One of the questions we often hear from our Advanced Mentoring clients is, "How can I build a website? I don't know the first thing about site design!"You don't have to build your own site if you don't want to.
You can always outsource the job to someone else.However, it's a good idea to learn as much about web design as you can. Even if you get someone else to build your site, you should learn enough basic HTML so you can make any necessary changes to your site yourself.It'll save you a lot of time -- and money! -- if you don't have to hire a contractor every single time you want to update your site.The good news is, you don't need to study for weeks on end to learn how to use today's most popular design tools. Lots of them have been built with complete novices in mind and come with great tutorials that walk you through the whole process.And the best thing is, lots of them are really cheap to use -- or even free!Here's a list of the top 20 resources we recommend to our top-paying clients. If you want to learn how to build your own site from scratch -- or want more control over a site that's currently up and running -- be sure to check out them out!
1. Domain toolsYour domain name is your business's "address" on the Internet, so it's crucial you choose the right one. Try to find a domain that gives browsers a hint of what they'll find at your site.Tools to help you get a domain include...
Wordtracker (www.wordtracker.com) -- to locate possible domain names with popular keywords
Nameboy's "Gen" (www.NameBoy.com/gen.php) -- to get more ideas for domain names
Domain tools (www.DomainTools.com) -- to see if a domain name is available
For registering domains: www.GoDaddy.com
2. Website hostingYour web host is responsible for ensuring your web site is always up and running at top speed. If you site is always down... or if it takes ages to load... you're going to lose money. So it's essential you choose a host you can trust!Here's our favorite hosting solution: www.1and1.com
3. Basic HTML tutorialsThere's plenty of software you can use to build a site without knowing any code at all. But it's actually helpful if you at least understand the basics of HTML. For some good free HTML tutorials, check out these sites:
4. Design tips & resourcesFor some great tools and information on simple, effective design, check out these sites:
5. HTML editors"HTML editors" are software programs that allow you to design a webpage with little knowledge of HTML -- and they're as easy to use as any basic word processor.
Nvu (www.nvu.com): Anyone can use this free tool to create and manage a website -- even if they have no technical expertise or knowledge of HTML. (In fact, I'm using Nvu to write this article right now!)
Dreamweaver (www.dreamweaver.com): This is a tool that's very popular at IMC. It's good if you're willing to spend some money to get additional features not available on the free HTML editors out there.
6. "All-in-one" website buildersIf you're a bit intimidated by technology, you may want to consider an all-in-one website builder, where a company provides you with all the tools you need to quickly piece together a site.Go here to find our favorite: www.MarketingTips.com/allinone
7. Resources for designing your web siteFor good articles and resources on developing effective navigation and a simple, user-friendly site architecture, check out these sites:
Web Page Analyzer: www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze
8. Adding "extras" to your siteYou may want your site to go beyond basic HTML, especially when it comes to automating chores and making it more interactive for visitors. You can find "extras" -- like forums, content management systems, and shopping carts -- at these websites:
9. Hiring a designerIf you can afford it, it's a good idea to hire a web designer to build the initial "template" for your website. Typically, this should include a logo, navigation menu, and the overall "look" for your homepage. Then, you can make tweaks as necessary later on.For a good, affordable designer, try: www.eLance.comSo, those are the tools we most often recommend to people. What are YOUR favorite design tools? Are there any that aren't on this list? Go to Derek's blog and tell us about them! We're always on the lookout for great new resources to share with people.