Happy Mitten Games approached Club Fantasci about sharing guest posts and of course we are happy to do so because we are big fans of Happy Mitten Games! Thank you to the Happy Mittens crew for their support and participation with Club Fantasci! Without further ado….. Jeff Large!

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It’s an awesome time to be a tabletop gamer. The quality of components and game play as well as quantity of great games continues to grow. However, not all areas of the industry are following suit.

 

Many publishers, designer blogs, review sites, and others have poorly designed and hard to navigate websites. Even our site, Happy Mitten Games needs some significant work after being live for a little over 2 years. With the amount of options that exist, you no longer need to be a techie or codemonkey to create a stylish and user-friendly website. Consider some of the following options:

 

WordPress- Both WordPress.com and WordPress.org have a variety of free and affordable options for creating beautiful websites.

 

Squarespace – If actor Jeff Bridges can build a website, so can you. At the very least, it’s worth heading over to the Squarespace to see the “Watch Jeff build his site” video. Marketing genius…

 

Tumblr – Despite the mass exodus (see here and here) from Tumblr after Yahoo!’s acquisition, the platform still has relevance and decent features depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.

 

Those are just the tip of the iceberg. Plenty of other options exist.

 

I understand the importance of a website to a business as I recently went full-time with my creative design company, Come Alive Creative late last year. While many examples exist, I’m a huge fan of the WordPress platform. I like WordPress the most because of its low barrier to entry for the average user but incredible expandability with all of the available themes, plugins, and code.

 

Are you about to start a new site or need to update an existing one? Consider the the following points:

 

Choose a name. This can be one of the hardest steps in the entire process. One tool I use to help find and choose available names is Knowem.com. Knowem lets you quickly search across tons of platforms to see where your name is available.

 

Purchase a domain. If you’re paying more than $15 a year for a domain name, you’re doing it wrong. I’ve personally used 1and1.com for over 10 years because of the affordable rates and inclusion of features like domain forwarding and private registration. However, make sure NOT to buy into any of their extra services. It’s not worth it.

 

Buy hosting space. Think of hosting space like the foundation of where your website actually lives on the web. I like self-hosted sites because of the increased control and customizability you have. For this I would use, Siteground. I used to have Bluehost, which experienced frequent downtimes and had horrible customer service support. After over a year with Siteground, I’ve experienced zero downtime on any of my several websites.

 

Install WordPress. Siteground, like many hosting spaces, offers an easy one-click WordPress installation. As mentioned, WordPress is accessible, expandable, and many learning opportunities exist. One of my favorites is OS Training. They offer excellent blogs and video tutorials on open source software like WordPress. I just finished a beginners guide to podcasting for them and I’m working on an Audacity video series. If you go to my company’s landing page, you can get a 1 month membership for free.

 

It’s easy to complain about problems. Let’s do something to improve it instead. As our board games continue to get better, let’s make sure our websites continue to do the same.

 

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About the author: Jeff is ⅓ of Happy Mitten Games and owner of Come Alive Creative. For more resources on the web, go to  https://comealivecreative.com/start/. To learn more about Jeff, go to his personal site- http://www.jefflarge.com/ or find him on twitter @realjefflarge.

Come Alive Creative