It’s time to get rolling! There are a few things you need to do before we have our first class
- You’ll need to purchase a domain name and point it to the correct address.
- Obtain a logo
- Write some content for your Homepage
- Select some images
Don’t worry, it won’t be too painful. I’ll guide you through these steps and introduce you to some of my favorite free and subscription-based services.
You’ll also notice that I’m all about options. There are literally hundreds of ways to build a beautiful website. I’ll share my favorite tips and tricks and do my best to guide you towards good options for your budget and website goals.
Select a Domain Name
If you don’t already have a domain name, you’ll need to get one. Domains are sold by domain registrars. I use and recommend GoDaddy. At the very top of their website home page you’ll find a box where you can enter domain names you are interested in. GoDaddy will tell you if the domain is available and how much it will cost. Try to find a name the matches your business, is as short as possible and easy to spell and remember. Here is an article I like with more information about selecting a domain name. He does suggest that you buy all the extensions associated with your domain. I’m not sure that is necessary and it can be costly. If it’s in your budget for this project and you’d like to own them all it certainly won’t hurt anything but it’s not necessary for the purposes of this class. After you’ve selected and purchased your domain you’ll need to do 1 of 3 things to point the domain to my servers so that I can build your site.
Shoot me an email with your GoDaddy login id and password and I’ll take care of it.
Make me a delegate, this will give me permission to manage your DNS without requiring you to share your login & password. Click HERE for instructions.
Set the nameservers yourself. If you are going this route, shoot me an email and I’ll tell you which nameservers to use. Click HERE for instructions.
Please don’t hesitate to call or shoot me an email if you have questions. The sooner this is done the better. I can’t build your site until this step is complete.
Obtain a Logo
Another word about your logo. I LOVE logos that I can take apart and that have some sort of symbol. This gives us lots of design options. We can make the logo long and thin, stack it to form a square or just use the symbol by itself.
The next consideration is your Logo. I’d like to offer three price points for getting this done.
FREE ~ if you’re on a budget a good option is Canva. Canva is an online design studio with templates for social media, presentations, brochures AND (you guessed it) Logos. There is also a paid version that offers more options. The big drawback that comes with creating your logo this way is that it’s a template, so won’t be unique and you won’t be able to trademark it down the road. That said, they look nice and will get the job done.
Semi-custom ~ There are several companies that will provide a complete logo pack and even offer revisions for under $150. A couple options are selecting a designer on a freelancer site such as Fiverr or Upwork. You can also simply google “Logo Design.” When selecting an online service like this, choose the package that offers as many “design concepts” as you can afford and always look for “unlimited revisions.” These designers will send you their ideas and you’ll select the one you like the best. They will not sit down with you or chat on the phone to learn about your business. BEWARE of the “Design Your Own” logo sites. You’ll often put in some time to design a logo you like using one of their tools, only to find that in order to get it in a usable format you must pay them. It’s free to design it, but you must pay to own it.
Custom ~ Custom designers will chat with you, learn about your business and create a logo that is truly a unique reflection of your business. The designers I’ve selected to recommend can do either a logo or a complete brand concept that includes colors and fonts. Here are some options in this category, they both do beautiful work!
Text & Images
The last thing you’ll need to do is write some copy for your front page.
The content for your front page doesn’t have to be extremely long. Just think about what you’d like your visitors to know about you as soon as they visit. On many websites this looks a little like a mission statement, on others, it’s a list of services.
You will also want to collect some images for your website. NEVER EVER just Google a word, click “Images” and start saving pictures. The images that show up in a google search are likely copyrighted and you can be sued for using them on your website without permission.
Never fear though. There are two great sites that offer FREE beautiful royalty free images. Pixabay and Unsplash are both fantastic resources for free stock images. You can also use any pictures that you have taken or that someone has given you permission to use.
Remember when you are selecting photos that you want the mood and tone of the image to reflect YOU and YOUR business.