Developing your domain names into real online brands can seem like a daunting process. Whether you know HTML, CSS, and PHP, or if you’re a Photoshop wizard it’s often rare that you’ll be good at both. Most of the people that I know who are awesome developers, aren’t quite the same people I would consider to be stellar graphic artists. The same is true of graphic artists who may be able to push pixels around blindfolded but often aren’t big code monkeys. In the Domain Investing community there’s a good chance that as an investor you’re neither a HTML wizard or a Photoshop guru. This makes the process even more intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.
So I thought I would share three easy ways to get started with development, one for each type of person. Below I’ve provided three quick ways to get started with development, broken-down by the skill-set that you already have. Let’s face it, we’re all different and the skills we have can all be applied in different ways when it comes to development. The goal of this post is to not to provide the most robust and complete path to development, but instead an easy way to get started and give yourself a bit of an edge based on your own skills. Ready to rock? Find the category you fall-into below and read on!
If you’re an HTML wizard then building a website itself isn’t a challenge for you. That being said, building a site from scratch is not the fastest way to get started with development. One of the best ways to fast-track the entire development process if you already know HTML is to use a template. It’s important to understand that using a template doesn’t mean picking a boring or unsophisticated design, the sky is the limit and the great thing is, templates often don’t cost more than $20.
When it comes to website templates my top choice is ThemeForest. ThemeForest boats a library of over 4,000 themes and there are some truly phenomenal-looking designs that are ready to go. HTML/CSS knowledge is necessary to customize these themes and populate them with content, but for an HTML wizard this is a walk in the park. The great thing is all the code is already written for you, bugs worked-out, and in many cases, professional designers are used to provide top-notch graphics.
As a graphic artist there’s a good chance that you eat, sleep, and breathe Adobe Photoshop. While you can design a beautiful-looking site in Photoshop, there’s a good chance you don’t know how to turn that beautiful graphical design, into HTML code that a browser can read. Yes – you can try playing-around with Photoshop’s HTML export functionality but the results are often far from stunning and browser compatibility can be a big issue.
Luckily there are services out there that can your graphic representation of the site and turn it into well-written HTML and CSS. By using layers in Photoshop you can even give direction as to which elements you want to stand on their own which makes it easy to swap-out specific graphics or site elements in the future. One of my favorite solutions for turning Photoshop files into HTML is PSD2HTML.com. Not only can this service create well-coded sites from your Photoshop designs, they can do it quickly and at a fraction of the cost that you’d pay a developer. Also with PSD2HTML I also recommend W3-MarkUp.com and XHTMLChop.com.
As a domain name investor there’s a good chance you have some great domains that would make most developers and graphic artists drool. However having great domain names doesn’t mean you’re an amazing graphic artist or coding guru. On top of that you also probably want to have direct control of your site without having to learn HTML. This is where I think WordPress can be one of the best platforms to get started with.
Absolutely anyone can install WordPress (without writing a single line of code) and thanks to an incredible theme and plugin community it’s easy to build a nice-looking, highly functional site. To get started with WordPress I highly recommend you read my article on WordPress 101 which will give you absolutely everything you need to get started!