Where to Start When Building Your Own Website
Not all start-up companies have the budget to hire a web designer right away, I get that, that is why I want to give you a few tips to create your own website for your business. Building your own website doesn't have to be a total headache, if you want to create a simple website or straight forward eCommerce site using a Content Management System (CMS) is the best way to do it. There are a lot of different CMSs available, some are free, some have fees, some are self-hosted and some are not. In this blog post I will list some of the ones I have used and like, and then hopefully you will be able to choose the one that is best for you and your company.
Squarespace is a fully hosted website building tool that allows you to use simple and easy-to-use templates to build your website. They provide you with a domain name when signing up and have 24/7 customer support. The price starts at around $8 a month and goes up from there. If you already have a domain name purchased they can help you point your domain server to your squarespace site. Squarespace does not offer an email address with your domain for example firstname.lastname@example.org, if you want a custom email you will need to set it up through Google Apps and it costs around $5 per month. If you plan on blogging for you business Squarespace also provides a blogging platform within the same admin area that you would edit your website with, having your blog connected to your website also helps with your Search Engine Optimization.
I like Squarespace because the templates are designed really well, very simple and clean, it offers eCommerce, has a built in blog platform and their customer service representatives are always very helpful and fast to respond. One downside can be the limited number of templates to choose from and for a beginner it can be hard to customize the templates to make your business standout from others.
GoDaddy offers many of the features you might need in order to get a website up and running, for the purpose of this blog we will focus only the website builder package, the business package they offer costs around $9 per month (less if you buy a year at a time) and gives you access to 300 pre-built templates, 5 personalized email addresses and 10 GB of storage. The templates are basic and easy to navigate for a beginner. I would recommend GoDaddy for a company that needs a simple website with limited pages or features.
Let me start by letting you know there are two different types of WordPress, one is WordPress.org and the other is WordPress.com. Both are website building and blogging software but the two main differences are, that with Wordpress.com your website is hosted on their servers, and with WordPress.org you need to find your own host like GoDaddy or BlueHost. There are pros and cons to both versions, I prefer WordPress.org because it gives you more freedom to customize your website and offers a lot of plugins that help you add design features to your site. Fortunately GoDaddy offers a hosting package that also comes with easy installation.
As I said before, I like WordPress.org because it has nearly unlimited features, plugins and design elements you can add, it lets you manage a small personal blog or a mulit-page commercial site and is advertisement free, but it can be overwhelming for users that do not feel comfortable navigating a small amount of code or do not need a lot of bells and whistles.
Over all, I believe Squarespace templates are the most esthetically pleasing while GoDaddy's business package is great because it comes with email and hundreds of templates. WordPress has so many features and the sky is the limit for what you want your site to look like, yet it can be a little overwhelming for users that are not comfortable with the software.
I hope one of these three options will work for you and your business when it comes times to build your website, If you still feel like you need help, don't have the time to set up your website on your own or would like to discuss this topic further, please contact me.