If you are an absolute beginner who has never created your own website or blog, weblog, before and digital technology is a mystery, this blog post is for you.
I use the words “website” and “blog” interchangeably in this post, not because they are the same platform which they aren’t, but because these tips apply to both. I also refer to the blog as a “weblog”, a term I use interchangeably throughout this post.
Before you start building, let’s get started with these tips to help you plan and prepare.
Determine your purpose for setting up a website or weblog
Knowing why you’re doing this will help you clearly identify your target audience, the features you’ll need, and what you hope your online presence will achieve. Talk to trusted advisers and friends, brainstorm and/or mind-map with a group of friends or colleagues if you are unclear on the purpose of your website or blog.
- Why do you want to set up a website or weblog? Write down words and sentences that come to mind, without editing. Afterwards, go through your answers and narrow it down to a few sentences or one key sentence.
Identify your Audience
Do you know who you want to reach? Knowing who you want to reach, who will read your blog for example, will help you decide the privacy settings you may wish to apply.
Describe your audience, how old are they, what do they do, what do they do for leisure.
If your target audience is a specific group of people, then you might want to consider having a private web or blog visible only to a select group, rather than an open website or weblog.
Choose content to post on your website
Photos. Images. Graphics. Flow Charts. PDF documents. Videos. Create a folder or box this will go in. The list can go on and on. You have a lot of material to use but that doesn’t mean that everything should go on the website. Review all the documents, material, photos and videos. Set up a folder organised with the content you wish to upload to the website.
- Has your offline content been updated to reflect any changes or updates in your organisation?
- Do you need to update any photos or graphics or logos before uploading?
- Have people’s surnames and roles changed?
- Are staff roles correctly stated?
- If you are working with long documents, do you have a writer who can go through the long documents and help sharp content for the web?
- Do you have a scanner?
Use Headings and Subheadings to Reflect Your Tone
Organise your thinking here. Take out the note pad and start to jot down broad categories or themes of the content. If you are setting up a website for lawyers or medical professionals, the headings will be more formal, straight to the point, and usually pre-determined according to work areas and clinical portfolios.
Standard websites headings:
- Home Page (First page on the website)
- About (Information on the organisation and who you are). This may also include sub-pages
- Services (What work or services you offer the public or other audience)
- Contact (this list phone numbers and contact staff or a web email form).
Brainstorm a name for your website or blog
Get inspired. This is worth the time it takes to come up with a name that fits for you. I love this part of setting up an online blog. It’s fun. Think about it as your headline. Be as creative as you wish, depending on the purpose of your blog.
I use my name for this blog simply because I had already purchased my domain name some years ago. I played with the headline on this blog, Vienna’s Blogdesk. I choose the word Blogdesk because I didn’t want to focus on any one subject or issue. I don’t know if there is a word called blogdesk. I merged two words as one.I wanted the freedom to write about whatever I wish to write about. Hence, blogdesk covers it all.
Whatever inspires you to be creative and come up with new ideas for a name, the better in your search for the right name for your website or blog. Some people have done this over a chocolate party, apparently. Again, I’d recommend brainstorming a lot of names and not editing any out because often random words can piggy back on each other. And viola, before you know it, you have a name. If you’d like further direction on this, post a comment or email.
Decide to purchase a domain name or use a free web address.
There is no shortage of free web addresses you can use for your website. But there is usually a catch and you are limited to using the address they offer you. You wouldn’t be able to use viennarichards.org as a free web address. I paid for the domain name. I’d recommend that you buy your own domain name. Why? You have more control over the address, if it is available for purchase.
Coming up in my next blog post on this topic, I will share more tips about buying a domain name and having your website or blog hosted.