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So, You Want to Start a Website


So, You Want to Start a Website

If you were to ask me a year ago if I ever thought I’d be overseeing a website like The Marist Poll’s, honestly, I would have laughed in your face.  You see, my feet were firmly planted in traditional broadcast news (whatever that means anymore), and although I would often talk about changing careers, I knew where my heart was.  I had no real plans to make a move.  Perhaps, I should have listened to John Lennon’s prophetic words, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”


Mary Azzoli

Please, don’t misunderstand me!  I love Pebbles and Pundits.  It allows me to flex my editorial muscle, and that was the challenge.  My background is more editorial than technical.  But, we, at The Marist Poll had a message to get out, and it was my job to figure out how to do so.

Now, if you’re one of the 82% of Americans who The Marist Poll discovered does not have a personal website, my guess is it’s not due to a lack of ideas or messages.  My money is on a fear to broach the digital divide.  But, fear not.  If I could spearhead a project like Pebbles and Pundits, you certainly can launch a website of your very own!

Don’t believe me?  Well, here’s some advice that I hope will help.  First, don’t go it alone.  You’re intimidated, and that’s ok.  Admit your limitations and get past them.  The best way to do that — research.  We chose WordPress as our publishing platform.  WordPress is free and user-friendly.  It also has a ton of widgets to help you add to your site as well as a community of users!   I’m also not too proud to admit that I turned to WordPress for Dummies for advice.  Now, this isn’t a commercial for WordPress.  There are many other platforms out there and tons of books on the market to assist you in building a website.  In fact, I typed the search string, “Creating a website,” into and discovered 712 books on the topic.  When I did the same search on, I found 2,163 books.  If you don’t want to invest the money in buying a book, there are online resources you can check out.  Your local public library is also a good place to start.  And, while you are researching, don’t forget.  You will need a hosting platform.  Explore all of your options.  There are inexpensive ones out there.

Plus, keep an eye on the latest tech news.  There are websites that often review companies’ services (many of which are free).  Those sites can be extremely useful in your project.  I, personally, like TechCrunch.  It offers an RSS feed that helps keep you up to date even if you forget to go to the website!

Friends and family can also prove to be valuable sources of untapped knowledge.  Maybe, your best friend’s uncle is a computer guru.  Ask if you can shoot him an email with your questions or pick his brain over a cup of coffee.  It couldn’t hurt.  Surrounding yourself with good, intelligent people is a great strategy.  Not only can they help you get your website up and running, but they’ll also be there when you need to troubleshoot problems which will inevitably arise.  And, ask, for comments and feedback on your site.  It’s the most honest way to find out what needs fixing.  Nothing is ever perfect, and there is a learning curve.  Look at obstacles as learning experiences which will ultimately make your website even better!

Most importantly, though, have fun with the process especially if your website is a personal project and not one for your company or organization.  In either case, remember to be realistic in your goals.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and my gut tells me that if you’re a novice, neither will your website.  Maybe, you want to market your content to a certain audience but the comments your visitors are leaving show that’s not who you’re attracting.  That’s ok.  The greatest thing about having your own site is that you can change it whenever you want.

The internet, to a certain extent, has made formal publishers obsolete.  It allows every person, young and old, to be his or her own publisher.  The resources to assist you are available.  So, don’t let your fear prevent you from communicating your message to the digital world.

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  1. Rogerjames

    March 30, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    Yes i want to start a new website.

  2. Elsie Trujillo

    February 18, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with valuable info to work on. You have done a formidable job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

  3. Health and Ageing

    November 19, 2011 at 6:07 AM

    Nice post Mary. I know it has been a couple of years, but what you have provided is still detailed and usable info. Making your own website or web page, etc.- is easier today than ever and many will not cost you a cent. Some people want to make money and some folks just want to provide good info. and be heard. Thanks again.

  4. Ryan Burnsworth

    November 14, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    It is a difficult process to build a good website.
    I have been going through the processes for years.
    SEO is not an easy task either, but it is definitely a useful thing if you have a website.
    Thanks for the article

  5. Krystal

    September 7, 2011 at 3:16 AM

    I love your article, a good sense of direction, I myself build websites in WordPress and when said and done, the most difficult part is to get traffic “but” if you know SEO it will help out a great deal on getting traffic to your website in addition to social media and at that point if your on Google’s 1st page you will convert sales in bunches. I earn a full-time living online and it has paid off. “but don’t expect it to come over night, there is work involved, when your owning your own business online you are no longer the employee where some one can hold you by your hand and show you what to do. Instead if you own your own business on line and you are now the employer and there is no one holding your hand to show you what to do, you have to learn it all on your own. Put it this way when a man walks through the battlefield he walks through bombs, grenades,bombing airplanes, guns, etc.. but when he makes it to the other side, what does that make him?? A HERO!! When you start your own business on-line you go through your bumps on the road but with a-lot of time dedication and commitment you come out a winner in the end..
    Thank you.

  6. Andre | Flash Cms

    September 4, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    For sure ! WordPress has become the best open source CMS at this days, you can make simple blog or a corporate websites with it , what i love with WP is that is simple to use and you can add unlimited options like widgets,modules and custom tools to it.

  7. Todd Casey

    July 16, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    Your website building advice is as valid now as it was in 2009 when you wrote this article. Even though there have been advances in technology and venues for websites, the popularity of WordPress websites seems higher than ever.
    Although you did not mention it, free blogs available via and, among others, offer fantastic ease of entry for virtually anyone who has an urge to publish their thoughts.

  8. Internet Happens

    June 8, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    I agree with many of your points. Thank you for a very informative article. It is important to nurture the good things about web design as it can become boring at times. I say +1 for WordPress.

  9. Robert Places

    May 24, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    The bottom line is, keep yourself updated and don’t stop learning about what’s new in the world of internet, because it’s keeps changing everyday. Great points you’ve raised here.

  10. TemplateMonster Discount

    April 27, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    WordPress is one of the best ways to create your personal or even business website. Of course it’s best to purchase your own domain/hosting and have the WordPress on your own website.

    Then grab a WordPress theme to extend the site to have more options, creative look and even add the ability to have your own online store via WordPress plugins or themes created specifically for unique functions.

    The other one I’d suggest is Flash CMS or MotoCMS they are even easier to edit than WordPress.

    Great article, thank you for sharing.

  11. Shared Hosting Review

    February 18, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Good read 🙂 With the 1-click-install, WordPress is definitely one of the best options for beginners to start up a website.

  12. Website Design

    December 28, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    This post is very useful and i am sure new starters will have great joy in reading this post.

    Nowadays most web hosts has 1 click installs with wordpres and joomla etc etc just click and it installs onto your domain.

  13. phoenix hypnosis

    November 12, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    .. The correct way to start a website is to find a website hosting design offer than provides all you need to design, build and run a fully …

  14. knives and swords

    September 15, 2010 at 4:54 AM

    This is what makes online marketing so difficult. Not only do you have to figure out how to get visitors to your site but you also have to figure out how to “convert” them once you get them there.

  15. coin stores

    September 15, 2010 at 4:34 AM

    The correct way to start a website is to find a website hosting design offer than provides all you need to design, build and run a fully functional professional site. Free websites do not usually allow you to sell your own products. It costs money to get a proper site up and running, and the secret is to keep that cost to a minimum when you can least afford it.

  16. wine cellars coolers

    August 17, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    Start a website the right way. We are providing steps that will make is so you can build you own website that will make it successful fast.

  17. plans for storage shed

    August 16, 2010 at 5:11 AM

    Your website’s design should be simple and elegant. The colors and the graphics that you use should blend well with the text. Remember – people need information, not animation graphics. If the design is too outlandish, they might find it hard to concentrate on the content. So, keep it neat and simple. This is one of the basic rules you need to follow to successfully make your own web site.

  18. Bob Hamm

    April 16, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    I think using wordpress is the best way to get started online. Oh course you have your free websites like blogger,, and webs. But for the most user friendly and professional looking it would have to be wordpress.

    “As in life, Chill for best results”

  19. Digital creed

    March 14, 2010 at 10:52 PM

    very useful idea friend ^^

  20. John

    January 5, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    My answer it also YES!

  21. andy becketh

    October 14, 2009 at 9:21 PM

    Whether local or global, if your business isn’t on the Web, you will lose out on many prospective customers. I believe putting your company online will be your great advantage for the excel of your business.
    nh life insurance

  22. how to market your business

    October 1, 2009 at 4:02 AM

    My answer is YES. Every people are migrating there business into online. I assure that lots of people are more motivated now when they read this post


    August 3, 2009 at 2:53 PM

    I have had this website for a while and its was started because buy designer jeans and sometimes nice fakes on ebay. I wanted something that was quick and easy to find. I think people should start websites or blogs if they have a passion for a something in particular.

    The Fashion Bug

  24. Make Money For Kids

    July 5, 2009 at 11:10 PM

    I actually have my own blog, and I think that blogger is the best platform for people new to the internet, because anyone can make one, which is why I have made one and am sharing my information on Ways for Kids to Make Money Fast

  25. Gold Coins

    June 24, 2009 at 1:16 AM

    I do, i am planning to have my personal site. And looking the insights of your blog, i think it will help me to create a new one. Million thanks!

  26. dan

    June 23, 2009 at 3:47 PM

    excellent post mary. you will inspire people. -dan

  27. 7 String Ibanez Guitars

    June 17, 2009 at 5:19 AM

    I am sure many people will answer yes to your question. I also want to thank you for giving advice. Thank you so much! I appreciate your effort for sharing.

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