Step-by-step plan setting up your own website

Owning a website makes you visible to your audience and target group everywhere at any time. You not only use the website to tell who you are and what you do, but also to publish (parts of) your work. This way the visitor immediately has an impression of your qualities and expertise.

1. Choosing a domain name

Think of an original name for your site and check if your preferred name is still available. You can check online with so called web hosts, or if you want a .nl domain via SIDN. If the name is still available, secure it with such a host. Hosting a website shouldn’t cost more than thirty Euros a year.

2. Aim of the website

Determine for yourself what you want to achieve with your website. Do you just want to be visible or attract potential employers? Do you want to upload new publications on your site weekly or even on a daily basis? Would you like to sell your work via your website? Would you like to have visitors to your site being able to respond to what they see? Whichever solution you choose, make sure you have a contact page on your site.

Starting a web store is technically more complicated and you also have to take into account various laws and regulations for online sales. Read more about this on the website of the Chamber of Commerce.

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3. Create the menu

Think about what content you need on your website to achieve your goal. Translate this into web pages. Now that you have a list of the web pages you want to create, structure it. You do this by placing web pages that belong together in terms of content under one heading (or a collection page). Ultimately, this is where the menu structure you need emerges.

4. Writing texts

Write the texts for your website or have a professional write it for you. Writing a web text requires a specific method of writing. Keep it short and simple and make your texts personal. If needed, work with listings to avoid having large pieces of text on the screen. This puts the reader off. Always have the texts proofread and make sure they are free of errors.

5. Collect visual images or create them

Collect visual images for your site and make them suitable for uploading on the internet. The standard resolution of photos on the internet is 72 dpi. Unnecessary dense images slow down your website.

6. Making a website or having it made

Depending on the complexity and what you want to achieve with your site you can design your own website with programs such as FrontPage and Dreamweaver. You can also use open Content Management Systems, such as Wordpress. If you don’t feel up to it, have a specialist put your website together. Make sure your web builder explains to you how to keep your website up to date.

If you want to build a website yourself, then take the different versions of browsers and plug-ins into account. The most commonly used ones are Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox. A site that looks perfect on one browser, may have ugly colours and be distorted, or even unreadable, on another. Take into account the visitors that use smartphones or tablets to browse.

7. Drawing attention to your site

When your site is finished, you have to make sure it draws attention through public and search engines. You can do this by emailing your web address to your network. Also register your site with search engines such as Google and Yahoo, relevant e-zines or starting pages. The more hits on your site, the higher you get in the ranks of search results.

8. Keeping your website up to date

Regularly publish news or new works on your site. This will make people return to your site. If the site looks like it hasn’t been updated for months, it will make visitors leave and never come back.