Take a deep breath — we’re going to talk to you about building your own website.
Today it’s about as complicated as filling out a Facebook profile, and probably more creatively satisfying. Free, online open source “content management systems” (CMS) like WordPress and Blogger make it easy, and accessible.
“That basically allows people to have a web presence without having to deal with a hosting plan or domain name,” said Tim Todd, webmaster for the University of Michigan-Flint. He said he has seen people ages 8 to 80 build sites with Blogger or WordPress.
Todd says these sites can be used to share life events, like an upcoming child or a hobby. Many are used for ad-hoc journalism groups, or photography. They can be as simple as a blog, or a basic, multi-page website. “This is basically where the web is headed,” he said. It’s actually rare for a website to be built completely from scratch. “The web is dynamic now.”
Believe it or not, some of the biggest companies online use WordPress as the basis for its blog. Yahoo!, Ebay, Ford Motor Company, The Wallstreet Journal, Sony and many others, use WordPress as a basis for their blog pages.
The best part about these sites is that the most difficult part — the website design — is already done for you with multiple “themes,” or templates available. “They can pick a theme that they like an apply it,” said Todd.
Terms like HTML also don’t matter with these CMS’s. For your information, HTML means Hypertext Markup Language. It encodes text, graphics and photos so your web browser can read them, and you can interact with them. Complicated acronyms like this are handled already by Blogger and WordPress.
Another benefit of a CMS like WordPress or Blogger, is that the hosting is free. When a website is built, you need somewhere to store it — this is the job of hosting companies like godaddy.com. WordPress and Blogger also handle hosting.
Because of the simplicity of these systems — a website can be up in less than a day. “Pick out a theme and get going right away,” said Todd. He suggests having a simple layout, and keeping it updated. “People aren’t going to go to it twice, if the information hasn’t been updated, it gives them no reason to come back,” said Todd.
Tutorials are available for both systems online, but we’re outlining how to use WordPress (in sidebar).
Building a website
1. Go to wordpress.com.
2. Choose a website name, like myownblog.wordpress.com.
3. Supply an e-mail address and password for your web page.
4. Activate the blog with the link that was sent to your e-mail.
5. Choose a theme.
6. Click “new post,” and then upload new photos, text or links. The website can be a simple blog or a fully functioning website, depending on how deeply you want to get into it.
The top 10 most popular WordPress site topics
1. News 2. Music 3. Photography 4. Life 5. Reviews
6. Politics 7. Travel 8. Art 9. Food 10. Fashion