Steps to make a website- the Sequel
It is time for another sequel. On Oct. 20, 2008, I had a post that has been seen by hundreds of people. It was “How to have a free poetry blog in three easy steps or claiming your homestead on the wild frontier of the Internet.” Things have changed in 7 years, beside the Poetically Speaking logo. I was surprised by the overwhelming response to this original article, and especially it was adapted for other purposes. It became a guide for those starting web sites.
So it’s here I will begin, with the World of Words by Elias Tobias at 15 years of consecutive, continuous (except for technical problems) service on the Internet, now rated as one of the top 400,000 websites in the world. I have 45 videos on YouTube with my own channel, and have published two books based on previously released material from WOW.
Civilization of the Frontier Internet
Your Internet website may have survived the homestead requirements through the dry summers and the cold winters. Like the Little House on the Prairie show, western life has become civilized. Cabins have converted to larger homes, along with more kids, probably. Towns have grown with all manner of businesses, schools, and train stations. They maybe rough around the edges, but the modern websites are part of a network of towns and cities with telephones and electric light, and even motorcars. Like I said, a lot has changed in 7 years. Cowboys are a dying breed along with the Pony Express.
While actual website creation has become simpler and more practical through changes in programs and all-in-one website companies, the challenge is to keep with the sophisticated social networking required to support and maintain such a site, for whatever purpose, personal, charitable or for business. Information needs to be audio and visual, and has to come in the form of photography, how-videos, and audio podcasts.
It’s important to continue to refresh the of information on the website, as mentioned in the original article, but today different tools are needed to keep the audience coming back using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other social media tools. There is a thing called bounce rate, and the higher the rate, the less time people are staying on your site. The goal is to make them want to stay once you finally have them there. More and more business is getting to the markets through social media.
A number of web builders are available, and one source has listed the top ten at http://www.top10bestwebsitebuilders.com. Another site has 37 website builders at https://iwantmyname.com/services/website-builder/ I have worked with Homestead, number 10 on the list. Blue Voda at http://www.bluevoda.com/ claims you can make a website in 30 minutes or less, and it’s free. I have worked with them, but I may have spent more than half and hour getting started. More bells and whistles cost more, and many of these sites offer hosting services, mobile sites, e-mail accounts, domain registration, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools, payment systems for ordering products, networking assistance, expanded memory, and most of all prepared templates with artwork included. These templates can be customized to suit the purpose of the website. You can do your own research, but the mystery of making website has been solved. It may not be always free, though. Choosing your website builder depends on what it offers compared to what you want to do … kind of like choosing the right kind of saloon to go to on Saturday night. The upscale places with the best whiskey charge a bit more.
Impact of Social Media and networking
I cannot claim to be an expert in the ins and outs of social media. People are hired by big business to do just that and books have been written about this topic. One such author is Erik Deckers : co-authored “The Owned Media Doctrine” (summer 2013); co-authored “No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing” (Pearson, 2011); co-authored “Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself” (Pearson, 2010; 2nd ed., 2012.)
There is one thing I do know. A website by itself will not survive the first dry spell on the prairie. Early settlers grew to really know their neighbors and soon a community of support was created. The nearest neighbor may have been two or three miles away then. Today, you neighbor may be thousands of miles away, but thanks to technology, it might as well be a mile down the road.
Another thing I know is that the media is not just words. It’s photographs, the bigger, the better. Videos can be made with common PC Movie programs and videos shot from smartphones or small digital cameras. Still pages can be created from photos and words from desktop publishing programs like Print Shop, and put in sequence to non-copyrighted music downloaded from YouTube.
One thing I have experienced with the World of Words by Elias Tobias and another site I have, Borntobeintexas.tripod.com, both main informational sites have companion product or company Facebook pages. New WOW posts are put on the Facebook page, and changes in the BTBIT site are mentioned. LinkedIn is good to use, too. I have a WOW LinkedIn page and links to sites and book videos on the Michael Hall LinkedIn page. Some have asked me to get into Twitter, but have yet to set up an account.
Somehow the BTBIT Facebook page required a regular personal page, too. All this is enough for me to handle, but those who go beyond Twitter may consider using Pinterest as an additional avenue with social media. Part of a websites rating on some Internet sources is the active use of social media as part of the media networking. A fresh presentation on alternate pages can bring people to your website. As mentioned in the original article, free press releases can be a valuable tool to get the word out, and if possible have your press releases in the “news” section of the website.
My efforts to gain book sales has led me to Amazon.com, which offers special pages for authors to create biographies and other information to help sell the books, and this is free as long as the book has an ISBN code. If you have print materials for download, the use of QR codes will help. those with QR code readers on their smartphones can instant get information imbedded in the code, like URLs or product information. Go to https://www.unitaglive.com/qrcode to get started with this.
For those people with a few thousands of dollars to spare, places like EMSI Public Relations, are pay for performance public relations firms, they have national print campaigns, interviews on talk radio, arrange local and national TV appearances, and social marketing.
Far from the ranch, people who want to make an impact on their websites to potential viewer need to get the suit on and checkout who’s who at the Country Club just long enough to know who know better, and then invite them for a Sunday dinner at the house.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch
So you think you are ready to get into the sophisticated world of websites, but it is important to know that the basics are intact, with the 1-3-5 layer of thought. 1 is the main purpose of the website. Write it out. Make is simple. Why go through all the hassle to mess around with a site to begin with, unless you are exactly sure, or the design, the content material and the publicity will not flow. Oh, there’s the three, the design, the content material and the publicity. Have a good idea what you want to do and then go to these all-in-one places to get the site operational.
5…5. These are the ongoing things that will sustain your website once it’s launched. How will you keep new material or information or sale items up front or of there is nothing new read in less than a second, your audience is gone to the next site. These items will change with the years, the season, or the day, and relate ultimately back to your main purpose.
The frontier cabin Internet site is more than a homestead. You have braved the elements and established yourself, but towns and cities have grown along with the size of your cabin. Families tend to grow. This means going to town to shop and order items from foreign territories. Items come by train now. Civilization has followed you and you need to use it to promote your site through social marketing. What is the future? Ford and a few others have something going with these automobiles. Miles and miles of paved roads from coast to coast? It would be nice to get these telephones small enough to carry around in your pocket, too. Just roll with it and see where you go.
For more information about how to get published, click here.
Did you know that Elias Tobias has published two books, and one is an anthology of 145 poems, and the other a short story murder mystery. For complete information about these books and how to purchase them, click here..
QR code for the Elias Tobias Amazon Author Page