Last weekend I scratched an itch and built a new Web site — a niched golf site. (I will reveal its URL at the end of this article.)
Here are the tools I used. I hope this is helpful for you! I am an affiliate for a couple of these tools, and I note which ones they are. Here’s my policy on affiliates.
• Bluehost.com for hosting. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Bluehost, but I’m sticking with them because their tech support is outstanding and because I know my way around the Bluehost user panel.
• The WordPress platform. At this point I have no desire to use anything other than WordPress. I know it well, and developers continue to create a lot of products for it.
It Needs a Theme
• Repro theme for WordPress, a magazine-style theme developed by Ormand Clark. My new, little site didn’t require the hiring a designer. When I have “big plans” for a site, I will always work with a designer.
• ThemeForest.com (affiliate link) for finding a theme. Selecting a theme was very difficult and time-consuming. It’s kind of like deciding on a blueprint for building a new house; it’s an important decision. I knew that if I made the wrong choice, I would squander a lot of time.
I was looking for a theme that would require minimal customization; would work for me “out of the box”; would have a lot of built-in location options for widgets (to give me flexibility in placing ads); and would have a pleasing and original design.
I considered many options: Headway (affiliate link) (which I use for one of my sites), Thesis, Woo Themes, Elegant Themes, Organic Themes, Studiopress, Templatic, and others. I soon became frustrated, because I hadn’t found “it,” and I didn’t want to settle for anything less than the perfect fit.
Then I found exactly what I wanted at ThemeForest, (affiliate link) which I had never heard of before. ThemeForest is an Australia-based online marketplace for Web site themes. It’s used by independent/solo/small-biz developers to market their designs.
ThemeForest designs are not generic (the developers aren’t necessarily trying to create themes that appeal to the masses). I also liked the Amazon-style marketplace approach, with ratings and reviews. It also has section for asking questions of the designer — very helpful in determining how well a theme is being supported. ThemeForest also has a community vibe to it, which I thought was cool. Social cred helps.
I’ll Take One Inspiration, Please
• Next, I needed created inspiration for my site’s header. I found it at another site I’d never seen: Creattica.com, which calls itself “a design and inspiration gallery.” I could spend hours and hours looking at the stuff at Creattica. I found my inspiration from this business-card design.
• And then I discovered this(!): the designer of the business card has a page that explains how to build the design, with font suggestions, Photoshop tips, etc.
• That page is located at CreativeOverflow.net, a cool how-to kind of site for creative stuff. CreativeOverflow reminds me of the old How magazine, which was for print design.
• For helping determine the color for the header, I used a little tool that I rely on a lot and that saves me a lot of time: Color-hex.com, which gives information about colors, including RGB, HSL, HSV, and CMYK). Color-hex.com also generates css code for the selected color.
• Share and Follow, a WordPress plugin that produces the social-media sharing icons at the end of each post.
• Bit.ly.com a URL shortener that works within Share and Follow.
• Hello Bar, which creates the call-to-action bar at the top of the site.
The Old Workhorses
Finally, I used nine tools that you’re probably very acquainted with:
• Feedburner for the RSS feed,
• Amazon’s affiliate program, Amazon Affiliates for my new site’s store
• Google Analytics for measuring the site’s performance.
Don’t Forget The Tiniest Detail
• Oops, I nearly forgot about DailyBlogTips.com, which reminded me how to create a favicon.
And I’m still probably forgetting a couple tools!
That’s it, and here’s the site: GolfSwingGallery.com! I won’t call it the finished product, because I will add new features to it as time goes by.
I hope this article was helpful.
Do You Have Favorite Web site-Building Tools?
Please share them in the comments below.