A friend asked me recently about websites, setting them up, design, and “Where do I start?” I wrote a long email in response, and then realized it might be helpful to others, too. This is just a beginning, and I am not a coder. That means that I can fudge a little HTML if I need to, but I’d rather not. I’d rather plug and play and not spend too much time on it, I don’t have that kind of time. I am willing to bet you don’t, either. So…
Really, really easy, and intuitive. I think you will be able to handle it pretty much from the beginning, and there is a large forum of helpful people when you have questions. I have designed and manage several wordpress sites, including sanborntonfarm.com, facepaintnh.com, cedarwrites.wordpress.com and splnh.com.
One of the best ways to start with your website design is to look at websites you like. Make notes of what you find attractive, or detrimental about them. if you scroll all the way to the bottom of a page, you will usually find the name of the platform the site is based on, and in a wordpress site, the “theme” of that site. Themes are like a template, which you can use to give your site a certain look, while not having to code everything.
Once you have a feel for what you want to do with the site, you can start setting it up for free with WordPress, or you can use a hosting company to create a commercial page. To start off, you may want to create a free blog just to get a feel for it, and post regular updates there, be they thoughts, short essays, or what-not. It would be a good exercise for you, and if you need idea prompts I have some truly evil… um, make that ingenious ones!
Yes, frequent, regular updates are important. Search engines look for fresh content to put at the top of search results, but stuffing your wordage with SEO words can backfire, as Google redid their algorithms to penalize sites that were capitalizing on that loophole. Using a site like hubspot.com to run your site through and see what you can do to make the site better will help give you a place to start when you see results start to back off.
With my facepaintnh.com site, I see an uptick in email inquiries every time I update the site, either with text, or photos that are alt. text tagged. For a business site this is important. For the writing site, I have a stat counter that tells me how many have come to see the site, and where they came from, and what they clicked. For all the sites I have google analytics, that allows me to monitor my traffic in such detail I’m not sure what to do with it all!
There is so much. Yes, a finding a good course will be useful. See if you can find one on WordPress, or even just look online, there are a plethora of youtube videos on how to that are a good way to get started.
Let me know what questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them.