So You Want to Build a Website!
Have you ever thought about building a website? You do not have to be a Fortune 500 company. There are a lot of reasons why people – just like you – have websites:
- Hobbies: Do you have a hobby that you're passionate about? Building a personal blog around your hobby can be both fun and rewarding. It brings you in contact with other people in your hobby, not just down the street but from around the world. And who knows, maybe someday your blog will open the door to new business opportunities.
- Family: Do you have family members scattered all over the country and around the world? A family website can bring distant family members closer together. Consider a blogging site for your family to display pictures and allow discussion between family members. And you can make your site "private" for only your family to see!
- Business: Do you have a small business? A website can get you listed in Google (if you do it right). Who do you know that uses the phone book anymore?
- Realtors: Ok, so you work for a large realtor that has a website. Put together your own website to showcase YOUR talents and get a Google listing!
- Insurance Agents: Do not think people go to the internet to buy insurance and / or find an insurance agent? Think again!
- Contractors: Carpenters, plumbers, electricians, flooring people. Get a listing in Google and get jobs locally!
- Online Marketing: You've heard the stories, and I do believe you need to take them with a "grain of salt". Be realistic in your expectations and watch out for peddlers of snake oil and bright shiny objects! If you learn the fundamentals, there are literally dozens of ways to make money with Online Marketing. But regardless of the approach you take, you'll always want a website.
And the list goes on and on!
Whatever your reasons for having a website, you're probably thinking "I'm not a programmer! I can not build a website!". Well, wake up and smell the roses! If you can use a computer and type an email, then you can build a website. You will even need a software program for developing and managing your website – often called a "content management system" or CMS.
Selecting a CMS: Unless you're already versed in the area of web design, trying to compare features of CMS programs will leave you confused and frustrated.
So to minimize collateral damage, I would recommend that you consider one of the "free" open source programs distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).
WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are three popular choices for a truly free open source CMS. Each of these systems are mature, power millions of websites, have active "communities", and have available literal thousands upon thousands of themes, plugins, and code libraries. But learning a CMS, like any new technology, can be a daunting task.
Learning a CMS: To learn any of these three CMS programs you do NOT need to buy any video courses, books, or training systems. You do NOT need to enroll in a course at a university or college. Fact is you do NOT need to spend one penny on training! Everything is available for FREE on the websites supported by their relevant communities.
The problem is you pretty much have to be "geek of the year" to wade through the mounds of information and figure out what you need to know and what you do not need to know.
An online video course can make learning a CMS virtual painless. Videos allow you to actually observe the instructor as he performs specific tasks. Then pause the video and try it for yourself.
Things you want to look for in an online video course:
- Is the material organized? The course should start with the basics and never assume you have any prior knowledge of the subject matter.
- Does the author update the course and add new modules as the CMS evolves?
- Are the videos short? Short videos – say 5 to 10 minutes – are easier on the nerves. But what's really nice is being able to go back to the course and re-watch a video devoted to a specific topic to help you solve a problem.
- Is the presentation professional? The videos should be big enough to view comfortably without having to go full screen. The instructor should be professional and speak clearly.
Summary: So you want to build a website?
- Identify your reason for having a website.
- Select a "content management system" or CMS.
- Find a good online video course to reduce the learning curve.
Then have fun with your new website!