Website Hosting & Design
Some people might be interested in designing their own website. Often an independent developer wants more creative control, needs to relate their website to their game, or has less of a budget, and otherwise does not pay for website design. At that point, there are a number of important considerations to make.
The first two steps to website creation.
1. Website Hosting – Finding a reputable web hosting company will be important, especially if the game is expected to be a huge success. A shared hosting account would likely not be enough for this type of game, and the team’s web developer would absolutely need a high quality dedicated server host. Otherwise, the website could experience lag and downtime during the critical weeks immediately following the games release, which could hinder your fans, and potentially sales.
2. Domain Name – Registering your domain name is important also. If your project has a unique name, you could likely still get the dot com version of your game’s name. Buy your domain name immediately, otherwise it could be snatched by domain squatters once your project is leaked to the public.
Creating a website might seem easy at first, but once you dive into the process you will quickly realize that it is more complicated than you first though. Fortunately, there are a few easy steps you can follow that will simplify the process as well as start you on the right path towards creating a successful website.
Determine Your Website’s Focus Area
Before you can create a website, you need to decide what subject your website should be about. Are you going to highlight gameplay? Are you instead going to focus on stunning visual art that doesn’t exactly match gameplay but perhaps puts people into your game or fantasy universe? It’s important to think of something that will capture the imagination for years to come. If you get bored with the website yourself, the chances of you maintaining your website for years to come are slim and will greatly affect your success rate.
Do Your Homework
After you have chosen your topic, you need to spend a great deal of time researching it. Research all aspects of your topic so you become an expert on the subject matter before you even try to create your first webpage.
Now that you know everything about your topic, it is time to take a look at your competition. Spend a little time on the web doing various searches about your topic. Look closely at what others have created around your topic to give you ideas on how to proceed. Try to determine ways you could improve upon what others have done so you can stand out from the rest of the crowd. Never copy what others have done. Learn from what others have done so you can create something better and even more unique.
You must research and decide what keywords you want to rank in the search engines and you must plan how you are going to accomplish that task. You can employ a variety of strategies to climb the search engine ranks and even use tools like Google Adwords to help you along the way.
Choose Your Domain Name
Now that you are an expert on your topic and know what keywords you plan to use for your website, it’s now time to choose a domain. There are many great services for registering domains. Once of the cheapest and easiest places is NameCheap.com. Their service will register the domain and even assist you as you choose the perfect name for your website.
So how should you choose the name for your site? These days it is getting more and more difficult to find a domain name that is meaningful and easy to remember. But, it can still be done with a little persistence. Play around with the tools for finding your name and try to select something that is easy to remember and free from any special characters.
Choose a Hosting Provider
There are many free options for hosting your website but there are limitations. In most cases, you will find limits on how large your site can be and how much bandwidth you can use in a month. In addition, many of the free services do not provide the scripting services you may need for your site to function smoothly.
You best bet is to choose one of the premium hosting plans. These plans can be purchases for a very low monthly cost. Bluehost and Hostgator are two of the biggest leaders in this market as well as Wix. All of these services offer spectacular uptime for your site as well as plenty of bandwidth, storage and scripting capabilities for your site.
Select a Platform
There are many different platforms available that you can use to build your site. Each one has their own strengths and weaknesses. If you are an expert developer, you might want to code your site by hand. However, today you don’t have to be a developer and code expert in order to create a beautiful site.
Website Creation Tools
There are tools out there such as Wyx that will take your information and create a layout of pages with navigation automatically. These tools are perfect for the website novice as they can create an entire website in a matter of minutes. However, they are limited in the designs and layouts of your site and your site might end up looking like many others out there.
If you are creating a site that is more like a blog, Wordpress is the best option for you. It’s easy to install through your hosting providers and it makes the process of creating pages and posts very easy. It’s also search engine friendly as you can easily update your site on a regular basis.
If you are creating a large site that will have many users and editors, you might want to consider a CMS system such as Joomla or Drupal. Wordpress can also be used in this matter with a few extra free plugins. These systems make it easy to manage many users to your site as well as make allow you to handle the flow of data on your site.
Plan Your Site’s Look and Layout
Once you have decided what system you want to use, it’s time to plan exactly how it will look. In today’s world, you not only have to consider how a site will look on a computer, but on tablets and smartphones as well. Many of the platforms today will support all the devices making your job a little easier.
In addition to how it will appear, you must choose the look of your website. Colors, fonts, sizes of images, and much more must be considered when you are designing how your site looks.
Develop Your Content
There was a time when you could slap together a few basic pages that only took minutes to develop and with that obtain a high ranking in the search engines. However, times have changed. If you want to even have a chance at visitors seeing your site and returning you need to create meaningful, well organized content for your site that is not only engaging, but also provides a real value to your visitors. You must release this content on a regular basis as well so your site continues to provide new and fresh information about your topic as you move forward.
While it doesn’t sound like it, remaining consistent with your website is one of the biggest keys to success. Search engines and visitors both love new, fresh content and one of the simplest ways to ensure your visitors will return is to continue to release new content on a regular basis.
As you can see, there is a lot of work to be done when creating your first website. However, creating a website can be a very rewarding experience as you work to create a place that people love to visit. If you follow the steps above you will be well on your way to creating a successful website that your visitors will enjoy for years to come.
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