In this article I would highlight three basic requirements in launching your website which are purpose, focus and skills. Yes that’s it.
Foremost, the PURPOSE refers to setting up goals and target, which you want your site to achieve; this is great because it gives you motivation to work harder in order to achieve your goal. Why create a personal brand online anyway? There are hundreds of reasons to launch a personal website, amidst it includes gaining credibility increased sales, respect for the individual or organization, therefore it is vital to develop and protect one’s personal brand well into the future. Your aim could as well be to gain popularity in a particular field, garner increased readership, create a resource / freebies that visitors would return to (long term readers).
NOTE: A personal website shouldn’t be all about you but seeking to contribute to a greater cause.
Secondly, FOCUS, if your focus is on an area of expertise, having passion in that field is important as it might shows that you are beginning with the end in mind. Personally, it made sense to focus on branding to showcase my expertise in this area, though quite broad. It is also noteworthy to answer questions like, what will be the main purpose of my site? What type of visitors am I expecting and how much of traffic do I need frequently to achieve set goals? Do I foresee putting ads on my site? How will I generate income to sustain my website online? What do I need to continuously do to keep traffic to my website? All these would affect the cost, ease of use and maintenance of the site. Once you make your decision, it is of important to note from the start that it is a long-term investment. Maintenance is key, the sheer amount of effort and energy you put into it affects its output. Also important is to focus on your audience, your contacts, & publishing schedule
Lastly, SKILLS, Many people think that building a website consist of one skill when in fact, it consist of many skills (don’t get scared yet). Just like there are various spoken languages worldwide, so also is the language of the web, there are many website builders such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and many more that can build a great looking website in just a few clicks. However standing out from the crowd requires investing time it takes to learn some of the skills to create a website. Web skills required includes knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP if you want control over your website.
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO CREATING YOUR PERSONAL ONLINE EXPERIENCE
An analogy I use in explaining having a website is with real estate. In building a house, the first thing you do is to purchase the land (your domain name), register it with the appropriate authorities which you renew yearly, then your next step is building, you then have to decide if it’s a bungalow, duplex you would like to build on it (Web Hosting) choosing your specification. The next step is employing an architect to design the building with the help artisans or laborer’s (web designers/developers) to work on the building to make sure your electrical, plumbing units are functioning properly.
1. Hosting and Domain Name Registration (Foundation of Building):
I believe strongly that you should “own” everything about your site. That includes not only the domain name but the hosting as well. No longer does it cost thousands of dollars to build website. It is actually quite inexpensive. Typical domain registration and hosting costs less than NGN5,600 per annum approximately $35USD. Domain Registration refers to having a personal name online e.g. www.asotoadeola.com. Domain name should be chosen properly, it is good to avoid long names like www.asotoadeolainternationallimited.com because users might feel reluctant in typing such long web address. Purchasing of domain names can be done through registrar site such as www.netfirms.com, www.godaddy.com. Web hosting refers to the web space allocated to you online and you are able to register unlimited numbers of emails such as email@example.com.
A hosting account is essential, I recommend going with www.hostgator.com. Also important is to learn your control panel of your hosting provider so as to be able to complete necessary tasks such as creating emails. The tutorials are usually provided after the login details are provided to you.
2. Website Installation (Choosing the Perfect Environment):
Now before you begin, it is necessary to think of your needs, I recommend using WordPress, it takes only a click to install and easy to maintain. WordPress uses what is referred to as theme which are usually available either free or premium depending on the type of site you envision or type of design, what you want your site to achieve, etc. Visit www.wordpress.com, there are varieties of free or paid themes that can be install on your website. One can create a website without any programming language and even given the right hosting package, all is needed is to just drag & drop your preferred images and content using a website builder/template and your webpage is ready though it might require a little bit of trial by error in getting this done.
3. Planning (Planning your Environment):
This is where you bring in your architect and other complimentary profession to assist in the building of your house or website in this case. It involves your creative strategy, research, sketching how your site should look like. How many pages would you be requiring such as “about me”, “services” & “contact” pages which is vital for every website. Also content is the one that is going to tell visitors what you are selling and what features it has. If you want visitors to get stuck in there and buy what you are selling, then it is the content of your website not the heavy design that is going to speak for you. Content is of maximum importance, so add images or videos along with content to attract more customers to your website.
4. Design & Coding (Interior Design and Furnishing):
I would say that it is not enough for you to have a website. Design is important even if your site is functioning properly, because your site represent your personality from style & color, will determine what message you convey to your visitors. Web graphic which is quite different form graphic design is a very good skill to have, that’s the ability to create and modify your own artwork and get it to look how you want it to look, practice with software’s like CorelDraw, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Fireworks. To learn I highly recommend watching videos tutorials on how to use them (I am also self-taught) or if you have got extra cash to spend, hire a graphic/web.
5. Launching Your Site (House Warming):
Personally, this is the most rewarding part after so much input and effort. Before launching, put in place considerations such as promoting the site via networking, advertising, use of social media. All these requires getting to know your target audience and devising a strategy to promote to them via various channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
In conclusion, It is important to test one’s site thoroughly by testing all functionalities of your website well before launch.
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So why not start by creating your personal website today?