If you do a search for web publishing tools, you’re sure to come across dozens of sites offering you all the tools you need to do every aspect of your web design and functionality. The choices are endless and of varying usefulness. But what tools are necessary to create your website? Do widgets really drive traffic or keep visitors on your site longer? Here’s an outline of the basics things to get you up and running and some ideas on what to look for in the website creation process.

 

Hardware

You’re reading this, so I’m guessing you have or have access to a computer and the Internet. I know it’s an obvious one, but you can’t really discuss the tools necessary to publish a website without stopping by the basics. While you’re at it, you can get a microphone and a webcam at a reasonable price, opening up the option to add sound and visuals to your blog. A podcast can add another dimension to your site.

 

Software

Again, you may have already made this decision, especially when Squarespace is such a convenient option. There are a lot of web publishing software choices out there and the most important aspect is picking one that fits your needs. Do you know enough programming to do a lot of the design on your own or would you prefer a more user friendly set-up process? What kind of traffic do you expect to get and how will the server you’re using handle that? Make a list of your priorities before checking out the options to avoid getting lost in a sea of software.

 

Site Layout

Once you’ve chosen a software program, you need to design your website and actually publish it online. After all, the medium is the message. The site layout should be unique to your site. Think of picking one of the standard designs and tweaking it a bit to give you a whole new look and feel. The last thing you want is someone coming to your site and remarking how it looks just like some other site. Take, for example, the multitude of Blogger sites that look exactly the same. A little originality goes a long way.

 

Details

This is where your site takes shape. Add on customized touches such as contact forms, forums, photo galleries, and other pages that will make your site come alive and allow you to better connect with your visitors. Choosing a few widgets for your site, specifically ones that relate to your main idea, can help offer additional value. Be careful of using too many. One or two can be useful but too many will crowd your sidebar and confuse your readers.

 

Time

This is one of the most important parts of a website and often the one aspect we’re all a little short on. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many ways to get around this one. Writing a bunch of blog posts when you have the time and then setting them to a timed auto-publish can help a bit. Overall, the more time you can spend on the site, updating it and expanding it, the more successful your site will be. Good luck!