I love the internet. And I love web design. 

Building your own website for your business is daunting. But I’m here to tell you, it’s possible. AND FUN (if you’re a nerd like me). The trick is in the planning. Before you begin, set aside all your visions of colorful graphics and cool effects, and figure out the bones of your website. Call it what you’d like: a plan, an outline, or a blueprint. It’s imperative that you have one.

Consider your purpose

Do you plan to blog? Do you simply need a portfolio? Are you selling products? Do you just want to carve out your own little place on the web? Map out the pages you’d like to include (e.g., an “About” page, a contact page, a page listing your services, etc.) and decide how you want to present them. Do you want your visitor to be able to scroll through and see everything at once? Or, do you want dropdown menus with lots of options? Or both? Think about the layout of your pages. Do you want the header to be big and bold? Or low-key? Will you have sidebars? Do you want to show your social media feed on your front page? Your recent blog posts?

This planning gives you a general idea of which theme you should use. I’m only discussing WordPress today because that’s what I know. There are certainly plenty of other platforms you can use. Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and Shopify come to mind. However, WordPress offers the most flexibility, and it’s by far the most popular content management system. So there’s a great deal of free support, tutorials, etc. for newbies like us.

Which theme, though?

Well, if you’re looking for a quick-turnaround, no-fuss blog or simple page to park your contact information, WordPress has many free themes. SO MANY. You can even customize the default theme (currently it’s Twenty Seventeen) to fit your needs. Twenty Seventeen has some terrific features, with options for a video header and that cool parallax effect everybody’s doing. And you can have as many pages as your heart desires. The downside to using free themes is that they lack complete customization. For instance, you’d have to know some code to change the font on Twenty Seventeen.

If you like choices, you might consider purchasing a theme. That’s what I did. I wanted to decide everything. Every. little. thing. And while my kid, who’s currently seeking a computer science degree, reminded me more than once that if I want to create a website from scratch, I should LEARN TO CODE, I decided the quicker (easier) thing would be to shell out some cash. Paid themes provide wonderful features and full customization. Most come with a drag-and-drop interface that is relatively easy to figure out. And paid themes provide support (terms vary). If you’re a beginner, it sure is nice to have someone to answer your questions — as well as a community forum with others like you who are learning as they go.


I use Avada. It has all the features I mentioned above and it updates frequently. When I purchased it, the cost was $60 and included a year’s worth of support. And unlimited access to all tutorials and demos. And let me tell you, the demos are terrific. You can use an entire demo as your website — all you do is change images and text, or you can use certain pages from a demo. Or do like I did and just use the demos for reference.Take some time to research themes for your website, and even try a couple of the free ones out. This will help you familiarize yourself with WordPress and figure out what’s best for your needs. Have a website, but need updated content? I’m your girl. I can create original, engaging content for your website and blog that will delight your target audience and turn visitors into customers.