Do It Yourself Websites for Small Business

Small Business DIY Toolkit: Building a Basic Website

I built the Huddle Productions’ website in three days with a little help from my friends on YouTube, Google & the Internets…

Going into this I knew three things:

  • We needed a website design that allowed us to showcase our video productions
  • We needed the site to be up and running very quickly.  No fuss. No muss.
  • We needed a website where Chris Yates could easily update his Social Media blog posts

I had some knowledge of html back in the day – but since going corporate, I’ve completely relied on the professional development teams to write code for me.  So, I haven’t kept up.  The last time I actually wrote & published a website I used Frontpage.  No kidding.

The most important lessons I learned in this experience?

  • Knowledge is absolute power
  • WordPress can make an amateur look like a pro
  • Anyone, I mean anyone can build & publish a website using WordPress, YouTube tutorials & Google.

Ready to build your own website? Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Brand Spanking new to web development? Get your feet wet first with a FREE WordPress.com Blog.  This will help you become familiar with the basics:

  1. Create a blog post describing your business
  2. Change the “Theme” (From your admin panel click on “Appearance” then “Themes”)
  3. Want the blog to not look like a blog? Buy the custom URL for $15 per year. (Check out Chris Yates‘ blog to see an example of this.)

Is the WordPress.com blog enough to establish your “web presence”?  It could be.  If so, slap the URL on your business cards and you’re off to the races.

Are you ready for a bit more than what your free WP blog can do? Kick it up on a notch by using the  FREE WordPress software to design a fully dynamic site.  This method is not for the faint of heart, but read on for some quick tips.

  1. Learn the difference between WordPress.com & WordPress.org
  2. Read WordPress Getting Started Documentation
  3. Install a local copy of WordPress on your computer using a WAMP server. (The attached Video gives great step-by-step instructions)
  4. Pick a Theme.  There are literally MILLIONS of Free themes.  Install several on your computer & decided which one you like best.  If you absolutely must buy a Theme – my suggestion is Thesis.  You won’t regret it.
  5. If you decide to buy Thesis, read “Things I wish I knew…”
  6. Find a company to host your site.  I like GoDaddy.com because they are a household name & I trust them.
  7. Customize your site.  There is a gluttony of web reference material available via YouTube, WordPress.Org and Google.  Here is one of my favorite resources: McBuzz on “How to Create a Static Home Page on Your Blog”
  8. Use WordPress, YouTube and Google if you get stuck.

Good luck!  Incidentally, I chose to buy the Thesis theme because I’m a rebel and knew up front that any other theme would constrain my creative side.  The learning curve for understanding Thesis & WordPress was pretty steep – but I think it was well worth it.  The underlying code in the Thesis theme is very efficient & SEO friendly. I’m not a developer – but I have been in the dot com industry long enough to recognize elegant code when I see it.

Licensed under a creative commons share-alike. Use freely and link to huddle.atomicdesignweb.com

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