How to Approach Designing Your New Website

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Have you decided that a website is an important next step for you, your business, or your organization?

Today I’ll cover a few ways to go about making this happen.

Write Custom Code

customcode

If you have the desire to learn how to write in a variety of coding languages, or you already have the knowledge to do so, then it simply makes sense to write your own custom code for your own site. This will allow you to express and display your creativity in a unique and intentional way.

To learn how to write custom code, be sure to check out these resources:

  • TreeHouse
    This team of highly skilled instructors have cocreated a platform that makes learning code super easy, fun, and very straight forward. You’ll find courses on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, IOS, Android, and Python. Aside from the languages, you’ll also find courses on WordPress, Design, Business, and Development Tools. The video courses are clear, concise, and consistent. There are short (enjoyable) quizzes, course tracks, and a huge library of well organized classes that are easy to keep track of your progress. TreeHouse is definitely my personal favorite way to learn code and is certainly worth the membership fee.
  • Code School
    This site is well designed, covers many topics, and they offer a free version. There are video tutorials with quizzes to follow up.
  • Code Academy
    Although Code Academy provides free learning material to write code in over 7 languages, the lessons are text heavy and not always very clear. It’s an option to explore if you are looking to learn without spending a dime.
  • Khan Academy
    Khan Academy offers courses on way more than just coding. They cover math, science, economics, art and more. The computer programming section shares the fundamentals of learning and using JavaScript.
  • Girl Develop It
    This is a channel where women who are interested in learning and/or teaching other females about web design and coding languages in a local area. This is a meet up in person style of learning.
  • Dojo
    Dojo is another group that promotes learning code though an in person type of experience. This specifically targets children under 17 as students and experienced adults as the teachers.
  • Hour of Code
    This free site offers a wide variety of options for students by learning in one hour increments. They share many tutorials with a focus on designing games & apps.

Write Some, Reuse Some

There’s nothing more satisfying than completely writing & designing an entire desktop & mobile site from scratch. Or is there?

The answer depends on your intentions, your creativity, your time, your experience, and many other conditions as well. If you want a beautiful website but you don’t have the time, the desire, the know-how, or the resources to design custom graphics or write up custom code for your entire site, using prepared web elements can certainly enhance your experience as a website designer (beginner or advanced).

webelements

Here’s a couple of sites to start with:

  • FreePik
    If you’re looking for beautiful graphic elements to jazz up your site, this is an awesome website to reference. They provide tons free options that are designed by their team and free 3rd party resources as well. Take some time to get familiar with all of the options that they have, because they can certainly come in handy.
  • Pixeden
    This site has many different options for graphic images, wire framing templates, web elements, and more. They have a decent amount of free stuff but they also have a premium membership to work with. Pixeden seems to have high quality and easy to use content.
  • Design Modo
    70 free web elements are shared in this article. The elements range from ribbons, buttons, sign up sheets, pricing lists, loading bars, sliding interface, and so much more.
  • Creatives Wall
    Here are 40 more free web elements that are particularly creative and beautiful.

Pay for a Premium Theme/Template

If you already have the content that you want to put on your site, but you just don’t want to do the behind the scenes work of writing the code and designing the look and functionality of it, then this is a good choice for you.

With a premium theme or template you will most likely be provided with a high quality design & functionality with lots of flexibility, a quick and (hopefully) responsive design, SEO integration, service and assistance.

Premium Theme

 

  • StudioPress
    Studio Press offers their own premium themes as well as some 3rd party themes. You can choose from many different options based on your needs.
  • WooThemes
    Dedicated team of developers who are committed to creating high quality and highly functional themes. There are 49 premium themes to choose from and 5 more that are free.
  • Solo Stream
    Starts at $39/theme and has a lifetime membership for under $300 for unlimited themes.
  • Mojo-Themes
    This site sells themes and templates that are created and sold to the site by other users. Mojo Themes provides support to the customers. They even have some templates for $25.
  • WordPress
    If you’re using the WordPress GUI (graphic user interface) to design your site, the premium themes that they offer are easy and flexible to use. Although there is an entire section of free themes, the premium themes average about $79 each.

Use a Free Theme

If you need a simple and cheap solution to starting up your website, this is a great way to begin. Sometimes it’s nice to just get your online project up & started and with a free theme you can easily do so. There are limitations in the flexibility of the design, but you will most likely have a few options to work with.

First recognize what you need your site to display and then explore the free themes to see which ones will best meet your needs. Choose wisely so that you aren’t continuously changing the look of your site, but remember that you can always do a remodel if/when you’re ready.

Free Theme

  • FabThemes
    All free themes on this site. Here’s an awesome place to begin your search.
  • WP Explorer
    There is an entire section on this site dedicated to Freebies with an abundance of choices.
  • Themater
    117 pages of free themes with 12 on each page. You could literally spend all day looking though this.

Hire a Web Designer

You have thought about starting a site, are now feeling a need for it, but have no idea how to even go about creating a website at the quality that you want. If you are willing to invest monetarily into this project then a web designer might be the best route for you. It’s often worth the price to hire a web designer because you’ll get way more than just a website out of it.

With this choice, you will have a person (or team) working on crafting and coding your site to meet your needs. You will have to explain what your needs are, but if you choose a good web designer, they should know how to interpret what you want into code and translate what they need from you into a language that you’ll understand.

webdesigner

Website/Page Builder

These are more free form website builders that are able to be manipulated and changed through sets of tools provided by the website itself. I remember using one of these before MySpace became popular, but the options available today are much nicer than they used to be.

Because most accounts like this are free, you will have their web address tacked onto your desired URL. Consider the level of professionalism that you want to portray when choosing which page builder site you will work with. Some website builders allow you to upgrade to a paid membership which can include a custom domain.

 

website builder

  • DoodleKit
    Lots of templates to choose from, fonts, borders, and more. They share live sites that have been created using their service so be sure to look at some of those before committing. Determine if the quality is up to your standards.
  • Wix
    For a fully customizable site using only HTML5, Wix delivers a free service to easily alter their templates to your liking. You will get a subdomain of wix.com
  • Weebly
    This service shares a myriad of free templates and a free subdomain of weebly.com but they do offer the option to upgrade and purchase a custom domain.
  • PageLines
    If you’re using WordPress GUI to design your site, PageLines is an interesting option due to their drag & drop design approach.

 

I hope that you now understand a few options that exist for you. You now have access to some resources to follow through with beginning the design process for your new site.

If you have any more resources that you’d like to share, I’d be very grateful if you would leave a comment with a link and short description of why its useful to you.

Happy designing!

Kate

Rituals & Routines – Are Yours Constructive or Destructive?

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Theres no doubt that each of us has our own little routine, our way of interacting with the day. We also have habit patterns that are firmly set in place, and most of us are simultaneously dabbling in new patterns, different approaches, and other techniques.

This helps to bring a natural balance between feeling grounded, safe, and at home while still allowing space for growth, creativity, and spontaneity.

It’s important to observe and reflect on our daily actions and patterns to recognize which ones support and promote your wellbeing and which ones are distractions. I invite you to choose to release the need to fill your time with distractions, starting one step at a time.

Your day is full of potential. Each moment you have the opportunity to take steps in the direction of your dreams, but also you have the option to just sit idly on the sidelines and watch as your dreams become further out of reach. Choose what makes you feel a sustained sense of joy, not just what stimulates your senses right now.

eat well- your body will thank you

Morning & Breakfast

Lets break down your morning step by step.

Waking Up: Imagine you’re in bed, it’s your normal wake up time (if you have one), and you’re just about to open your eyes. Before you do this, what are the thoughts that you have?

”I’m am open to the abundance of the Universe. I am grateful to be awake, happy, healthy, and full of love.”

OR

”Ughhhh, I do NOT want to get out of bed yet & I hate going to work/school….”

I have found that after I’m awake it’s helpful to first observe my breathing for a few moments before hopping out of bed. This doesn’t take much mental activity and helps me to recognize when I wake up and immediate have a song in my head or begin thinking distracting thoughts. When I practice this, I notice that the songs and distractions don’t carry out into my day as much as if I don’t dedicate time to consciously dissolving and releasing them in the morning. I follow this up with about 15 minutes of affirmations and gratitude for a brand new day full of potential and love.

Some affirmations include:

  • In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole, and complete. Everything I could ever want and need, I already am and have.
  • I release all that is unlike love. There is time and space for everything that I want to do.
  • All parts of my body function harmoniously and properly. I am full of vital energy that helps me thrive. I am resilient and I adapt in every situation.

Transition: At some point you make the decision to get out of bed. What’s your next step? If your morning looks different each day, then do your best to generalize.

  • Go to the bathroom
  • Brush your teeth
  • Shower
  • Get dressed at a comfortable pace
  • Kiss your partner and/or children & welcome in another day
  • Do yoga
  • Go for a walk/run
  • Choose & cleanse the crystals that you’ll carry with you today
  • Check your email
  • Turn on the news
  • Throw clothes on & head straight to work

Which of these activities do you do with conscious awareness that promote your wellbeing and which ones are ways that you allow yourself to get off track?

Final Preparations for the Day: After you’ve become fully awake and have done your usual first few steps, what do you do right before you begin your work/school/adventure for the day?

  • Prepare/eat breakfast
  • Organize your agenda, documents, to-go bag, etc.
  • Take your kids to school
  • Prepare a lunch for you and/or your family
  • Clean the house and/or do the dishes
  • Make coffee/tea

Breakfast Ideas:

Almost Instant Chia Chocolate Pudding
Toasted Coconut Lemon Bread with Salted Honey Butter
Peach Mango Smoothie

Whatever it is that you choose to spend your time doing, just recognize that it is indeed your choice. The mind will make up thousands of excuses if you let it. Choose a morning routine that really gets your fire started because this is necessary to sustain your creative dance throughout the day.

take time to yourself- your mind will thank you

Evening & Dinner

You’ve done all of the “important” parts of your day and you’re headed home. What story do you tell yourself from here?

“Today has been wonderful, and tonight can be as well. I am thrilled to be on my way home (not just a physical location, but the feeling of being home).”

OR

“I never get enough work done and the piles getting bigger. Where has the day gone? Crap! There’s nothing to eat at home, better stop at McDonalds.”

Although not everyone eats breakfast, most of us eat at least a little something towards the end of the day. It’s that time when you can finally give in and feed yourself something. Instead, you can approach it from the perspective of nurturing and loving to feed your body foods that make you feel good. Whatever you choose, its most likely a pattern that you’ve formed. Ask yourself, does the meal I make/buy help me feel sustained energy and fulfillment or is it just an excuse for food that shuts my tummy up for a little bit and pleases the tastebuds? Choose the pattern that helps you feel alive and thriving.

Dinner Ideas:

BBQ Baked Beans
Broccoli & Cheeze Soup
Pull-Apart Buffalo Bread

So yeah, dinner is important, but what about time to yourself? Do you allow yourself that freedom or do you fill your entire night with pleasing your partner, kids, parents, work, or friends? I know that it seems like there just isn’t enough time in each day, but there is. This is where quality over quantity comes into play. It’s not about how many hours you have in each day, its about how you use each and every second of it. Awareness is key.

Before Bed: How do you spend your time before you fall asleep?

  • Spend time with your children/partner/family having fun co-creating and playing
  • Do physical activity (yoga, running, gym, etc)
  • Spend time alone meeting your needs in whatever way that is for you
  • Work on your side business/venture (blogging, painting, photography, etc.)
  • Shower
  • Prepare your things and plans for the next day
  • Plop down in front of the TV until you fall asleep
  • Have friends over until no one can drink anymore
  • Go out to a club and sleep wherever you end up

I don’t know about you, but I always find little ways that my energy and time is wasting away. Every time I notice one of these, I do my best to rewire my thinking and welcome in a new pattern that can help support my dreams. I ALWAYS feel better when I do this.

My husband and I have been watching Netflix for years now. We usually watch a show (or two, or three….) when we sit down for lunch and dinner together. Working from home, this is very easy to do unconsciously. Just recently we realized how distracting and wasteful it was to be using our time this way. So our solution is that now we either enjoy our meals outside together or we choose an interview, a short documentary, or tutorials that we’ve been waiting to watch.

After dinner we have replaced episodes of a TV series with yin yoga. It is extremely relaxing, restorative, and keeps my mind calm. It prepares my body, mind, and spirit for a restful night of sleep. After yoga, I “meditate and appreciate” before I fall asleep. This means I allow my mind to relax and to reach a state of silence and stillness. If a thought does creep up, I replace it with a statement of gratitude and then resume the silence.

This simple change has helped me feel so much more productive, empowered, and creative. Instead of keeping up with the storyline and mystery of a show, I’m now living the mystery of my ever changing life.

You are what you choose to do. Do what you want to so that you can be who you want to be. It’s as simple as that.

begin your day with gratitude- your spirit will thank you

 

With much gratitude,

Kate

 

Is Your Website Personal or a Partnership?

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You’ve got a general feel for what it is that you want to share with the world. You even have some ideas of how you want to go about presenting it. Are you going to do this alone or with a partner?

A website can be fully managed by an individual or it could be a co-creation of multiple contributors. Regardless of which option you choose for your website, understanding what the benefits and setbacks are for each choice is helpful in making an informed and conscious decision.

bloggingpartnership

Personal VS Partnership

Among many other decisions, there is a very important question to ask yourself before hoping on the domain train and buying your hosting space:

Do I want this project to fully be my own creation, my responsibility, all in my own way? Or, do I want to partner up for creativity, to have a variety of influences, share the work load, expenses, & profits?

When you work alone you have the opportunity to do things exactly the way you want them. This is assuming you have the capacity to do and/or learn how to design, market, create content, handle customer relations, and all other associated tasks exactly as you want them. All of the responsibility, expenses, profit, content & credit is yours and yours alone.

When you work with a partner or multiple, you’ve got the chance to distribute the work load and increase efficiency. You can focus in on the areas that are most appropriate for your current skill level, you have some creative influence & ability to work together to improve an idea, and you have support from your partner(s)- that is if you choose them wisely. You WILL learn about communication, connection, and teamwork.

personalblog

Your Mission and Purpose [does it match up with your potential partner(s)?]

Why do YOU want to participate in the creation & upkeep of a website?

  • Improve your writing, photography, cooking, web design, etc.
  • Cultivate dedication to something such as fitness, writing, a particular method, gardening, bee keeping, a specific diet, sharing photos & experiences with family, etc.
  • Keep a record of information such as data of your research, experiments, experiences, observations, opinions, your favorite things, travels, etc.

What need(s) of yours will this site fulfill and what need(s) will it fulfill of your readers?

Your needs can be fairly general. Such as:

  • connection
  • growth
  • dedication
  • laughter
  • creativity

The needs of your readers could be more specific. For example:

  • learn more about DIY furniture
  • tutorials on techniques of permaculture
  • vegan dessert recipes
  • improving photography with a Nikon D2100
  • learn food photography with natural lighting

What is the purpose of your site and how do you want to share content with your readers?

Do you have intentions to make money & resources from this website? If so, how?

  • advertisements
  • writing guest posts
  • review products
  • do giveaways
  • intend on growing the site and then selling it
  • create paid for content
  • create a paid for membership access only community portal
  • do sponsored events though your website

These are all questions that are important for all partners involved to answer and compare to one another to determine if you are all compatible matches for this partnership.

Things to Consider:

    • Workload

– individual
– split equal
– percentage
– based on topic or section

    • Creativity

– better when you’re alone and on your own schedule?
– influenced positively by the presence of another?
– flows back and forth and you find ways to be creative in a variety of settings?

    • Experience of working alone or in a group

Do you usually feel inspired and motivated after discussing an idea as a group or do you feel overwhelmed and exhausted? Pay attention to your emotions when working in a group in comparison to how you feel working alone. Cultivating this awareness could directly help you make your decision of whether to work solo or not.

    • Social accountability

– follow through
– time schedule
– being open and willing to take on necessary projects
– recognize & do your best to meet the needs of your partner(s) (ex. time zone difference? don’t wake your partner up at 4am their time because you’re excited and want to tell them your idea. Be patient and ask yourself, “would I want my partner to do this to me?” before doing it)
– presence; are you totally there? or is your mind wandering as your partner is sharing an idea or opinion? how much do you actually listen and stay attentive to your group meetings?

    • Expenses, profits & resource distribution

– Determine how the expenses will be broken up (if necessary)
– Understand from the start how the money made will be distributed
– If you receive free products and/or sponsorships, how will those be shared or distributed?

    • Basic decision making methods

– Consensus: All members with voting power must either agree or stand neutral. If anyone votes against then the terms must be modified until all members are neutral or for the same decision
– Majority wins
– Work with a point system. The members votes can be worth a varied amount of points based on rank or position within your business/website (if applicable). The option with most points wins.

    • Group additions policy & how it works

– What is your maximun number of members that you’d want as part of your team?
– Do you have any requirements? If so, what are they?
– Will new members be equal partners and have equal voting and monetary rights?
– Will there be a hierarchal structure within the company/website? If so, who reports to whom?
– How much flexibility, creativity, and control does each new member have in regards to content creation?

    • Feedback (Giving & Receiving)

– Are you capable of giving loving & constructive feedback to your friends & partners?
– Are you able to receive feedback (regardless of how it’s given) in a way that promotes your wellbeing and growth & without taking offense?
– Can you improve your skills in communication to more clearly and effectively share your thoughts and feedback with others? If so, do it! This will help in so many aspects of life, regardless of whether or not you choose to do a website alone or with a partner.

As you begin to treat your site with love, commitment and respect, you will begin to observe the impacts of each decision you make. You’ll notice that with every decision you have another opportunity to raise your awareness and focus your energy towards growth, connection, abundance, and compassion to help promote the wellbeing and vitality of your site while positively impacting the lives of those who read your words.

Resources to Learn More About Website Partnerships

Thinking of Blogging With a Partner? Read This First.

The Divine Secrets of a Fabulous Blogging Partnership

10 Points for a Successful Blogging Partnership

9 Tips for Better Blogging Partnerships

Some of my Favorite Blogs by Multiple Authors/Creators

Two Fit Moms

Science of Parenthood

A Beautiful Mess

Little Homestead in the City

Is your website project personal or a partnership? Let me know! I’m curious to hear about your experiences with blogging and running a website solo or with a partner.

 

Wishing you abundance, growth, & love in your journey,
Kate

How to Provide Life Changing, Useful, & Easy to Read Content

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How to Create Powerful Content

The quality of your content is no doubt an important part of the puzzle. By organizing your thoughts and ideas first, you can more easily whip up a fiery article that has the potential to touch the hearts of others.

When you structure your posts in a format that flows and is consistent, your viewers will have a much easier time navigating your post to find the parts that are particularly useful to them. This is a good thing. No one wants to read the entirety of every post they find on the internet, and they wont. By being direct, to the point, but with your own touch of sass, you can deliver a powerful punch to each viewer that reaches your site.

Life Changing, Useful & Easy to Read- All in One Post

When you arrive at an article after searching google, what is it that catches your eye? Take note of the various features that make your reading experience enjoyable and informed.

To help inspire others to make life changes, first you must take charge of your own life. By being confident in what you’re writing about, and offering suggestions that come from the heart, from your experience, and from your dedicated research, your readers will be able to feel this energy and will naturally be drawn to read your articles.

Now that you’ve lured them in energetically, its time to offer them useful information that will leave them feeling fulfilled and possibly even inspired to take the next step. Don’t just find the top 5 pages on Google about your topic and do a summary of them with link backs. Really take the time to connect with yourself and all the resources you have to create a post that will empower your reader to do bigger things with their life.

postchecklist

I use this spreadsheet in Numbers to help make sure that I’m not leaving anything out of each post.

Start With Structure

Before adding the juicy, fatty details to your article, its helpful to first establish a solid foundation. Include the following in your skeleton:

  • Title of the Post (well thought out and catchy)
  • 3-8 Main Focus Points- these will become headers (you can do more if its necessary, but keeping things short & sweet usually keeps the attention of your readers)
  • Conclusion
  • SEO Keywords
  • Links
  • Images
postoutlinetemplate

Feel free to use this example of a post outline template. This is what I use to create the skeleton of my posts. I also invite you to get creative and make one that fits your needs.

When you understand the essence of what it is that you want to tell the world, the details almost fill themselves in.

Be a Strong Body Builder

Now that you have your ideas down, its time to shape your article and give it life. Add the flare and pizzaz that you normally have in your speech into your text. This helps to show your readers the unique writer that you are. They can connect with you as the live person behind your words.

post skeleton

Here is how I begin writing my posts. I chose to use todays post as the example.

 

As the eyes of your reader navigate down your post, they will spend less time actually reading and more time scanning. This may seem counter-intuitive for getting someone to stay on your page for longer, but by providing the reader with a conclusion up front you directly tell them what they will be reading about. This helps to avoid any false pretenses.

If they are on target with what you’re talking about then they should want to keep reading. You’re basically going to tell them what you’re going to tell them. Next, you tell them. At the end, tell them what you’ve told them.

If you’re writing about a topic that you have experience and knowledge about, be sure to share everything that is relevant. If you need some extra support or references, don’t hesitate to find resources that help support your post. Citing your sources not only is polite, but it helps to build relationships and connections.

Using numbered lists, bullet points, images, and block quotes are all great ways to guide the readers attention to important points and to keep them interested though variety of visuals. Add any or all of these into your posts wherever possible.

postoutlinefilledout

Post outline with last weeks post as the example.

Pack Your Post with Nutrients

Incorporate links both from within your website and from external sources as well. When you link to your own posts it helps to create circulation though out your entire website. Related posts go well together and invite your readers to hear more about what you have to say. What is the purpose of your site and how will you present content to your audience? Present it in a way that flows, that gets the readers interested, and helps to open their minds.

Extra Bulk:

  • internal & external links
  • bold text
  • underlined text
  • social media share buttons
  • share extra resources to learn more about the topic (books, audios, podcasts, blogs, websites, etc)
  • suggestions & advice
  • questions to engage your readers further

Being consistent with how you structure your posts is helpful but not essential. If your content is shared regularly and is always superb, then your readers will most likely be faithful. However, getting started it’s helpful to establish a rhythm in posting schedule but also in the format of your posts. Your readers will become used to your style whether it is conscious or not.

What elements catch your attention when reading a blog post? Lists, How To’s, Recipes, Block Quotes, Images? Whatever comes to mind, I’d love to hear about it.

With much love and respect,
Kate

What is the Purpose of Your Site & How Will You Present Content to Your Audience?

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Understanding what it is that you want to share with the world is an important first step when creating a website or blog. Having an idea of who you want to reach is helpful for determining how to style and present your content. Creating a strategic link structure can not only help you feel more organized in your experience of blogging, but it will greatly improve the viewer experience for your readers and fans.

Determine the Purpose of Your Site

In order to be an active writer on a blog, you must be passionate about the topics that you are choosing to write about.

Your enthusiasm, your opinion, your knowledge, your courage, and your experience all play a role in attracting a supportive reader base.

When you choose to write about areas of interest, topics that make you grow, and you create content that helps improve the lives of others, you are welcoming in an abundance of love and support into your own life experience.

Ask yourself this question: if I could talk about anything in the world for hours on end without getting tired of it, what topic(s) would I choose?

These are the topics that you want to write about.

For example: LearnLiveGrowCreate is a blog created to help me learn how to design and live a happy livelihood. To do this I will be documenting what I am learning about website design, content creation, and social media marketing, and blogging as a business. I will be sharing insight on how it’s helping me grow in my personal and professional life, as well as how to accomplish these things yourself along the way.

Write a little list of topics ideas that interest you (and subtopics, if applicable). Group together the ones that are similar.

topic ideas for livelearngrowcreate

The orange arrows represent the topics that fall under the Website Design category. The pink arrows represent Blogging topics, and the green ones go under Living a Happy Livelihood.

Perspective Audience

Ultimately your blog is a sanctuary where you can go to:

  • free your mind
  • express your creativity and sensitivity
  • induce profound realizations
  • and even to help connect you with others from around the world

All of this is important, but always remember your audience. Also remember what it feels like to read what others are writing.

  • What catches your attention and what turns you away?
  • What gets you hooked?
  • Most of all, what leaves you feeling like a better person than you were before you chose to read the article?

Aim for writing that type of content! In your own personal style…

Aside from your style of writing, its helpful to have an idea of who it is that you want to reach.

If you answer is as simple as “mom, dad, grandma, and uncle Frank” then you may not need to read any further. However, if you aspire to reach like minded people, potential customers, others who do similar activities as you, or people who you can teach and/or learn from, then understanding who that target audience is can bring you much clarity.

For example: LiveLearnGrowCreate is a blog that caters to people who are interested in learning:

  • how to turn blogging into a business
  • how to create quality content
  • how to design their own website
  • and for those who want to read reviews of related tools, softwares, and apps

The target audience is for those who want to give it a try but aren’t quite sure where to start or what steps to take. This site is aimed towards courageous beginners, while still suitable for the more advanced designers and bloggers out there.

What is a Link Structure & How is Having One Useful?

Now knowing which topics you want to write about to share with the world, and understanding who it is that you want to direct your content towards, you have laid down the foundation for creating a successful link structure.

A link structure is a method of connecting ideas and categories within your website or blog. Similar topics will be grouped together, making the navigation though your website easier for your readers.

Not only does an internal link structure make viewer navigation more comfortable and smooth, but it also improves your Search Engine Optimization (otherwise known as SEO). Keeping track of the connections within your site also helps to make your job easier to keep track of.

How to Create a Link Structure & Tools to Do It

livelearngrowcreate-link structure

This is an example of the link structure for this site, LiveLearnGrowCreate. As you can see, the main 4 topics of this site are in pink. Listed within each of those categories is a breakdown of subcategories within. This helps to identify how everything fits together.

Steps Involved:

  1. Choose the topics that you’ll write about
  2. Group topics together into more broad categories
  3. Break down further any subcategories if necessary
  4. Create a visual representation that shows how the links on your site are interconnected
EducateKate- Link Structure

This is an example of the link structure from my other site, EducateKate. Mindomo allows you to add the actual link associated with each list item. As you can see, EducateKate has main topics (grandparent), categories within those topics (parent), and some further breakdown of subtopics (child). This is a more precise breakdown of the areas that will be covered within the site of EducateKate.

A few tools to do this fun little project include:

There are pros and cons to each one of the options.

Mindomo

Pros: Offers many options for customization and is really flexible and accommodating for making link structures. You can get really creative with how you present your link structure.
Cons: The mobile app is free, but the computer based versions are paid for. The app does everything I’ve needed it too though, thus making the paid version undesirable to me at this point in time.

Balsamiq

Pros: This is site for making mock-ups of all sorts. The site is super cute and extremely useful for designing a mock-up of your link structure, a webpage, an app, an email newsletter, etc. There are workspaces that allow you to drag and drop all sorts of pre-drawn elements to your wireframe.
Cons: $79 for the software. As I begin to do more wire framing, I’ll consider the investment, but for now I just use the free trial. This trial allows you to work on the web based version for 15 minutes, then it will prompt you to buy a membership, which you can then dismiss. Because I usually don’t use this site for more than 45 minutes at a time, the 15 minute interruptions aren’t too distracting. If you’ll be using this for hours per day, make the investment- it’ll be worth it.

Pages and Word

Pros: Chances are you already have one of these two programs on your computer. If so, then you can work on this project without any further financial investment.
Cons: The options can be limited for the aesthetics of your link structure. It may look very rough, but this is okay if you aren’t showing it to many people.

 

 

Give yourself a big hug and thanks for taking the time to learn how to get your internal link structure organized and presentable.

With much gratitude,

Kate Mascarenhas

 

Disclosure: I have NOT been paid or compensated in any way to promote or review these softwares.

You Are What You Choose To Do

Standard

Regardless of what you want to do, what you actually spend your time doing and thinking about is your current reality and is setting the stage for what is to come.

Of course, educating yourself on the details of any projects or ventures that you are working on is an important step. However, it’s imperative that you take notice of times when you are choosing to shelter your experience by limiting yourself to just the “gathering of information” phase.

This is true to life in general.

I promise you that I am not saying that it’s time to stop learning. Learning is what makes us grow and growing helps us thrive. Thriving is ultimately what we want as any species living here on Earth.

What I’m saying is that it’s time to take what you’ve learned, do something with it, and gain life experience.

No more hiding behind the research. No more jumping from one project idea to the next. No more holding yourself back from living up to your fullest potential.

Rather, now is the time to start opening your eyes and your heart to what you CAN do.

I invite you to do this with me as I learn what it feels like first hand to host a live blog full of growth and continuity.

I Am Willing To Change My Thoughts & Habit Patterns

The first step is being open and willing to change. Each moment you have another chance to choose a thought that will promote your health, wealth, peace, and vitality. Use your next thought as an opportunity to replace a negative thought with something positive and motivational as a gift of presence and kindness to yourself.

Old Pattern: If I keep learning how to improve the design of my site then it will have a more successful launch than if I start making live posts now but Ill never get around to actually posting anything if I continue on this path.
New Pattern: If I expand my knowledge on site design while simultaneously practicing my content creation actively, then I can feed two birds with one hand.

Old Pattern: No one will ever want to advertise on my site if I use the free theme I have currently.
New Pattern: If I learn to design a site to meet my needs, then naturally all of my needs will be met with abundance and ease.

Old Pattern: All of my projects that are worthy of being posted online should go on my main website, EducateKate.com, why would I spend my time on other separate posts for a different website?
New Pattern:  Everything is connected. I am learning and applying knowledge about website design, social media marketing, online content creation, networking, advertising & getting paid to advertise and all of this could be documented and shared with the world on this separate yet related website.

Old Pattern:HTML, CSS, and all of the other intricacies of Web Design are too difficult and time consuming for me to really delve into.
New Pattern:I am intelligent, I am motivated, and I am dedicated to learning, growing, and creating my own beautiful reality. I can do whatever I choose.

How I Can Make Positive Changes In My Life

  • Publish posts 2-3x per week about what I am learning
  • Be courageous enough to share my knowledge and to make mistakes along the way
  • Experiment with different styles of writing and methods of presenting information
  • Cultivate an active audience
  • Observe and make appropriate changes that will help to improve the quality of my content

Areas of Focus

  • How to build a website
  • Quality content creation for blogging
  • Social media marketing & networking
  • Advertising & getting paid for hosting advertisements
  • Writing & hosting guest posts
  • Theme customization & creation
  • HTML & CSS
  • Making a business out of blogging
  • Living a happy livelihood

First 3 Decisions When Creating a Website

1. What is the purpose of your website? Will this site be primarily a blog, have a blog as one feature among many, or will it be a static website?

  • If your purpose is to share your life story and photos with the world one day at a time, then chances are it’s more appropriate for you to focus on blogging.
  • If you have a business with products for sale and static information about your company, then a simple website should suffice.
  • However, if you are an artist who wants to display a portfolio, share contact information, and show your audience/customers your updates and behind the scenes footage of your work on a weekly basis, then a multifunctional site is what you’ll need.

2. Are you willing to pay a fee to secure your custom domain name with whatever ending you choose? (For example, yoursitename.com, .net, .me, etc.) Or would you rather use a free service that provides you with a partially predetermined address? (For example, yoursitename.wordpress.com or yoursitename.blogspot.com)

There are many companies out there that offer the service of selling domain names. Often times you can even host your domain name with the same site and even use their site building platform too. Or you can choose to buy your domain from one service, host with another, and build your site on a different platform all separately.

A few examples of domain name services are:

Top 5 Domain Name Services to work with, be sure to check out this article on LifeHacker to get the details.

Free services also exist, but they almost always tack on their name to the end of your web address. As you can see on this site, I chose to go with a free domain name just to play around without feeling pressured into making this site worth any money. It’s free and it helps bring me a sense of relief in this adventure.

Here are a few options for free domain, hosting, & platform services combined:

All of these options offer the ability to upgrade to a paid premium service. So if you want to get started for free and eventually expand your options of customization then this might be an appropriate route for you.

3. What will your website be about? Who will be your target audience or niche? Which 1-5 keywords can you use to reach them?

If you want to attract active readers, it’s important to understand what they will want to read as well as what you will enjoy writing. Find a happy balance.

Having a focus of your site is important. Choosing 1-4 topics that you will focus on is helpful to guide the content creation process of your site. It can be easy to start a site that encompasses all aspects of your life, but it can also be difficult to keep up with that much ambiguity.

Choose your keywords that will bring readers to your site. Examples for this site include: web design, social media marketing, theme customization, content creation. Or maybe your focus is more on dance, choreography, & recitals. Choose the most appropriate keywords for your site and stick with them.

Take one step at a time with a positive mindset and a realistic approach. Allow yourself the opportunity to learn and to grow but don’t stop yourself from actually creating a life that you love. Or in this case, a website that you love.

 

Time To Reflect:

What was your biggest obstacle when starting up your website and what changes helped you push through it?