I’ve found myself explaining the basics of how I help women develop their own personal brand [Digital DNA] a fair bit lately – the technical side of things.
You see, websites don’t just appear for free online. Well…they can, but the ladies I work with want to be seen as a leader in their field and they know having a clean, professional, and credible online home is the way to go.
Today, I’d like to use opening a coffee shop as the metaphor to explain how building a website with me works.
The first step in building a website is securing a URL (a uniform resource locator) or a domain name. Mine is www.kristasmith.ca. For this metaphor, let’s pretend the coffee shop is your URL.
The first thing you need to do when deciding to open a coffee shop is to decide where it’s going to open. You’ll need to rent or lease space for it to operate in. You’re with me so far, yes? So, your URL also needs a place to operate out of – that’s why you need what is called web hosting (it’s your lease or rent).
After you’ve secured the lease, you need to hire a contractor to build your coffee shop so you can start ringing up sales. Could you do it yourself? Yes. Can you have a big party and get your friends to come help you with their hammers and hard hats? Yes. I think we’ve all been there a time or two and we know how that turns out. Friends aren’t in it for the long haul. They can show up a day or maybe two, but then they need to get back to their world — work & life. Realization hits you that you need to hire a professional. Enter the contractor and designer (because this isn’t any old coffee shop…this is your vision!). So…you hire a web designer (like me!) to help you create your home online.
Now you’ve secured the name of your coffee shop [your URL], the location & lease [web hosting], and your contractor to build the place [web designer].
What’s next? You need to figure out what supplies you need to get this baby built. You’ll most likely work with your contractor to decide this because she (or he) definitely has experience using different materials. You’ll want to choose the building materials for the frame work of your shop with care. It’s going to support your business for years to come. You recognize that decor changes so you’ll want to be able to choose finishes for your shop that you are easily able to move around, to accommodate changes in the layout, traffic patterns, and overall mood. Lumber and wood are the gold standards in the construction industry to frame up your shop. In the online world, the framework I use to build websites is called WordPress. It’s my gold standard. In the most simplest of terms, WordPress is a popular content management system that is as easy to use as email. Honestly. The best thing about it is that even though you may be doing a fair bit of content development & management on your own at the early stages of your business, WordPress has the capability to be a highly customized, full on seriously-generating-clients-website when your business is ready for that (if you don’t believe me…Marie Forleo runs her site on WordPress).
Just like your coffee shop needs a common theme [the type of furniture, equipment, fireplace, windows, mirrors…you get it, yes?], WordPress needs a theme to make it work too. The theme I customize is called Thesis. Beyond the furniture and equipment that’s in your shop to make it functional, you also need the finishing touches – prints, wall hangings, and floral arrangements — those detail touches that make your shop yours. In terms of your website, these are called plugins. Plugins are tools that extend the functionality and even design of your site. They are most often used in your sidebar.
Finally, your coffee shop is complete. You know it needs one final thing to make it work — it needs you. You are the visionary that had the idea to make this coffee shop business work. So your website needs YOU too. In the content you choose to show (the words, images, and mediums) on the different pages. In your voice that you’ll communicate in. In your personal touches.
That’s the scoop, ladies. Website demystified.
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I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!