Build a Website
If you have ever wanted your own website, for personal or business reasons, then grab a seat at this local workshop. Wednesday, September 18th, at the Hastings Civic Center, I will be walking you through the construction of a simple website based on the WordPress platform. WordPress is a platform that is simple, and allows easy to manage websites. WordPress is now used in the building of 20% of all websites on the internet. It’s share of websites has grown by 25% in the last year.
There are good reasons for this. WordPress is free to use. There are literally hundreds of developers, worldwide, building new themes and plugins for WordPress every month. Themes alter the way WordPress looks and exactly how functional it is for various purposes. And Plugins allow you to add additional functionality to your WP site. For instance, instead of having to develop the HTML code for a “contact me” form, simply go looking for a free or a paid plugin online, add it to your WordPress install, click a couple of buttons and “boom,” you have a Contact Me form installed on your site. Do you want to add a picture gallery? Go looking for a plugin. Or maybe simply go looking for a theme that is a portfolio style, right from the start.
If you are commenting on community activities, or writing for an organization or club, then maybe a “news” type theme is what you need. No problem. Go to Google and type “free WP news theme” into the search bar and look at what comes up.
Try it out for a while and see what you think. If it turns out you don’t like it, try out another one. There are plenty of different looking themes to chose from and all of them allow you to customize your look quite a bit: change headers, select how many columns, decide what to show on the first page and how to handle menus.
Maybe personal blogging is what you want to do. Again, no problem. Use your friendly search engine to look for “personal blogging” themes. Once again, do a little window shopping and select something that resonates.
You have lots of options with WordPress.
Adding content to WordPress sites is now easier than ever. The Dashboard allows you to select either a post or a page (Pages are generally available through menu tabs, and posts scroll one after another on your “blog” page). Once you have made your selection, it is pretty much like using a word processors such as Microsoft Word. Inserting images or even videos is pretty straight forward.
The workshop will last about 2 1/2 hours. First I will go over the mechanics and functionality of WordPress, then we will actually build some websites. For this to happen, you need to register in advance, have already bought a domain name, and have made arrangements for web hosting. Domain names cost about $10 a year, though you can usually get a deal for a multi-year registration.
Web hosting is available through HostGator, for $5.00/month (first month for $3.96) or you can arrange it through me for $10.00/month, and I will arrange to provide some higher level of security for your site, as well as ensure your site get’s backed up regularly. It’s up to you.
Now, let’s not kid ourselves. If you want a higher level e-commerce site, or to sell products from your website, that is not what we will be covering in this workshop. I will be showing you how to install WordPress, how to find and install themes, how to set up an “About Me” page, how to set up a contact form, how to add text, images and videos to your pages, how to use posts, and how to provide some simple security on your website to fend off simple attacks by hackers. I will also be available to answer questions if you are confused about something. Sometimes having a video doing the explaining is not enough.
If you want a larger or more complicated website, with plenty of video, or commerce activity, or with a strong artistic aesthetic ( I have almost no design sense) I recommend John Charlton. John is my Go-To guy for anything much beyond a simple brochure website, or personal blog. His costs are extremely reasonable, and John has been doing this for years. He is the webmaster for numerous organizations and businesses in both Trent Hills and beyond. He does beautiful work and he can work with you to achieve the look and feel for your website that you want.
Attendees will be leaving the site with a CD that has instructional WordPress videos on it, as well as a printable manual that will cover the workshop material. This way, even after the workshop is over, it will be easy for you to review instructions on everything you have learned.
People wanting to build their own site will have to pay $40.00. That is pretty fair, considering you will be building the first version of your site that evening. Existing non-profit organizations will only be charged $20.00 per person they send to the workshop, or $50.00 for three attendees. However each non-profit may only have one person working on a website at a time. There are band-width constraints at the Civic Center and we will all be sharing the same internet connection. So that means only people actively working on a website can have an open internet connection. We can do some testing that night and, depending on numbers, the rules may change, but for now, assume that you cannot check your Facebook page or email during the workshop.
So that is it. Do you want your own website, for personal or business use? Can you afford $70.00 a year? If the answer is yes, give me a call, at 705-696-3955 to register. Remember, if you want to build a website that night, you must have a domain name, and hosting arranged. I can help you out with that, but you must register by Monday, Septerber 15, before 4:00 pm.
I hope to see you there.
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