Creating your own personal website isn’t the difficult, horrific task that it appears to be. In fact, it can actually be fun once you get started! These tips and tricks will help you get your website up and running and help you avoid creating a site that is unreadable or annoying to visitors.
First of all, you need a server (a computer dedicated to hosting websites) or a web host to store your files on. Servers are computers you actually own that are always connected to the internet. Unless you own a small business or are planning on building many different websites, you probably want to look for a web host. These are sites dedicated to providing server space for users on their computers. Yahoo, Tripod, Angelfire, and many other hosts exist. Some, like these three, are free, while others require a small monthly or yearly fee. The free sites generally include some kind of pop up advertisement or banners that appear on all of your pages, so if you don’t want that, you’ll probably want to pay for web space. Before signing up for web hosting, check with your Internet Service Provider. Some, like AOL or SBC, include web space as part of your service.
Next, you need to pick your program: Microsoft FrontPage, Dreamweaver, Publisher, and dozens of other programs can be used to design your webpages. Some web hosting sites like Yahoo actually offer free web-based programs for you to use. These are good options if you’re not going to be building a massive site or if you have limited funds..
Finally, there’s the option of registering your own domain name. This costs, as well, although sites like godaddy.com offer domain registration for less than ten dollars. Why register a domain? Mainly, for ease of sharing your website. It’s much easier to remember www.johnswebpage.com than it is to remember something like www.webhost.com/users/john. Domains generally have to be renewed every year, and your domain name must be unique.
Now it’s time to get to work designing your site! Pull up your program of choice and begin creating your world. Here are some helpful tips to make your site look professional, attractive, and easy to browse:
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Avoid “mystery meat navigation” – make sure visitors know where your links will take them.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ If possible, avoid underlining any text that isn’t a link. Visitors will automatically assume that clicking on underlined text will take them somewhere.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Blinking text (and clichÃ?Â©s) should be avoided like the plague!
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Be consistent with font, text size, and color on elements that appear on multiple pages, such as headings. Likewise, keep a consistent style throughout your site (think of each page of your website as a page in a magazine).
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Make certain your text and background don’t clash. Besides being a fashion faux pas, it will make your text hard to read.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Keep in mind page loading time when designing your site. Too many large pictures will keep your page from loading quickly.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ However, don’t be too stingy with pictures, either. Use graphics to make your site visually interesting and to break up large chunks of text.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Take a look at other websites and take note of what you like about them. For example, if you find a site that’s really easy to navigate, see if you can incorporate their navigation method into your site.
Once you’ve uploaded your site, send the address out to a few friends and ask for their thoughts. Besides finding that one grammar error that you know you fixed three times, they can give you good feedback on navigation, color schemes, and the information presented on your page.
Finally, be prepared to set aside some time each month to update your site, adding new information and checking all of the pages for broken links. Keeping your site up-to-date is just as important as creating it in the first place. In terms of public relations, your website highlights and sells you to the world, so make certain it always has the latest information.
By following these simple steps to setting up your page and these tips on how to get started, you should have no problem creating a great website that presents you to the internet and the world!