Digital Hammers and Wrenches

There are many tools available for website building. There are just as many online user generated guides available in the use of these tools. If you are already an elite website building professional this guide is not for you. All the experience you need is basic word processing skills and the ability. Otherwise you can search for more resources on Google or other preferred search engines. Many times just using “HTML”, “JavaScript”, or “How do I” as search tags in Google returns the bits of code I tweak to use on my site. You can always visit your local bookstore if you prefer a manual on hand to refer to. Now, in lieu of the series title, I use is two great website building web apps. Both are what we refer to as WYSIWYG. Described this means what you see on your screen is essentially what you’ll get on the finished product. From real hands-on use you will see that this is not always the case though, but it comes pretty close.

The two sites I found most useful were Moonfruit and Webnode. There are other applications, even as simple as a text editor like Notepad, that you can use.  In using a web app I am able to access and edit my work from any place with internet access. Obviously the limitation would be not having internet access, but welcome to the new century! Now, due to the nature of how these site builders work, they have their strengths and weaknesses. Moonfruit is flash based ( and Webnode is HTML/CSS based ( Flash based sites are very, well, flashy. But if your goal is to have the sites found easily by search engines, you may want to lean towards the HTML/CSS based site. This practice is actually highly suggested by SEO groups.

Keep it Simple

Keep your site simple. This means do not add more clutter than necessary. A common mistake that many new comers to the practice make is cluttering their homepage. Your homepage is also known as the landing page. I recommend you to keep this as simple and clear as possible not only for aesthetic reasons.  This is the first page most search engine bots will crawl first and gather most of the key words found. So make the best use of your homepage. Notice the site created through HTML/CSS has a couple of images and a brief description on its homepage. The verbose information is separate on the “about us” page. Remember, less is more!

Now, there’s always the possibly that you don’t care if search engines index your site, or deny them access altogether. This is fine when you are not as concerned with people being able to find you through searches. Instead, when you include your personal/portfolio website on resumes, business cards, social sites you want to cater to a more specific audience. You can show your art to potential clients through a digital art gallery. You can have a video you produced available for streaming. You can have a directory and listing of sample work done for previous clients. Just remember not to share too much personal information. Last thing you want to do is give out your physical address, phone number, social security number, or any other sensitive information that can easily be provided to people you truly need to share it with!

Here’s a neat little tool to help you have a better idea how crawlers see your website. Visit tld-tools, a web crawler tool, and run your website through the query window. Most important is the title, description, and keywords of your site.

Nothing would please me more if this series raises your enthusiasm to build pages beyond hobby purposes!