But wow, the tools we have now to make that HTML look good are simply awesome. I came back to website development about ten years ago with static website building (think Dreamweaver, writing HTML in a text editor) and creating simple CSS to make sites look decent. Then came “Content Management Systems” — essentially web-based tools to handle the look and feel and functionality, leaving the user to focus on managing content. I spent a few years with Plone, an open-source CMS that ultimately felt too big and complicated for most of the small business and nonprofit sites I worked on.
Then WordPress caught my eye and I’ve worked with it now for five years and have watched it evolve into a fast and competent CMS from its basic, “blogging” beginnings.
I love a lot of things about WordPress. I love how easy it is to install. I love how many tools (plugins) exist to do everything you might imagine you want to do with your website (e-commerce? event registration? social media? streaming video? online community? If you have thought of it, chances are someone else has as well and built a WordPress tool to help you do it). I love how many pre-existing designs (templates) there are to get you started on building the look and feel of your site. I love how easy it is to create and manage your content–blog posts, static pages, images, video, attached files, etc.
And I love that nearly all of those tools (or some version of them) can be had for free.
Sure, we may still need to do some HTML to make your content look right on the page, add or change some CSS to modify the look and feel of a free or (very inexpensive) template to meet your needs. And every now and then we may need to edit some PHP to modify a specific element with a plugin or design. But so much of the hard work has already been done for you (and me) that we can build a great looking site for very little money and keep you focused on creating and sharing content.
What I can do for you:
- evaluate your requirements in selecting a CMS (no, WordPress might not, in fact, be the right tool for you–although it certainly may be)
- help you with the selection of a starting-point template
- customize that template to meet your design needs (including logo and image modification, modification of color elements, selection of fonts and font styles, placement of content elements in the design and on specific pages)
- help you organize your content and build a user-friendly navigation system
- integrate your site with appropriate social media tools
- integrate appropriate tools to extend the functionality of your website (online store, online donations, event registration, online community development, etc.)
- make sure your site is optimized for search engines
- set up site visitor tracking so you can measure the reach and impact of your website
- train you on content editing and content creation
- provide on-going content management and site support
Building (or rebuilding) a website can be an exciting and liberating opportunity for your business or organization. Whether you need a site that simply proves you exist or you need a site to help change the world, I can help you through a thoughtful and affordable process to meet your needs.