Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More on Building Your Free Website

So, I’ve been working on my new website now for a while. After years of being unavailable, my domain name became available. I jumped on it as I had wanted it for so long. Having already set up my site for, I had mastered the tools pretty well, except they gave us a bunch of great new tools, like a blind contact form and easy to use mp3 media player. Lots of new stuff.

During this process, my friend Claire at wanted to switch to a Yola site too because she did not want to pay and wait for her web master to make every little tweak she needed. And, she wanted to be able to upload more audio to her radio archives. So, while helping her create a new free website, I began to refine the process into a logical format.

Meanwhile, I moved to the Albuquerque area and started thinking about what I could offer the community here. The idea to help people learn to build their own free websites came to me. So, I put together a class agenda, sent out some emails through new friends’ lists, and began my first “Build Your Own Free Website” Class. I offered the class to spiritual and alternative healing entrepreneurs, so there is a nice mix of compatible people.

I’ve done the first two classes now, and it’s going well, although there have been a few glitches in the process. It’s a learning experience, after all. Here’s a list of things I teach my students that may help you organize your website and get launched into the world market.

SignUp and Basics
•Buy a domain name.
•Create Free Yola account.
•Choose a template.
•Add basic template pages (Welcome, About Us, etc.)
•Explore Widgets, Properties and Yola help center.
•Create a Customized Banner, if needed using Paint.
•Identify content and navigation strategies.
•Learn to Use Text Boxes and Photo boxes.
•Paste content into Notepad for ease of formatting.
•Don't type directly into the sitebuilder. You could lose it before saving.
•Upload photos and files to File Manager.
•Add photos and text boxes to various pages.
•Save and Preview Pages, adjust as needed.

Search Engine Optimization
•Define your target market.
•Write Window Titles.
•Identify list of keywords or search words.
•Write a short two sentence page description for each page for search engines using your key words.
•Learn where to post the window titles, key words and page descriptions for

Refine Site
•Refine Your Design & Content, Standardize colors and font sizes.
•Explore Other Yola Sitebuilder Tools
•Links: add Page Links, File Links, Photo Links.
•Add a Blind Contact Form to your Contact Us Page to avoid email address being added to spider crawler spammer lists.
•Add New Pages and Photos.
•Rearrange your navigation bar if pages are not in order.
•Add specialty widgets to site (like audio player, html code, maps, etc., as needed for your site.)
•Edit Photos in free program: PicNik (linked to Yola photo boxes)
•Add PayPal Ecommerce, if needed (catalog, single product, donation.)
•Add "Buy Now" buttons where needed.
•Set up a Free Stat Counter that counts your visitors to the site and tracks where they come from, popular pages, lots of info. Post stat counter code in html box.

Finalization & Review
•Launch (publish) the website.
•You will have to redirect your domain to Yola if you did not buy your domain from Yola. (See Yola help.) Yola’s domains are too expensive for me. 
•Review the launched site on various browsers settings and refine as needed.
•Search Engine Optimization: Create Google Webmaster free account. Get your Google Webmaster Code and put it in properties to Scan Pages for Search Engine recognition. Yola offers a tutorial to walk you through the steps.

If that all seems too complicated, Contact Sandy to help you privately or to register for a class. For more info, check out

Feel free to send me some questions or post them in comments, and I’ll help if I can.