Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/LeonardSipes
I create simple websites for people and causes when time permits and I use WordPress. WordPress is a blogging platform “but” you can easily use verbiage you create as a static front page and make a website.
WordPress offers two options, WordPress.Com and WordPress.Org and the following article explains both. If you are new to WordPress, the article (although long for a blog post) will provide some simple guidance.
You can create a WordPress.Com website for free and graduate to a WordPress.Org site where you purchase your own site address and bandwidth (what powers your site).
Finally you can place a “skin” over a professional theme. A skin is a fully functional and professional looking website that gives you the look and feel of a professionally designed site for thousands of dollars less. http://thesisthemes.com/ is one example among many.
Finally, I use Jason at http://designpx.com/ for the integration of the skin into the professional theme. I can do everything myself up to the point of the skin integration but I really like Jason’s easy-going explanations of options and making sure that all work seamlessly. It’s hard to find good assistance for completing and trouble-shooting websites and Jason is one of the best.
Sticking to the Simple:
But sticking to the simple, WordPress.Com is a place that many start their website experience. I took several personal websites through the progression explained above with Http://LeonardSipes.Com and Http://MyLifeAudio.Com as examples.
WordPress for Dummies is the book I recommend (see http://www.amazon.com/WordPress-For-Dummies-Computer-Tech/dp/1118383184) to get you started.
Two Example Websites:
I met Patricia Thrasher through a charity event when she asked me to take some photographs and create a YouTube video. She runs “Cleaning Maid Easy” close to where I have a vacation and retirement home. I discovered that she was marketing her business through Facebook as her primary web presence. I decided that if she was a nice enough of a person to help someone in need that I would reward her with her own websites.
I created http://cumberlandmorgantowncleaning.wordpress.com/ and http://deepcreekalpinelakecleaning.wordpress.com/ and made her the administrator so she could control both. I created addresses optimized (searchable) for two locations and added photos and a YouTube video. The sites are easily optimized (designed) for mobile viewing and sharing through Facebook, Twitter and other sites.
I don’t make any claims that the websites are wonderful, artistic creations “but” they begin her company’s website presence and add to her business potential.
They are simplistic in their design but I feel that there are times where you can overwhelm your audience by too fancy of a website. Sometimes, a genuine and simple web presence is preferred.
An Explanation of WordPress:
Creating a free website using WordPress:
There are services on the Internet that allow you to create a free website or blog (a blog is a place for stories you write). They make money by placing advertising on your site.
WordPress is the largest provider of free websites/blogs in the world. They have a wonderful reputation and offer an incredible array of services. I favor WordPress for simplicity and the fact that no one offers as many free services.
I love WordPress.
I WANT people to tell their stories or advance their causes or business and you can do that on your own free website. If you decide to do it on your own, and if I helped create a new WordPress user who discovers the joys of communicating with the outside world, then I’m a happy man.
The concept of creating a website is foreign to manybut today it’s not nearly as difficult (or as expensive) as it once was. I’m hesitant to tell people it’s easy (because new stuff takes time to learn) but this IS something you can do on your own. If you can type and follow instructions, you can create a website.
I use WordPress for this site as I used WordPress for my government sites and my personal websites. WordPress is “the” most popular structure for websites and blogs.
Blogging (or blogs) is the act of creating materials (or articles) on a regular basis and adding them to your website and interacting with people who comment. Creating a website with a blog is a wonderful way of getting your points across and telling the world what you think. Some refer to this as social media.
WordPress is divided into two sections; WordPress.com and WordPress.org:
WordPress.com (http://wordpress.com/) allows you to create your own website and/or blog for free. The site is maintained for free and the website address (known as a domain name) is also free.
They also provide an array of free and paid themes (site structures) to give your site a unique look.
You never have to worry about going into the site to maintain it or update it. WordPress.com does all that for you at no charge.
Note that WordPress.com can put ads to your website or blog and you have no control over the contents of those ads. It’s how they make money to provide all these wonderful services.
You can pay a fee to WordPress.com to keep ads off the site.
WordPress.com allows voice recordings but they charge $20.00 per year to host them. If you put audio on WordPress.com, you must make yearly payments.
You can do all of this yourself and lots of people without technical backgrounds have done just that.
WordPress.org (a custom website–fees required)
WordPress.org (http://wordpress.org/) is different from WordPress.com. WordPress.org gives you much more freedom to do what you want with your site. The bottom line is appearance and services for those who come to the site. This site uses WordPress.org.
The principal freedom is choosing from a vast array of free or paid themes (themes are the structures of websites–like the frame of a house).
I employ a paid theme for this and other websites that is remarkable in its stability, usefulness and flexibility. I compare a paid theme to driving a luxury automobile with a five-star crash rating instead of driving a lesser vehicle.
Both will get you to your destination but one will be safer and add many additional features.
You also have the option to incorporate a “skin” over your paid theme that turns your site from a blog to a professional looking website. Creating a good looking website can cost $3,000 to $5,000 and up. Incorporating a skin can reduce those charges to a couple hundred dollars for the cost of the skin and professional installation.
Most professionals in the Internet community recommend that you “own” your own address (known as a domain name) and you create a website where you have complete control over all content and how the site looks.
With WordPress.org, you have to purchase the address of your website from WordPress or someone else (you rent website addresses-you don’t own them). When I created my sites, I purchased (actually rented) the address. If you don’t keep the payments up, you have the possibility of losing your address to someone else.
Your site becomes your reputation—it becomes your public relations operation. If your site is the very embodiment of you are, wouldn’t you want complete control over everything that appears on your website or blog?
But WordPress.org comes with challenges as well as opportunities.
You also have to buy the power to keep the site operating (known as bandwidth). The good news is that the cost of bandwidth has dropped remarkably over the last ten years. You can operate your on site for as little as $7.00 a month.
You also have to do some maintenance on your website. Principally this involves updating software (fairly easy). But note that I had a website using a free theme crash and become unusable when I updated the theme. Now I use a paid theme that has the strength to resist crashes. Note that I caused another site to crash when I switched the name. I had to start completely over.
WordPress.org gives anyone who wants to create their own website and blog the power to do so and have complete control over how the site looks and acts. It comes with challenges (listed above) but it can’t be beat for what it does; it allows you to communicate with the world in a professional manner.
It also provides this service at a tiny fraction of the costs to operate a website ten years ago.
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