If you want to create a successful business online then at some point you will need some form of website. Be it a “mini one page site” to sell things or to capture people’s details (the latter is called a squeeze page) or a full blown website. If a full blown website, you could have an information site, a “shop front” site or an e-commerce site (where you sell products), or indeed a bit of a mixture.
For any type of website you need to be able to do three things to get it live:
“¢Design and build the site, or get someone to do it for you;
“¢Get a domain name for it;
“¢Have it hosted so that it appears on the internet.
You can design it yourself from scratch, or use a template driven site builder, or indeed get someone to create one for you if your budget allows.
There are various tools out there that enable you to build your own website, but rather than critique them all, I’ve kept it simply to three levels of pricing and told you of tools that I know. That doesn’t necessarily make them right for you, but it should give you a starting point and some food for thought.
At the completely free end is WordPress, among others. This blog is created within WordPress, but it can equally be used to create a full site and you really wouldn’t notice that it was a WordPress site!
My main site www.MerrieMarketing.com is professionally designed using Serif. But you can use Serif, or similar tools, to build your site and publish it to the web. I actually do all my own copy, create new pages etc on my site using Serif, and find it very easy to do. These kind of “build your own” software packages are generally not very expensive, coming in at less than Â£100. Check out what help is available if you get stuck, and need to ask someone “how do I??”. The good packages should give you access to a forum of other users.
At the other end of scale is a full tutorial and site building “˜experience’ such as Site Built It (SBI). I used SBI for the very first site I built and learn all the basics of search engine optomisation, how to upload images and videos, how to get the site indexed by the search engines, how to structure a site properly and so on.
They also have their own keyword research tool which is brilliant. They have a guided step by step tutorial programme and a very helpful and supportive forum. SBI is pricey, at $299 a year, but worth using if you’re new to building sites and can’t stretch to a designer. You can check them out here.
Before you go rushing ahead though, you need to sit down with paper and pen (I always favour the non technical route when I’m thinking!) and decide what you want your site to do for you, why you need one, and roughly what it’s going to look at. This should help you decide which route you’re going to create one.
If you intend to build a serious business that charges serious fees, then your site needs to look the part. And for that reason my preference would always be to pay a professional to do it. Having a professional web designer create your site will give it that professional edge that you want for your business. And next week I will go into how to do that in a bit more detail!
Have a great week!