Last week I put out the challenge to members of the military and law enforcement officers to find a way to gain similar experience to insurgents or criminals in order to begin thinking like them.  I’ve had some feedback from a few readers who are interested in starting a webpage to create their own grassroots movement, and there have been others who want to start an online retail business so they can better understand how drug networks work.  The question has come up though, where do I begin?

Let’s start with the platform you need to reach viewers – the website.  I recommend using WordPress because it is what I used when I knew less than nothing about setting up, designing, or running a webpage.  WordPress takes a lot of the complexity out of the process and lets you learn while adding in the site’s content.

The reason I’d recommend WordPress is also because it is simple enough where you can get your first couple posts up on the site and then go back and begin tweaking the details on the site to make it look and function exactly the way you want it to.  This lets you begin making real progress by adding content (so people will have something to read once they find your site), while getting more and more comfortable with the different features.

Here are a few other reasons why I recommend WordPress:

–       It’s free.  Your web address will have (.wordpress.com) at the end, but you can start getting posts up, learning about WordPress, and refining your vision of the site in minutes.

–       You can truly tailor the layout to match the vision you have in your head, as it is completely adjustable. You can choose from a huge library of free themes to get your website to look just the way you want.  This lets you customize things like the text in the header or a header logo without having to adjust any CSS.  If you don’t know what CSS is, this is why you go with WordPress, because you don’t have to.

–       Did I mention it’s free?  If you want to remove the (.wordpress.com) part of the address, you can easily buy a domain name and host your website through a service like GoDaddy.  GoDaddy.com is setup to run WordPress-backed websites so nothing will change for you as the site administrator.  If you do start your blog on the free site, moving the content (themes, posts, pages, logos, menu bars, etc.) is extremely easy.  All of your work can be downloaded from the free site, so nothing will be lost as you upgrade your site.

–       If removing the (.wordpress.com) becomes challenging, WordPress has a very extensive support forum to see how people solved similar problems to yours.  When I moved the site from combatprofiling.wordpress.com to combatprofiling.com, the forum spelled it out for me in extremely plain English.  Because I started with very little knowledge of how to run a site, the support forum is probably the only reason I was able to successfully do it.

–       WordPress has plugins for just about everything you could want to add to your site.  Plugins are the little things you can add to your site that let you continually add the specific features you are after.  Want to add your latest tweets to your site?  There’s a plugin for that.  Want to add a custom contact form to a page? There’s a plugin for that too.  Want to link to your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and every other social media account you have? They’ve got that as well. Most of them are also free.

–       If you are looking to expand your audience, you can add a WordPress application into your LinkedIn page to show your most recent posts.  This can help maximize how people find and research you by consolidating all of your resources in one location.

–       If companies like the New York Times, CNN, EBay, and General Motors use WordPress, shouldn’t you at least take a look?

If you have specific questions that you need answered in order to get off the ground, let me know.  Leave a comment here and I will make sure I find someone with the experience needed to answer your questions.