Hello cupcake, Lesley here!
I'm going to share with you how I put together my own DIY wedding website. For me, having a website was essential…we have so many guests coming from out of town (and out of country!) that we needed a place to provide people with travel info, maps, hotels, and the like. Rather than overwhelming the back of the printed invitations with all these details we decided to put together a simple site that would be a go-to place for our guests. There are lots of big-name wedding webpages that will allow you to make your own wedding site for free, but you're restricted by their designs and features. I wanted the creative control to design it myself, and that's why I used Blogger . I could design the site the way I wanted it, and it's FREE! Woot! The trick, however, was making the site look like a custom static webpage, and not like a typical blog. Here's the finished product:
There are other blogging sites that would work for this purpose too, like WordPress. However, I'm using Blogger as the example because I'm familiar with it. I have no experience with web design or HTML, but with a little trial and error I pulled together a cute little site that I'm super happy with! Here's how I got from boring blog to fancy finished product:
1. Sign up with Blogger and create your free blog. Choose a name that makes sense and is easy for people to remember, like fraserwedding.blogspot.com or justinandkrista.blogspot.com.
2. Use Blogger's Template Designer and choose a simple, minimal template. This will give you more room for customization since you're not stuck with someone else's (potentially tacky) design elements.
3. Continue customizing colors, layouts, and fonts with the Template Designer. In here you can change font sizes, colors, background image, and layout of your site. I chose to have a white background, black and grey text, with a darker grey accent text for links. This is a great place to feature your wedding colors to give your guests a feel of what's to come on your big day.
4. Find the Design tab to edit the page elements on your site. My site is quite simple, with just a header at the top; links to individual pages below that; a welcome message; a countdown clock, and an image of our save-the-date card. Blogger has lots of options – search for inspiration on other sites and choose what you like best! Blogger allows you to add new elements, remove ones you don't need, and customize them too.
5. Make a header for your site. If you don't have fancy photo editing software like Photoshop , there are free online options like Picnik . You can alternatively just have text at the top of your page to keep things simple. Just make it clear who you are and what your site is for.
6. Create your Pages. This is the “meat” of your site, where all the info is for your curious guests. Blogger's Pages are the BEST THING EVER! They allow you to create static “pages” that you can link to from your homepage. On my site there are pages for RSVP, TRAVEL, MAPS, MOTELS, REGISTRY, VENDORS, PHOTOS, and CONTACT. Blogger allows up to 10 pages, so think about what would be most helpful for your guests. To make a new page, go to the Posting tab and select “Edit Pages”. You can then choose to have your pages link across the top (like I have) or have them link in a sidebar.
7. See things you don't like? A little creative Googling will help! Blogger had some things I didn't want on my site, like a search bar across the top (called the NavBar), a link at the bottom of the post that said “No Posts Match Query”, and attributes to the template designer. Spend some time Googling how to remove these, and you'll find sites that will give you HTML code to change or remove them. Don't be intimidated by this! I promise, pretty lady, you can do it! In the Design tab, simply click on “Edit HTML” and either copy in the new code where you're instructed to, or delete part of the code that you're instructed to. (The “Find” option in your browser really helps here to find the specific bits of code you're looking for!) The nice thing here is that you can preview your changes, so if you've totally biffed up your blog you can “Clear Edits” and get things back to how they were. You might also want to save a copy of your template on your hard drive before you start messing with the HTML…again, if you totally biff it up, you can just upload the saved template and restore your original settings.
Good luck my dears! Jump in and have fun with it! Do you have any troubleshooting issues that you need help with? Or do you have specific questions that I haven't answered here? Leave 'em in the comments and I'll do my best to point you in the right direction.
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