into every detail I can about what I did and what I am doing as I go along.
Using a Framework
Frameworks are not new by any means. The first frame work is dated back to 1993 named Common Gateway Interface or CGI for short. We have come a long way since then and Frameworks have become very powerful. Some of the popular ones include but aren't limited to Drupal, Joomla, Rails, Yii Framework and etc. There are also tools like wikis and blogging platforms that for the sake of argument we will consider Framework. So what does all that mean? A Framework takes away all the overhead of building a website and give you some tools that can make your life a lot easier. Should you do it? It depends, if you are considering it you probably have some basic web skills and can figure it out by yourself. Most of these Frameworks are very well commented and well supported by large communities. In the mean time I will wish you good luck with these.
So you understand the basics of your needs, you have your targets identified and have a general grasp of what an anatomy of a website is. Where do you go from here? Well, you need to plan the "tree" layout of your website. Before I present my work for Temp3.net, lets run a little exercise together.
For the sake of this exercise, lets say we have a flower shop. After much thought we decided we want to build a website and we came up with the following goals:
- The website needs to contain our phone number for customers to call
- The website needs to have pictures of flower settings for customer to see what they are getting
- The website needs to contain some background information about us (such as how long we have been in business)
- The website needs to generate at least 1 call per day in the first 60 days of the website.
So we start off with these goals in mind, but how is do we go from this to a website? You start from a home page. After that we need to decide how many children, that is how many pages are linked from the home page. We need at least one page for the pictures, one for background (or about us page) and one for contact information and maybe even our physical address. This means that so far our website will look something like this:
Having your website planned in a tree like structure has many advantages. For instance, let us assume that the first 30 days have past since the lunch of our website and we have got 3 orders a day at least directly from a website. This is great, but now we want to add some more information. Lets say we want to add also a page about flowers for special occasions and we also want to add a page to show off what our customer think about us. This enlarges our tree and now we have more than one option of what we can do. The result:
Which ever way you go, try to make it simple, yet informative and intuitive. Think about yourself as a customer. If you are looking for a flower shop for you wedding, which website layout is better? The one where you first go to flower settings and than to flowers for special occasions or when it is linked from the home page? I would say the second one is probably preferred in this case, but that is not always the case.
Before we begin talking about a website you might need to step back and evaluate these two questions in your mind. Everyone is different and you might find yourself with these question in mind.
Do I need my own website?
There are many reasons you might find yourself in need for a website. Maybe you are a business owner, or maybe you are looking for a job and are wanting to get yourself noticed. Perhaps you are taking a class, or maybe you are just want your own place on the World Wide Web. Whatever the reason might be having your own website in our day and age is pretty much a must and a given for any of us. Having your own website will get you noticed and generate awareness for whatever you are trying to promote.
Where do I start?
So you have rightfully decided you want your own website, but where do you start? Well, there are about three different routes you might take. Keep in mind, these are not the only options, but are suggestion I find are easy to follow. The first is to get someone else to do it for you. This is the easiest route to take, but is not the best route. This is also more than likely the most expensive one. Even if you do decide to hire someone else to do it for you, I urge you to keep reading the next few page. It might save you more than a couple of bucks in the long run. The next option is the other extremest, do it yourself from scratch. This option is good, but is time consuming, and as we know time is money. It may also requires you to learn some new skills. And then there is the third option which is the intermediate between them. The option is to use a framework to help build your site. A good example for this is WordPress. This will take away some of the technical issues and leave you to work on content, which is the main reason you have a website in the first place.