Content – I started Hammer Creek with fly tying in mind and built out features from there. Initially I wanted a place to showcase patterns and videos outside of YouTube. Honestly the blog, gear review and store weren’t planned initially. Before you start, outline how you want your site to look and the content you want to share. On more than one occasion I needed to rework pages because I didn’t plan appropriately. Here are some formats to consider:
- Blog or Website – Do you want a blog or a website? A blog can be one page to log your thoughts where a website contains multiple pages. Keep in mind every page you create requires upkeep and maintenance.
- Commentary – Some of my favorite sites pull interesting videos and articles from around the web and add commentary in addition to original content like MoldyChum and Chi Wulff.
- Fishing/Tying/Both – Do you want to focus on fishing, tying or both? Certainly plenty of ground to cover in either case, but fly tying is more specialized. A couple good fly tying sites to model are FrankenFly or Fly Fish Food.
- Journal – Several sites brilliantly describe fishing trips and experiences. Arizona Wanderings and Windknots & Tangled Lines come to mind as really good journal style websites (along with gear reviews etc.).
- How To – The content I like the most is educational and “how to’s.” The best example is Gink and Gasoline or Headhunters Fly Shop they provide fantastic information and tutorials. But you don’t need to be a guide to deliver this type of content.
The platform allows you to add everything from text, photos and YouTube videos with a simple drag and drop. Weebly integrates your other social sites for simple sharing. When you build your site they automatically optimize it for mobile viewing. Be sure to toggle between the views to make sure it formats correctly. One of my “re-works” was to improve the mobile aesthetics. If you want to dig a little deeper the custom HTML feature allows you to develop or grab custom code. It sounds more intimidating then it is, just Google “add ________ to my website” and you’ll find plenty of plug-ins.
I also recommend building keywords into your page descriptions. This helps search engines index your site so people can find it.
Also, think about the types of sites you like to read and incorporate those elements into your delivery. For example, I like frequency, whether that’s a post a day, or once a week. Do you like a lot of media? Short articles, long articles etc.
Analytics – I’m an analytics junkie so I like to know what content people read, how long they stay and how they found out about Hammer Creek. If that’s important to you I recommend incorporating Google Analytics into your pages. It isn’t as intuitive as the rest of the build process, but Google and Weebly provide helpful instructions.