How to build a personal website?

By Linh PMP

Building a personal website for what?

  1. Making yourself searchable on the Internet in a more professional appearance
  2. Learning new hands-on digital skills related to web management, SEO and analytics
  3. Challenging yourself to be creative in designing and telling your own stories

Agree? Have fun with the most basic steps explained in the simplest way.

Basic terms

Imagine that the web is a child! And you send that child to school.

  1. domain name (eg. http://www.linhpmp.com) is like the Student ID number assigned to that child to differentiate it from other students.
  2. web hosting service is like the school administration service of keeping the child safe.
  3. Server is like classroom and playground where they keep the child.

To make it simple for beginners, the instruction below focuses on WordPress.com, a quite simple service that I have most related experience. Using this, you basically do not have to deal with domain name, hosting or server.

Note: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org?

Using WordPress.org, you can take better control of your site by installing custom themes or building your own, installing plugins you want, etc; but you have to find a host and take care of the maintenance by yourself. WordPress.com is more suitable for those who’ve just started. With this option, you have very limited choices of themes and plugins, but you can free your mind with no hosting, not much worry on back-up and security.

Start: https://en.wordpress.com.

  1. Click on “Create Website”.
  2. Skip “Choose a theme” as you can do it later with more options
  3. Find a domain: You can get it for free if choosing domain ending with “wordpress.com”. You can also invest $18/year to get your own domain name such as “linhpmp.com” instead of “linhpmp.wordpress.com”, but it’s not really necessary.
  4. Select Free Plan. It means you have limited access to customizing your web, receive more spams and suffer ads at the end of your posts. But no big deal for a starter.
  5. Create you account: Choose a relevant (and professional if possible) username and password. Then create your account

wordpress site

6.   Look at “My site” administration page, pay attention to the left column (marked red in the photo above). Click on Themes and choose the one you like. Be aware that some themes do not have the text font that is friendly in your language. You may have to give it a try and decide.

Note: Page vs Post?

Page is for core contents that hardly change through time, such as introduction about yourself and your projects. Post is for information that would be updated regularly, such as your note on the new soccer match, your record of a recent event, etc .

  1. Create a page introducing about yourself:

create a page

* Go back to “My site”, click on “Add” next to the Page tab. Create a Title (such as “My story” or “About”). The red number in the photo above is attached to some key features as followed.

* (1) “Paragraph”: Click on that, you can find formatted style for your page’s heading and content layers. This helps reader find it easier to follow, so please don’t forget to take time on such great formatting.

* (2) Insert hyperlink to text: Choose the text, click on the item and insert the link on the “URL”.

* (3) Insert picture: You can insert picture as individual or in a gallery. If you want to create a gallery, simple press Ctr (or Command) and tick on all photos you want, then click “Continue”. You can play with it by choosing among different layout on the right. You can also edit the caption for each photo by clicking on “Edit” tab. You can also choose the display size of the photo (the Large display normally looks the best) Let’s post a fun album of your activities or hobbies so that people can know more about you.

* (4) Toggle Advance to view more formatting tool such as text color, highlight, etc.

* (5) Don’t forget to insert a Featured image to make your post look better on front page. This photo should have high resolution.

* (6) You can choose to set hierarchy for your page by choosing a parent page, but not necessary for a simple website.

* (7) Tick on Show Sharing buttons and Show Like Button.

* (8) More options are optional.

* (9) Now you can publish it!

  1. Create a post: Back to “My site”. Click on “Add” next to “Blog post”. Basically you do the same step as shown for the Page, but don’t forget a typical step of choosing Categories & Tags (on left sidebar). You can “Add a new category” to structure your posts in different topics of your interest, such as “Sports”, “Design”, “Study”, etc. Tags will include the key words that mostly describe what are included in your post. For example, if your post is on Freerice.com (a well-designed language learning website that donate grains to the poor for each correct language answer), the tags can be NGOs, charity, design, game, etc.
  2. Create menu:

choose menu.png

Menu is the list of titles you can see on top (or bottom) of your website. For example, on my website, the menu includes “Inspired, Tell, Help, Make, Act, Advocate”. This will show a quick structure of your website.

* Click on WP Admin – on the bottom of left sidebar, you go to the Dashboard. On the left sidebar of the Dashboard, click on “Appearance”, then “Menu” below that. Now you can view the Primary Menu.

* You can add a Page (1) or a Category (2) Title to the Menu list by searching on the left side, then click “Add to Menu” (3)

  1. Arrange the layout: Click on the “Widgets” underneath the “Appearance”. Some popular widgets to use:

* Categories, Recent Posts: Drag each to the “Main Sidebar” section

* Contact info, Tag Cloud: Drag each to “Footer” section. You may add your email address there.

  1. Final settings: Go to Setting (in the bottom left of the Dashboard). Set the Site Title (eg. Linh PMP), Tagline (eg. Live sweet), set your time zone, the blog icon (the favicon that can be seen on the browser tab, eg. the ice-cream icon of my website) and save changes. Next, click on “Reading” underneath the “Settings”, make sure to tick on “ Allow search engines to index this site” so that others can search for your website on google, yahoo or bing.
  1. Final notes: Consider it as a project. It’s better if you can make a schedule to produce at least a new post every week. You should also make a weekly schedule for data exporting (in case there is some problems on WordPress, you will not lose everything). The exporting tool can be found at “Tools” (above the “Settings” to the left bottom of Dashboard”).  Not easy, but worths practicing.

Now your website is ready to launch! Let’s party :-)!

Good luck. Live sweet!

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