How to Design Your Own Website – Your Options

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Website design may seem to be a daunting prospect to many people, but there are many different ways that you can choose to put up your own website very quickly and easily. It doesn’t have to be rocket science.

The problem with website design is that we think it is complicated. We see some really great looking websites and cannot imagine ever having one of our own like it. Yes, it’s true, some of these mega-sites require a lot of work. But it is also true that there are many ways you can get your own site up and running very easily – if you know where to look. Here’s a brief summary of some of the methods available to you.

For the options below I assume you already know or have your own hosting set up and know about getting your own domain name and uploading using FTP.

1. Use ready-made templates. These are websites either of one page or many pages (eg minisite) already set up with most of the information you will need. You just add your own details, ie affiliate links, name etc and upload it to your hosting company. There are a lot of people offering ready-made websites either free, for a one-off payment, or monthly subscription. However, these will require a certain amount of amendment, so you may need help from a friend if you can’t understand the instructions which come with them. Some may seem overly complicated and require a few attempts to get right; others need just a few tweaks and they are ready to go. You then just upload them to your webspace using FTP.

2. Have someone design your website for you. This is usually the most expensive option. You must plan exactly what you want in advance and get several quotes for the job. If you know someone, a friend or family member, who can design your site for you, then well and good. If not, you can find people on freelance sites like guru.com, getafreelancer etc. or you can find specialist companies local to you. Bear in mind that it may be quite difficult getting your ideas across to someone who is working for you from the other side of the world, even if it is cheaper. You need to be very well organised and plan and explain precisely what you want – down to the minutest detail. To be honest, this is something I would only recommend once you have some knowledge of website design, or it could cost you dear.

3. Learn to do it yourself. For this there are three main options:

  • learn HTML – the website design language. It’s not that hard and can be fun. However, it depends how complicated you want your site to be whether you still need to get help. One of the Dummies guides would be a good buy.
  • buy and learn to use a proprietary program. Something like WebPlus by Serif is very inexpensive yet extremely versatile. At the other end of the market is FrontPage by Microsoft – and there are loads more in between. Run a search for “website design programs” and you will get millions of results, or try “FrontPage alternative”. Other sources are places like tucows.com and zdnet.com.
  • use an online program. Many of these are free, some require a monthly subscription. There are many membership sites which provide a webpage design program as one of the tools. You may not get stunning pages, but they will be functional and are usually very quick to learn. Either of the above searches will yield results of this type.

Most programs which you use from your own computer or online will have FTP built-in. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol which simply put, is the means by which you move your design from your PC to its online home ie over to your hosting company. Once that’s done you can see your pages by putting its URL (the http://www…) in your browser.

4. There is yet another alternative. If you want a web presence, really quickly, then why not keep it simple and start with a Blog. The simplest and fastest way is to use Google’s Blogspot, but WordPress is considered just about the best there is. But even with WordPress there are two different ways to do it, which I shan’t go into here. All three have their pros and cons. The most recommended method, because you have total control, is to set up your blog on your own domain using the WordPress files you get from WordPress (.org version). There is a lot of help available on the web for just this purpose, but for simplicity and speed, get started with Blogspot; it helps you pick up the basics very quickly and you can progress to other things in your own good time.

Neither Blogspot nor WordPress (.com version) require you to have your own hosting or domain, so they are also the least expensive of the blogging options. You could set up either of these in a matter of minutes if you already have the content ready and waiting.

If you do decide to ‘do it yourself’ and build your own website you will gain a lot of expertise. Remember that any attempt is better than none and that even the grottiest website can be successful as long as it has useful content – just as the most beautifully designed site will be useless if its content is rubbish!

Source by Lynda Hill

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