This is an extract from an article written by Kristen Harrison for epubli.
A new website can be a daunting prospect. Where do you start? How much should it cost? How long will it take? What work is involved for you? The choices are overwhelming. But the good news is it’s easier and more affordable than ever to get up and running with a new website. You just need to know how to go about it.
First things first. It’s absolutely vital that you are able to summarise your situation and articulate what you want. Think of it like buying a pair of shoes. If you don’t know what kind of shoes you want, what your budget is and what size you are, you will end up with a pair of ill-fitting shoes that you’ll never wear. Let’s start with some key questions to help you understand your situation.
5 Things to Think About When Planning Your Website
1. What is your current online status?
Do you already have a website and, if so, when was it built and by whom? Do you have a profile on any social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, MySpace, Pinterest, GoodReads etc.? Are your books available online, either through a publisher, through epubli or any other online retailers?
2. What do you need from a website?
List (in order of priority) everything that you need your website to do. These can be practical things like ‘sell my books’ or ‘publicise my events’ or they can be theoretical things like ‘enhance my profile’ or ‘give me a professional appearance’.
3. How much time and what resources do you have available?
To maintain a strong web presence you need blocks of time to commit to online activities, including editing and updating your website. How much time, realistically, could you spend on your online activities each week? If you can’t afford the time is there anyone who could help you either on a voluntary or paid basis? How much time could they commit?
4. Are you technically capable and willing to learn more?
The web changes constantly. I’s important to be able to adapt and learn in order to keep your online presence active and relevant. How technically capable are you and how much are you able to prioritise learning new technologies?
5. What is your budget?
Websites shouldn’t cost the earth but, equally, not investing enough may leave you with a less than ideal solution. Think about what you’d be comfortable spending and be upfront about it if you approach a web developer. They will be able to advise on how best to invest the money you have.
Now that you have your summary in place, it’s time to decide if you do it yourself or commission a web designer. If your answers above indicated that you have time on your hands, technical ability and a willingness to learn then building your own website could be a great option for you.