Preparing for your Website
Preparing for your website is the one sure way to help the build go smoothly. It will help to give you focus and it will align your expectations for the duration of the build.
Preparing for your website is broken up into a few steps.
- Getting a Hosting account. (takes only a few minutes once you settle on a company)
- Installing the WordPress software on that hosting account. (again takes 5-10 minutes)
- Customizing and personalizing your site. (obviously this takes the longest time and is an ongoing process)
- Deciding what to put on your site. (this is the focus of this article – read on)
The more prepared you are before you start, the better the build will progress. It will keep build time and costs down.
But more than that – it will set the stage for your future management of content.
It will create a mechanism and system to help you keep your focus.
Its okay to have a mental picture of what your site will look like as you start to consider building a website.
But at some point you need to put it down on paper.
Without doing that it will be hard to have a to-do list.
With a list, you can celebrate each success as you complete something.
A systematic sequence of things that need to happen to realize your goal will help you move forward cleanly.
- Start by surfing the web.
- Make a note of sites that appeal to you and what the particular elements are that make it so.
- By elements I mean layout, colors , text font and appearance, menus etc.
- Regardless of the content try looking at it as a series of blocks.
- Decide whether you prefer single or multi-column.
- Narrow, medium or wide content area.
- Whether you prefer sidebars with links and widgets.
- Whether the sidebar works best on the left or the right of the page.
- Think a little deeper than just the overall feel and realize it is made up of strategically placed blocks of different shapes and sizes.
- Most Themes have the ability to customize and move elements around to change appearance dramatically. But it is a good idea to start with one that is close to your final required appearance.
- This will help you or your designer preparing for your website
to understand where your head is. You will be able to see working examples of what you are trying to achieve. From there it will be easier to find themes that resemble the picture you had in your mind.
- Think about what sort of content you plan to put on your website. Remember you can have Posts, Pages, Contact forms etc. Surfing other sites will also give you ideas of the possible things you could include. Write them on your list.
Now you should be able to look at Themes available in the WordPress Theme Directory with a more educated eye. Don’t worry that your site is not running yet, you can go to the WordPress Themes Directory at the WordPress .org website to browse through all the available themes.
You will have a better understand of the symmetry you are looking for, without being distracted by flashy bright colors and image sliders set to grab your attention. All of that can come later once you have the right capable theme.
Having set the stage for your site appearance above, you should also be spending some of your spare time creating content. This is all part of the process preparing for your website. Its also good practice honing and crafting your writing skills
- It would be helpful to write some posts and articles ahead of time. You don’t necessarily need to do it on your site, as that may not be up and running yet. Use whatever desktop apps you have for this. Apps include Microsoft Word, OneNote, Google sheets, etcetera. Keep these organised in a folder or whatever fits your personal preference.
- Organisation is the key Preparing for your website and its not hard to do. It’s just like anything new – it’s just hard to start. Make a folder on your desktop. Call it Website. Then create folders and subfolders for each set of tasks. Posts, Pages etc. Maybe a Word document called Ideas. Keep copies of your hosting document with logins etc. Its a basic system but simple to manage.
- I find Microsoft OneNote is very good because of its ability to have tabbed pages within the one Note book. Each tab can be a category with its own pages. In the picture below you can see a sample One Note notebook it has four Tabs across the top. It is open on the Pink “Skills for Life” tab. Within that tab there is a list of all the pages down one margin. It has 12 or more pages. Each one could be a post or even just a title for a post you plan to write. You can drag and drop all sorts of content into a page that is not possible in other word processing applications. If you got it but never used it – now’s the perfect time.
Next step Preparing for your website ?
Think about Social Media.
List the accounts you have on the various platform. Many of these can be linked to your website in various ways.
Some are simple to enact – others have a little more preparation.
Each social media account has an identity/address. Find out what those are from their settings pages and save them.
They should look something like these
Decide what email address you want for your Website. If you want to separate it from your regular email, then set up a new account for this purpose.
This will give you the chance to align its name with the Website domain name. I have a couple of previous posts regarding options for email.
Just doing these these few things ahead of time, will go a long way to easing your journey.
Preparing for your website is so much easier than trying to do it all on the fly.
It will help you to think about managing all your assets for your website.
Keep them together in a folder, add a handy shortcut on your Desktop for easy access.
This is also preparing for your website, getting all your tools organised.
Use whatever software you have and are comfortable using for your creative or organisational tasks.
Most people already have software on their computers capable of doing this.
Follow the K.I.S.S rule. KEEP-IT-SIMPLE -SUNSHINE and you won’t go wrong.
Well that’s all for Preparing for you website, join me here next time for more tips and tutorials.