How to Build Your Own Webpage (aka Learn from Our Mistakes)

webpage design

Have you ever wanted to build a webpage to highlight your work, showcase your talent or your business? Did you feel overwhelmed or stymied by the millions of options out there?  Intimidated by technical terms and computer codes?  I know we felt that way when we built this webpage.  We wanted to share how we did it so hopefully you can learn from our trial and error and identify the way that will work for you.

Step 1 - Buy your Domain Name.  We used Network Solutions, it was straight-forward and easy.

Step 2 - Setup your email.  Use Google for Business to setup your custom domain email.  It costs about $5 a month per account.  They have a good online help section with lots of step-by-step pictures and videos to show you how to set everything up with your domain provider. 

social media icons

Step 3 - Social Media.  Once your email is up and running, setup all of your social media accounts.  If you are making new ones you will need to register them.  If you are changing the names on your current accounts, then make the changes as soon as possible.  We learned this the hard way. Beth had a personal account on Instagram and we were able to change it with no trouble, but someone had already taken the pinterest.com/kingstoncrafts url so we had to scramble to try to come up with something "close" when creating our own page.

Step 4 - Pick your webpage host.  This is where we made our biggest mistake.  We built an entire webpage on one service provider and used it for about two weeks before we realized it did not have all of the features we wanted, that they upcharge you for features that are standard with other providers, and that a lot of their integration with social media and other web services are work arounds and also subject to additional charges.  I finally lost my patience with all the challenges and rebuilt our entire website on Squarespace.  I found their online help guides very informative and easy to use.  They have lots of step by step photos.  Even better is that they have built in integration with just about every major web service and social media platform. The biggest lesson we learned was: know what you want out of your webpage so you can ask all the right questions when researching your options.

Step 5 - Connect your Domain to your webpage host. Using Squarespace's guides I connected our domain in a matter of minutes.

Step 6 - Design Your Site.  If you decide on Squarespace, they have templates to start with that are very easy to modify and customize. Don't worry about picking the wrong one, Squarespace makes it painless to switch if you change your mind. We used a few sites to help us with the background patterns, images for our site, and our color scheme.  I recommend that you make a few notes on the hexcodes for the colors you like so you can reproduce them.

An sample of Squarespace's step-by-step guide.  This is from one of the sections on using the Style Editor.

An sample of Squarespace's step-by-step guide.  This is from one of the sections on using the Style Editor.

A color template we used for parts of this site. Note the hexcodes underneath each color.

A color template we used for parts of this site. Note the hexcodes underneath each color.

Step 8 - Populate your Webpage with Content and Features.  Write your first blog post, create a photo gallery, or publish your social media feed - whatever you want your website to feature.  If you have an old blog site, Squarespace makes it easy to import from Blogger, Wordpress, and Tumblr.

Step 9 - Publish your Site.  Hit the switch and let the world see your great ideas come to life.

We hope this has been helpful and again this is what worked for us - we know there are a lot of options out there.  If you have any questions let us know below and we will do our best to answer them. If we can't answer it then we can hopefully point you in the right direction. We hope this will inspire you to create your own site!