Guest Blog by Robert Mening
I’ve been building websites since 2009 and I wanted to share my knowledge on that topic to help fellow freelance writers.
Lately, I’ve been helping a lot of writers, small businesses and even startups to set up their own sites. I’ve also received a ton of questions from my visitors.
One of the main question that is being asked a lot is following: “Is it difficult to create a website for myself? Or perhaps I should hire a web designer?”
In short, setting up a website is easy as boiling eggs these days. Fairly easy, but you can still get a couple of things wrong.
Decide: Blog or a website?
Blog is a type of website, nothing else. Blogs are built on CMS (Content management software), such as WordPress, Tumblr, Blogspot, Drupal and so on.
I’m preaching WordPress since this is by far the easiest platform to add new content, images and even videos. So if you are a writer, go with WordPress. Or if you don’t like the interface for some reason, you could also try Blogspot.
WordPress has a big variety of different FREE themes, which you can easily change on your WordPress admin page. It’s very user-friendly and doesn’t have a huge learning curve.
With those platforms (WordPress & Blogspot) you are able to create a blog as well as a website or just a mixture of them. Problem solved. There’s absolutely no need to start learning HTML5 or any other coding languages.
Decide: Self-hosted or not?
If you have some money to spend on your website – go with self-hosted option.
If you don’t want to spend ANY money on your website – go with a free service.
When you go with a self-hosted version, you’ll also need a hosting and domain name. This will cost you approx. $40 – $80 per year. One of the best in the hosting & domain industry is HostGator and Godaddy. Here’s what you can get from them:
- You get a personal e-mail address: john@YourAwesomeSite.com
- You have your own personal domain name, rather than having a blogspot.com/yoursitenamehere
- You have full control over your site. No one can take it down or delete it.
As an alternative, you could try free blogging/website services such as Blogger or free version of WordPress.
What should YOU add on your website
Now that you’ve got a website with a theme, be sure to add a couple of really important pages.
1) Add an “About me” page, so the people can check out whose stories they are reading. Just write a few lines about yourself – who you are, what you do and so on. This can get readers hooked up with your content very quickly.
2) Add a “Contact” page where the audience can reach you from if they have any questions regarding your writings. Be aware, though: If your website is starting to get a lot of traffic, you’ll get some spam as well.
3) Integrate email subscription service with your website so that you could gather your visitors email addresses and let them know about your new content, offers or even e-books. This email “marketing” software can be bought from MailChimp and Aweber. At first you won’t probably need it, but it’s worth adding at some point for sure.
As I mentioned above, creating a website is not a rocket science. There’s absolutely no need to fill a web designer/developer pockets with your hard-earned money. It’s easy – just try it out and see how far can you go. If you get stuck, you can always search information from Google.
Meet our Guest Blogger, Robert Mening:
“My name is Robert Mening and I was born in Sweden, Malmö 28 years ago. All my life I’ve been interested in computers and web. I built my first website in 2004 and ever since then I’ve been a full-time web designer and web developer.”
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