YOUR WEBSITE, YOUR PURPOSE
So you think it is time to have a website. Maybe you have been led to take your story to the masses. Maybe you have created a new way of doing things or mastered an old way of doing things and the world simply needs to know so they can find you to do it! Whatever the reason, you have stumbled across this site, this blog and need some basic directions or simple instructions of what to do next to have that website.
The key before you start thinking design or colors or fonts is to decide "who is your audience?"
Ask yourself, "Who am I trying to reach? Who will benefit the most by finding me?"
You have started with your "story," your "service," or your "product." Now it is time to narrow your focus and define your audience.
With that in mind, develop your title. Will you simply use your name? Or will you creatively promote your "thing" by your title? You decide.
This may change 5 or 15 times while you are brainstorming your ideas about your website. While deciding what you like for a title, see if anyone else is using it out on the web. Do a little research.
Once you are happy with your defined audience and your chosen title, then you pay for your domain name. This could be your title plus ".com" or ".net" or many other url extensions that have been made available by the web. If you need help with this step in the endeavor, don't worry. This is where I can be of help or other website designers can lend a hand.
So now you are set to move forward. You have your "thing" identified, your audience defined, and your perfect title.
Start gathering all that material you have acquired already about your "thing" and write an outline that will show how you wish to share what you know about it. Make the outline simple, don't include all the "stuff" or all the details. Write down your ideas and how they should flow so that you will see how you wish to have them placed on your website.
From this outline, you can then share with me or another website developer/designer exactly how your ideas and material will be placed in your layout and your menu structure online. This will be your guide so you can communicate clearly with those creating your site.
There are plenty of helpful tutorials available on web hosting sites and other resources that can walk you through how and where to place your information. Making sense of what you have to offer will only help you when you are looking at guides to do the layout online.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
You want to show the world what you have to offer from "your writing," to "your expertise," to "your newly improved product." But less is more when it comes to content on your homepage.
Keeping your website clean and clear of too much clutter with plenty of white-space will only enhance what you have to offer your select audience. Each separate page you prepare from your outline should have one ultimate purpose and clearly defined priority.
Don't overwhelm your audience. Save some of what you have to share by placing it on the site slowly, perhaps through a "blog" that is focused on your "thing."
Whatever it is and wherever you are in the process of creating your website, take time to define the purpose of the site and define your audience. Develop your title and develop your outline. Make the most of your first impression by having all your homework done before your site goes live for the first time.
But most of all be creative and keep having fun.