There’s a lot of choices out there if you’re looking to build and manage your own website. There’s Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and of course, WordPress.com. These are great services, and if you want something simple and are in a hurry to get online, these will do the job. As I wrote in a past post, these services are fast and inexpensive, but have very big tradeoffs with flexibility and whatever site you build with them won’t be yours. If you outgrow Squarespace or just want more room for growth, you’ll need to go back and start over with a new platform.
Besides the limitations of these services, they assume some level of general Internet knowledge…knowledge that just isn’t that common among non-webmasters. I’ve had a prospect call for help when they couldn’t get their domain name’s DNS configured. Another didn’t understand why the image he uploaded was pixellated. One service’s “easy” instructions referred to a “FTP application”. Another discussed “editing a zone record”.
These are not things a non-webmaster will know….or know well enough to proceed confidently. So, what do you need to know to build or edit a website without wasting hours of your time or pulling your hair out? Here’s a short list:
Image Editing: That cool photo you took with your new iPhone is WAY too big to upload, let alone place on a website page. Also, that tiny picture copied from a Word document? That won’t work either.
Domain Name Jargon: DNS, nameservers, “A records” especially. Get something wrong with the details and there’s no website and no email.
Website Hosting: Not a concern with hosted services, but everywhere else you need to have some idea of how this works. You’ll need a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) application to get files onto the server. You will also need to know what folder to place the files in, so they will be accessible.
HTML & CSS: Handy to know, even with hosted services. Sooner or later, you will need to look up some coding references.
Website stuff certainly isn’t rocket science, but it is something that takes patience and time to learn. A better idea is to ask a pro for help and save yourself time and frustration!