Every attorney running his/her own practice knows that having a web site is a necessity. But how does one go about establishing a core web presence? For someone who has never created a web site, it can be daunting to gather and compare the options.
Fortunately, there are many free options. Categories of free web site builders range from bare-bones virtual note generators to fully-featured content management systems. So why not explore a few examples of all of them? The first category I will start with are the virtual sticky-note generators. They offer very little functionality but will let you get your feet wet to see just how easy it can be to make a simple web page.
To prove to yourself or your parents or anyone else that you can truly create the simplest web page in a minute or less, simply go to http://textur.co and type in a short message. Hit the “share” button, then choose to randomly change the font or the background, and hit “publish”. It will return a web page and you can pass around the URL on the page to show off your instant phrasing prowess.
Ready to make a web page that’s looks like a longer blog post, but is still just as quick to make? Go to http://www.blogmask.com/ and click “start writing”. On the next page just make up a title, write some text, make up a password, and click “save post”. You’ll get a web page that people can even reply to with their own page! With this site you now have the ability to cut-and-paste an article and turn it into a web site in seconds.
Is there a really compelling practical purpose for making web sites like these that you’ll use every day in your practice? Probably not. Would you use these services as your main web site? Definitely not. But these sites show that anyone can have their own web site in a minute. Be warned, the custom web site address you get through these sites have a lot of random letters and numbers you’ll never remember. So if you’re going to use them, just paste the web site link in an e-mail or tweet rather than try to spell it out to someone orally.
You’ve transformed a few plain text messages into web sites, albeit with forgettable URL’s. You’ve gotten your initial sense of accomplishment and you’re ready to keep chugging. But maybe you’re thinking that if you could make these types of instant pages just a little prettier, you could at least use them as little uniquely virtual thank-you notes or little mini greeting cards, right? Let’s check out a few of these services before we move on. They’re like sticky notes on steroids.
Sites like http://en.linoit.com aim to not only let you make a virtual post-it note, but they give you a virtual cork board to play with. Your note can be text, but can also be a picture or video from somewhere else on the internet. Arrange your notes on the board and share your instant internet collage with the world.
How about we take this concept even a little further, a little more professional even, and let you make sticky notes that are actually PDF’s or Word docs? Just go to http://padlet.com, click “create a padlet”, and then double-click anywhere on the wall. As usual, you can type a title and text for your note and drag ‘em around. But you can also click on icons within your new note to upload all kinds of files and links. Your cute sticky notes could actually be links to your latest press releases, or a password-protected collection of more private documents. And you know you’ve always wanted to be a guru of legal scrapbooking.
You’ve now seen that it’s incredibly easy to saunter into the wading pool of web page creation. To start our transition from virtual note-boards to more standard-looking sites, head over to http://tackk.com. Here you can make a note module with a title, text, and a picture. Sounds familiar again, right? Only now, the note takes up most of the browser screen, just like a blog does. And people can leave comments right below the note, and do all that social media jazz of following the author and liking the page. Now that your little note is yearning to be a grown web site, you’re ready to start showing and sharing the internet through content curation services in our next section. Then you will be ready to integrate lots of cool content in the web sites you’ll create after that. For now, it’s enough that you’re the fastest amateur attorney webmaster in the west!