Creating your Website

In my last webpost I discussed the importance of having a website. But now lets dig in a little deeper on how to get your website created.  It’s not hard to do.  There is some simple software to use, there are website experts, and there’s everything in between.  How do you know where to start?  Here are some guidelines.

All websites start with a url (your website address), a website host (the place where your data is stored), and content.  This is where a marketer might come in handy.

The next step is design.  There are programs that are simple and inexpensive to use, that will give you everything you need. If you want a more unique or sophisticated aesthetic, you may want to hire a web designer (how it looks) and/or developer (how it works).  We’ll discuss both of these options further in my next blog.

Now, as you go through this preparation process, keep a few things in mind:

  • Make your website reflective of what you do
    If your work is visual, then your website should be visual.  Remember, though, that if your work is more intense, for example writing or technology, viewers tend to have a short attention span when reading a website; so save your heavy reading and listening for downloadable files.
  • Don’t forget this is about the viewer
    This is probably the most common mistake:  Organizations put information based on how they’re organized, not how the viewers are looking for the information.  Get into your viewer’s head, and organize information around that.
  • Make it easy to find information
    This includes your website menu (3 clicks to find what you want), your content (simpler is better), and your images (quality, not quantity).

  • Vary how you present your content
    People see things differently; so make sure you mix things up with headers, sections, paragraphs, bullets, tables, graphs, etc.
  • Fit your screen
    If viewers initially see only one screen of information, then make sure your most important information is available, and easily recognizable, on that screen.  They will scroll down, or click through, if your information is compelling enough and they want to know more.
  • Be findable
    Don’t forget the earlier AMS blog postings on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  Make sure that people can FIND your website!

Once you are familiar with these basics, you’ll be ready for the next step, which is researching your options and getting the best-suited website that will be most effective for you. So whether you choose to do it yourself or hire someone, check back for my next blog to find out more about selecting the right options.

Until then, Happy New Year.  Oh, if you want to learn more about taking baby steps to make a project more manageable, you should check out the 1991 classic comedy with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss, “What about Bob?”.

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