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Making Your First Website
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Whether you’re planning your website to keep in touch with friends or family, or you are thinking about starting a business, a website is a great way to accomplish both. You will have your new masterpiece live on the Internet in full view of millions of people! Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? It is exciting! If you’re like most people who are making their first website, you might be wondering or worrying about how to go about it. I’m going to share with you my knowledge of websites here, but I promise I will stick to the basics for now, with more information to come later.

As with any worthwhile venture, planning each step of the process, then executing your well thought out plan is the best way to go. This will minimize confusion and the mistakes that many beginners make. I am going to assume that you also don’t want to invest a lot of money into your sight just yet. That’s a smart way to start.

To begin, as I said, you should have a plan. That is, a rough draft that you have drawn on paper that will give a basic look to your site. However, let your ideas fly as they may. You are the artist of your site so let your creative juices really get revved up here! When you are designing your home page, which is the first page a reader will see, keep in mind to stay on topic as best you can. If your site is for your family, treat it as if you were writing them a post card. So, many “rules” of website design probably won’t apply. On the other hand, if you’re making your first website for your business, keep in mind that relevant content is the rule. To prevent your site from becoming boring, try sprucing things up a little with some graphics, while making sure they are relevant to the topic of your site.

Speaking of graphics, be sure to use images that you have permission to use. Or, you can purchase those must have graphics directly from the author. In doing so, you will avoid issues with royalties. You can also purchase graphics from online graphics houses so you actually own the image and are welcome to use it as you see fit.

Try to remember that adding too many images to your site will use bandwidth and could cause your site to load slower than you would like. Your readers won’t appreciate that. With graphics, as well as with text, use proper alignment techniques so your site will look clean and organized. In fact, you can go online to Google Images and search for images that relate to your topic. Here, you can see what a good image looks like. Contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity are important factors in the design of your site, as well as the graphics you use.

Next, I’d like to discuss the importance of choosing a relevant domain name. I’ve touched on this in my other articles, and I’ll stress it again here. As far as SEO (search engine optimization) is concerned, choosing a relevant domain will only help you in the search engines by getting indexed sooner, rather than not at all because the search engine spider can’t figure out what your site is about. Little idiosyncrasies like that can make a difference with ranking. Again, if you are only doing your site for fun, I wouldn’t worry too much about this.

With the intense competition for relevant domain names that exists today, you may have to get a little creative with your domain name, and yet still keep it relevant to your topic. I think a good choice for domains is HostGator or OrderYourName, both of whom are very good companies to deal with. Once you have your domain, you can either use their free site building service to build your site, but keep in mind that you will be limited on what you can do as far as customization, or you can pay for them for hosting your site, which in turn will give you access to their site design tools. If it’s a basic site you’re planning, this should be fine. For a business, I would opt for something a little more flexible so you can learn as you go and apply your ideas freely until you come up with your masterpiece!

So far I’ve talked about making a plan for making your first website; the importance of great content and great graphics; and choosing a relevant domain name. This will take only a little bit of money and some of your time.

The things I’ve mentioned should get you off to a good start, but you are just barely getting started! As you gain experience and learn more about what is involved in making your first website, all of this will become easier and might even inspire you to learn more and more. Feel free! The Internet is vast and full of opportunity as long as you are willing to reach for your goals!


Street Talk

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