User Experience Archives - District Creations

By working together we can make a big splash with your clients.

How to approach building a new website

How to approach building a new website

What do I need to build a website?

You have a new business, interest, gig or side hustle and you want a web site to inform your audience what you are able to do.

What do you need to set it up?

Primarily content: text, video, and images.

Think of your elevator pitch. What do you tell people in the first two minutes when you meet them?

That is your home page.

Ok. You say. If I have that how do I make it http://mywebsite.com?

Let’s start at the beginning and discuss hosting options and domain names.

Decide what platform you are going to use.

Are you going to use a platform that hosts the site for you or do you want to host it yourself?
Drilling down to details: Are you going to go for a free site to get started like WordPress.com, Wix, Squarespace, Blogger or Weebly? Are you going to host your site yourself and have full control?

What is hosting?

Think of a website like a home in a neighborhood. In order to build a home, you need a plot of land. In the website neighborhood, you cannot purchase your plot. You can rent it from year to year. That is the hosting. In order to have a home, you need services like water and electricity. The hosting company provides the services that you need to build and make your website visible as part of your plan.

A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet. The software is stored on special computers called servers.

Hosting flavors

  1. Hosted
  2. Self-hosted
  3. Hybrid – hosted with extra functionality.

 

  1. Hosted
    Hosted platforms provide a package deal where they take care of the heavy lifting and more complicated technical details such as software updates, hosting payments or web server management so that you can focus on building your site and content. Examples are WordPress.com, WIX, Weebly, SquareSpace, and Blogger. Many offer free trials to test the software.

The advantage is that if you have your content ready you can quickly build a website. I built a travel blog on WordPress.com in 20 minutes that would normally take about 10 hours on a self-hosted platform. Usually these platforms are free.The drawback is that functionality is limited. I call these micro-sites. They are similar to a Facebook page. That means that your website is a page on their larger site and includes their domain name. For example https://mywebsite.wordpress.com, or https://mywebsite.wix.com, etc. If you want to move your site to a different service or the company goes out of business, you will lose everything since you do not have access to the files or code.

The rules regarding content are very strict. If someone reports your blog, your site may be suspended without any notification and you can lose your content.

  1. Self-hostedBuilding a self-hosted site gives your greater flexibility. You can choose the content management system (CMS) you like for your website. Hosting usually includes domain registration services and you can auto-install your CMS, like WordPress, Shopify etc. Many include tutorials on how to navigate the CMS in the Help section.
    The advantage is that the website is in the files and database on the hosting platform. You have access to that so you or your developer can easily pack that up and move it elsewhere if you are unhappy.  There are no restrictions to the functionality of your website.Extra functionality on WordPress sites is provided by software plug-ins. For example, do you need a contact form? There are plug-ins for that. Do you need an online store, or merely want to provide a way for clients to pay you online? Plugins provide that functionality. Many of them are free.
  1. HybridThis is actually a version of a hosted platform. You pay a fee and gain extra functionality such as a domain name that does not include their domain name ( https://mywebsite.com), options to accept payments via the site, run ads and upload videos. The functionality changes from platform to platform.

Comparison of Hosted vs Self Hosted Websites

 

FeaturesHostedSelf-hosted
Service providersWordPress.com is a hosted service where you can set up a website or blog that runs on WordPress.WordPress.org is free software that you can download and use on your hosted account.
CostFree up to 3GB space
Pay for extra functionality
Free
Hosting costs about $4-$10/month
AccessRequires you to sign upRequires a web hosting account
Enables you to have a website within minutesMost hosts offer one click installation of the software.
FunctionalityNo pluginsUpload your plugins
No code accessAccess all code
Limited theme options (look and feel)Upload your theme or build one yourself.
Your host may run ads on your siteMake money by running ads on and selling goods from your site.
You can track activity using Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel
URLSubdomain of wordpress.com
https://mywebsite.wordpress.com
Use your custom domain name
https://mywebsite.com

 

Can I switch from Hosted to self-hosted?

It depends on the platform.

WordPress.com, Tumblr, Movable Type and Blogger users can move their content, i.e. posts, pages, comments and associated images to a self-hosted account. However, the structure of the site will not be transferred.

As far as I know on other platforms there is no automated way to transfer content.

Which one should I choose?
Choose the one that is right for your situation and budget.

Think of Lemon cake.

When I want lemon cake I go to Starbucks and buy a slice.

The problem is that I like my lemon cake to have pecan pieces inside and I don’t know of a company that provides that.

That is why I often just bake my own.

The hybrid option is to purchase lemon cake mix from the grocery store and add pecan pieces to that and bake it.

Which one do you prefer?

If you need a website that is scalable, definitely choose self-hosted.

You can have someone help you to set up your site.

What is a domain name?

The domain name is the name that your website will use in order for your audience to find you. For example https://blockbusters.com. It is actually a translation of the IP address used by computers to find the location of your website and translate the numbers into something that is user friendly for humans.

Where can you get a domain name?

Most hosting providers will provide domain registration for free for the first year. If you are anxious to get yours immediately, try GoDaddy.com or namecheap.com. If you are not in a hurry wait for deals on major US holidays. If you purchase domain registration for 3 years it may indicate to search engines that you are invested in your business and are not a pop-up site.

Domain registration needs to be renewed every year. If you forget, you will lose your domain.

If you do not purchase domain registration from your hosting company you will need to point the site to the hosting account.

If you are on a hosted platform, you do not need to purchase domain name registration since it will be provided by the company
mywebsite.weebly.com

Think carefully about the relevance of the domain name and how it relates to your business or interest. If you are selling shoes then it is less likely for clients to find you if you call your site themagnoliatree.com unless they are familiar with your brand.

I believe in keeping it short, sweet and easy to pronounce so that users can remember it.

Numbers confuse people. If you include numbers the visitors will not know whether to spell out the number or type the numeral. They will never find you.

Steps for self-hosted WordPress sites:

  • Install WordPress
  • Choose a Theme
  • Install Content and Pages
  • Download plug-ins
  • Publish

The last step is one that is often forgotten and can endanger your site.

  • Maintain

A good site provides new content regularly via the blog and always keeps software up to date.

The rigors of life often cause us to forget our website. Ignoring the software updates can make the site vulnerable to hackers.

New content can be loaded onto the site a few weeks in advance and released on pre-determined days.  Search Engines boost sites that have new content and demote the “Halloween sites”.

If you are unable to commit to updating and maintaining your site, you may like to have someone take care of that for you.

Having a website is like printing a business card. The card cannot help you if it’s sitting in your drawer. The site needs to be promoted. When people visit the site, they will notice that your last post was from 2 years ago. If you have posts that are still relevant from some time ago, consider editing, adding something new and giving them a new date to freshen up the site.

Leaving some older content is helpful since potential clients will realize that you have been in business for some time.

 

 

 

 


I help people who are interested in building self-hosted sites using WordPress. I help them choose a hosting provider, register their domain names, install WordPress and build their website according to their specifications. Once the site is complete if they are interested, I show them how to make small edits and load blog posts onto the site. This can be performed from a mobile device whilst waiting in line at the MVA…

In the coming weeks, I will be expanding on some typical questions that clients have asked in our coaching sessions.

 

 

 

3 TIPS TO BOOST YOUR VISIBILITY DURING YOUR PRESENTATION

3 TIPS TO BOOST YOUR VISIBILITY DURING YOUR PRESENTATION

Leveraging Social Media

The talk is riveting. The presenter is entertaining. I have learned so many interesting facts.  I cringe inwardly when I realize how the speaker has missed a golden opportunity…

It is an undisputed fact that presenting to an audience is one of the best ways to gain visibility for your business.  When I stand up to speak, then I notice some people are “working”, playing Candy Crush or texting their latest flame. The best advice I can offer to attempt to gain the audience’s attention is to  read Jeff Haden’s post.

Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.

– Napoleon Hill

I am the speaker’s worst nightmare. I constantly fiddle with my phone as I transition between taking notes and photographs, unless the presenter has taken advantage of the strategies mentioned below…

Now the audience’s attention is focused upon you.

How can you leverage this opportunity to share your content and connect on social media?

(more…)

WordCamp US 2016, Philadelphia , Dec 2-4 2016 – A Personal Recap

WordCamp US 2016, Philadelphia , Dec 2-4 2016 – A Personal Recap

My third ever WordCamp – WordPress conference – took me to downtown Philadelphia in December 2016. As ‘1099’ freelancer I feel fortunate to live close enough to Philly to be able to drive up for this event.

I arrived on Friday morning following a 3 hour Philadelphia Convention Centerdrive only to discover that the parking at the Philadelphia Convention Center was something like $10 per hour and that several of the parking lots recommended in the link to Philadelphia city parking didn’t exist. I began my morning with a scenic tour of downtown Philly until a lot was located scarcely a block away for $17 all day. Woot!

(more…)

The Blog Blues Block

The Blog Blues Block

I lie on my bed with my eyes closed. I hear a small “meow” next to my bed. Without looking at the clock I know that it is 5am and breakfast time for my four legged friend. He will not cease to remind me until it is served.

When I hear clients discuss lack of visibility, I realize that I have much to learn from my cat. When I inform them of the benefits of writing a blog I feel like a seashell in the ocean when the tide goes out. They smile and nod, and nothing happens…

According to Hubspot 92% of companies who blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog.
(more…)

How to reduce mobile search stress: AMP

How to reduce mobile search stress: AMP

Internet revolutionized the modern world by providing quick access to endless information. Mobile devices have changed the means by which we retrieve that data. The sheer force of the number of people in the USA and in the world accessing the internet from a mobile device has been a game changer in the industry. According to the Pew Research Center in 2015, nearly 2/3 of all Americans owned a smartphone. For many of these people it is the key entry point to the online world. 15% have limited alternatives to connecting to the internet besides their smartphone. The decreasing cost of mobile devices in the Pacific Rim has made the internet even more accessible than before. According to Smart Insights, the number of mobile users has already exceeded the number of desktop users. (more…)

What is Responsive Web Design (RWD) ?

What is Responsive Web Design (RWD) ?

Responsive design is a major component in web development that must cater for device diversity and an increasing number of mobile users.

According to Phillip Kissonergis’s resport in SMS global, the penetration of smartphones in the year 2015 in the world is  64% in the UK,  followed by the US with 57%, Germany at 54%, 44% in Japan, 41% in China and  40% in Russia out of a total of 2 billion users worldwide. One of the fastest growing markets is the Asia-Pacific ring due to the drop in price of the devices. By 2017 ¼ of the World’s population will own a smartphone. (more…)

Pin It on Pinterest