Let's be honest, building and launching a website can be a challenging task. There are many factors to consider, and you will need to make a number of creative decisions. If you've never built a website before, it can seem overwhelming, BUT here's the good news. Here at Showit, we believe creativity exists in everyone, so build a platform that gives you the freedom and control to express your creativity online..
Let's be clear, if you want to build something such as a new social media platform or a streaming service, that will require a mastery level of programming, and you may need to take some training courses to become well-versed in that field. If, however, you have a product or service you think is great or a message you want to share with the world, you are in the right place.
As a new Showit employee on the marketing team, one of the first things I had the opportunity to do was build and launch a website on the platform. Believe it or not, even though I work as a digital marketer, I had never built or launched a website prior to working at Showit. I had some fear and insecurities when I started. Questions like, “Is it going to be good enough?” and “Is this design app really as easy to use as I've heard?” ran through my mind. I can honestly say that getting started was the hardest step, but once I jumped in, the creativity started to flow. I'm here to tell you I did it, so YOU absolutely can, too. Below, we will take the journey from newbie to launching a stellar site together. Ready to get started? Let’s go!
Your website isn't merely a virtual space; it's your digital narrative hub. This is the portal where visitors absorb your core essence, grasp the key message, and engage in the desired actions you want them to take..
The first step you will need to take when building a website is to decide what you want your website to be about or what it is showcasing. You may already know this, and if so, that's fantastic—you're well on your way! If you are unsure what you want your website to be about, then your journey begins here. Defining your focus is important as it will help dictate the design and flow of your website.
If you are feeling stuck, consider something you are passionate about. This can be anything. Maybe you’re good at drawing. You could make a site to showcase your art! Or perhaps you have several fan theories about TV shows…. Create a blog to share them with the world. The sky really is the limit here! If you can think it, you can build it. The most important tip I can give you here is to make sure it’s something you love, as you will be spending a good amount of time with the topic as you build your site. For my topic, I chose to make a website showcasing my service of playing acoustic guitar music for weddings. I am a musician and I love helping people create meaningful moments. So my website creation journey was underway….
Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for! You’ve chosen your topic. Now, let's delve into the exciting process of crafting your website using the Showit platform. To get started, access to the Showit design app is essential. Luckily, Showit offers a two-week free trial, granting you access to the full capabilities of our website builder tool. This trial isn’t just another run-of-the-mill trial; it’s your portal to sculpting the website you've envisioned. Getting started is just a few clicks away. To make things simpler, I've broken it down into 5 steps. Along the way, I’ll also share some insights from my own website-building journey. Ready? Let's dive in!
So, you’ve logged in, and now you are no doubt wondering, “What now?” The first thing you need to do is decide whether to use a pre-built template or design the website from a blank canvas. For myself, I knew that I would have a much easier time starting with a pre-built template. Showit offers two options when it comes to choosing a template: you can use one of the many free templates, or you can choose to purchase one of their premium templates that has been crafted by our design partners.
For my website, I chose to go with a free template option because it seemed as if that would suit my purposes perfectly fine. When you choose your template, consider how you want your website to work. I knew I wanted to have separate pages people could visit, as well as a landing page. For this reason, I used a template that had multiple pages previously designed, which already had a menu bar at the top to take users to the pages. You may want to go with a more streamlined design that allows you to place all of your content on a single page. For my wedding guitarist website, I knew I wanted a home page and separate pages for Contact, Options, and About Me, so the template I chose worked great. In case you are wondering, the one I chose was called Bethany.
With your template chosen, now comes the beginning of customizing the template you’ve selected. To do this, you will need to dive into using the Showit design app. When I first got started, I was intimidated by the various menus and options. However, I was quickly reminded that Showit was interested in me being able to easily navigate the platform and bring my wedding guitarist website to life. When you get started, you will be prompted to check out a 30-minute in-depth tutorial that will help you get going with most of what you’ll need to know to fully customize your website.
In addition, Showit has a very comprehensive archive of help docs where you can search for anything you want to learn regarding the platform. Even if you are unsure of how to word something, you can enter specific keywords related to what you want to learn, and then see a full range of options: different articles and help docs. You can choose the one which best suits your needs from there. Something I especially appreciated is that most of these help docs also have a video tutorial in addition to the text, which allows you to see the process done by someone else.
Finally, if you get stuck, Showit has a world-class staff of support pros who are invested in your success. They are always happy to help with anything you need to complete your website.
All of these resources will help you learn everything you need about how the design app works. I can tell you that this was by far the biggest triumph for me in the process. As I mentioned before, menus and options are intimidating to me. The fact that Showit was able to take me from a complete beginner to feeling proficient in using the design app in just a few days was a miracle to me. I’ll say it once more: If I could do it, I know you can.
As you are building your website, you will need to make a few design decisions. These include things like color palette, fonts, and the overall layout of your site. Instructions on the technical aspects of how to change and customize these parameters can be found in our Showit help docs and in our video tutorials. I have included a few things to keep in mind for each of these aspects of your site below:
It’s important to remember that designing a well-laid-out and visually appealing website is a skill to be honed. Your first attempt likely won’t turn out perfect, and that's okay! The tips above are to get you started. If you need additional help, we have several articles available to give you some insights, like this one on “How Can Design Make or Break Your Site?” If you’d rather have more personalized help, you can feel free to hire one of our Design Partners to further assist you.
Now your website is starting to look great! But you need to make it function well, too. This is where things like buttons, forms, and galleries come into play. Now, let me give you a pro tip that will help you greatly as you’re building your site. When using Showit, you’ll hear the words ‘canvases' and ‘canvas views' a LOT! These are very important to understand as you’re building out your website. Basically, your website will be split up into pages, and on each page, there will be several canvases. The canvases divide the content on your page into sections, and you can customize this as much as you want. This is important to understand because if you have questions like, “How can I add a drop-down menu?” or “How do I add a ‘read more' button that loads more text when clicked?” These kinds of actions will be done using canvas views.
As you’re learning to use Showit, you’ll see how to add things like additional canvases, buttons, and contact forms. If you get stuck, you can also search our Showit help docs for anything you want to know. Additionally, remember that our support team is always standing by to assist you along the way.
YES, you did it! You’ve decided on a topic, chosen a template, dove into the design app, and customized your site. You’ve come so far, and now victory is at hand. The final step is to launch your site.
In order to launch your website, you will need to buy a domain name. A domain is a unique address on the internet that identifies a website. An example of a domain name is; ‘johnweddingphotography.com'. Once you choose and purchase your unique domain, you can proceed to set up your DNS (Domain Name System) and launch your website.
This process may seem overwhelming at first, but fear not. Short articles and video tutorials on how to do all of this can be found within our help docs. Additionally–you guessed it– our support team can help walk you through the setup process and get your site live. Support will also assist you in obtaining an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate, so be sure to ask them for this.
When I was launching my website, I did my best to follow tutorials to get my domain and DNS set up. It honestly wasn’t too hard, and I felt accomplished when I launched my site. That said, it was comforting to know support was just a message away. I did ask a few questions about the process, and they made the whole thing run smoothly.
Ok, so circling back to the initial question: “Is making a website hard?” From my experience using Showit, I would say it’s challenging, but not frustrating. I can honestly say Showit has done an amazing job building their design app. It allows for ease of use while offering creators all the flexibility and freedom they could want. The challenges for me can boil down to decisions like, “What message do I want to communicate through my website?” or “What exactly should my call to action be?” These questions are very personal and the best person to answer these for your website is YOU!
If you're getting excited about building and launching your site, get started today! Take advantage of our two-week free trial to access the Showit design app and start creating the website of your dreams.
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