10 Apr Build Your Own Website, or Why WordPress Works
It’s the modern resume, the height of your CV, the interactive portfolio! It seems now a days that the best way to promote yourself, your business, or just your general life (take a hard look at your social media, people) is by creating your very own website.
Websites aren’t just for big corps anymore and forum compilations. It’s about branding yourself and making yourself visible to the outside world in the most popular global platform in the modern world. If anyone has access to the Internet, they can access your website (i.e. business, resume, life) and get to know you in a new way.
But what if you’re a complete amateur to all of this? You don’t work for a big tech company and you don’t create robots in your spare time. (If you do, can you teach me?) You just want some clear cut strategies and we’re here to give out some essential info.
HTML, CSS, C++….
Firstly, let’s look at the traditional, more complex option of web building: code. This is the job that people go to school for. They learn all this complicated codes, the most known is HTML (HyperText Markup Language). To turn all these various codes into script, one uses software such as Dreamweaver. Then, after creating and purchasing a domain name (that is, your web address), you plug that information into the server and voila! You have a website.
However, to be honest, if you have no experience in any of these fields, it’s probably better to hire a professional web developer and designer. We at TWC know of a few good ones that could help you out. (Shameless plug) Tell us what you want and we’ll create a one-of-a-kind site just for you!
However, never fear, my friends, for there is an easier way! They are called CMS or ‘Content Management Systems.’ These systems have already gone through the messy programming and coding bit for you, so you just have to plug in your content and whatever else you want on your website and voila! You have a website. It doesn’t mean CMS can’t be complicated (there are still a few buttons offered on this site that I have no clue how to use) but it doesn’t have to be. This is good news for you!
However, it’s important to remember there’s the ‘good’ CMS platforms and the ‘deceptively good’ platforms.
Here are some legitimate platforms you may want to use in creating your own website:
WordPress – It’s the most popular CMS platform out there and that’s because it’s so easy to use. The most basic version is free (free is a beautiful word, no?) and there are a ton of theme options so you’re not stuck with a plain Jane design. It also offers you SEO capabilities (search engine optimization) and a huge library of plugins. Also, with it’s community of over 74 million, you’re never at a loss of connections and support.
Drupal – Drupal is the oldest of these three powerhouses (created in 2001) and offers a very powerful and stable service. While it doesn’t offer all the fancy plugins of WordPress, it’s powerful and stable system, often used by those in the gaming and music industry. They are particularly suited for very large projects.
Joomla! – This option is best suited for e-commerce and if you want to create a website without the gingerbread. It’s safe and it gets business done. Additionally, it holds a big developer community to keep your business in the loop. You can get a lot of collaborations done this way.
The Big Three of the CMS world are legitimate, usable, and successful systems.
However, there are some recent upstarts that provide ‘free’ services yet are not the best for connecting, creating, and promoting your business and yourself. These are the Website Builders. Are they free and easy to use? Sure are. Will they get your business anywhere? Definitely not. I will not be linking to them so you can save yourselves the energy.
What’s so bad about them? Their design options are simplistic, unprofessional, and unopportunistic. If you are 13 years old and want to create a website for practice about you and your friends to showcase to your family, go for it. This is not for serious business. However, they do offer the option to give you actual, professional looks…for a cost.
Why else are these websites not best for your business? Biju Creative breaks down three important factors, using Wix as an example.
The first is the design limitations, discussed earlier, and the site offers few options for your own personal touch. Secondly, there are technology issues. These sites are archaic. In our current society, where it’s important to keep abreast of the latest technology and design elements, one can not resort to simply using their site in Flash. That immediately puts limitations on your website goals. And thirdly, customer support is apparently atrocious, according to users of the site. If you’re having difficulties, prepare not to have them solved for at least a business week.
Beware of These Website Builders: Wix, Web.com, Weeby, Squarespace
And why these systems may be easier to use than creating your own website from HTML scratch, it doesn’t mean that big companies don’t go ahead and use them. CNN and NBC use WordPress, NASA and MTV use Drupal, and eBay uses Joomla!.
Now what does The Wilson Concept use? Well, I can’t go spilling all our secrets but I will say our job is to create, design, and provide technical branding services. So our people can get pretty fancy smancy with their HTML and coding. However, for this blog? We like WordPress (surprise, surprise, right?). Now you can choose whatever system works best for you. Maybe WordPress seems a bit overwhelming. The important part is to go out and create that platform for yourself.
You know you want to do it: why not start now?
Content Manager (though not a CMS)
:: Link & Connect::
The World Wide Web Foundation provides a solid, yet brief, history of the web
A Brief History of Websites by Fusion Alliance
Marketing Confessions break down some website options
A cool infographic explaining CMS
Biju Creative on why web builders suck