Every business owner knows that having a website, even a simple one, is pretty much a requirement in the information age – that is no longer under debate. Even if you aren’t actually selling your products or services online, your website takes on the role of a constantly available business card and advertisement for your company. In the digital age, most new customers simply won’t find you or know how to contact you if you don’t have an online presence.
And just like you don’t need a recording studio to get noticed in the music business any longer – look at the ‘discovery’ of someone like Justin Bieber through YouTube for example – you don’t need a web development company to create a decent website. In fact, with the plethora of free website builders available to the public, it can be tricky to know which to choose! We suggest:
Ease to build – Weebly:
Weebly is a great platform to test out your skills, and decide if you have the confidence to take a website build on yourself. Starting off with a free program allows you to test run the simple drag and drop editor, and if you only need a simple website, and you don’t mind the tagline “Create a free website with Weebly” appearing at the very bottom of the page, there is in fact no reason you can’t just continue to use the free version! If you do want your own domain name and larger hosting capacity, the Weebly Pro basic plan costs just shy of $5 per month. This makes them our top recommendation for getting your feet wet or creating a very standard site with limited templates available.
Ease to scale – WordPress:
WordPress takes the ease of use of Weebly, and ratchets up your ability to customize your site to the extent that it is basically limited only by your imagination – or more accurately, coding ability. Yes, this will of course cost you more and take a lot more time, but if you want a really professional-looking site that you control yourself, and if you are more comfortable with learning and performing some coding on your own, the WordPress community is a fantastic tool, not just to build a website, but to build your skill set as well.
But you don’t have to do it alone
Many people find that they actually have a talent for building websites, and may even be inspired to take up web development as a rewarding hobby and even possibly a second income. But remember too that there is no shame in asking for help if you need it! If you are selling a large range of products in many different variations for example, building a really professional looking store front will probably require the help of a web developer. Likewise if you have highly interactive content such as a site where users can play casino games, or if you offer any kind of customization on product orders for instance, will probably require the assistance of a professional if you want a really great looking platform. Thankfully, these services don’t have to cost a fortune…
Where to find help:
The days of a web building monopoly are thankfully a thing of the past with the rise of freelancing websites such as Fiverr or Upwork. These sites allow you to see reviews given to freelancers for previous work and get a pretty solid idea of what the standard of work which you want done will cost you, and very often at a fraction of the cost of hiring someone through a development firm. You can post your project, specify exactly what you want done, and receive bids from freelancers to complete the work. Most sites will only charge you once you confirm that you are satisfied with the quality of the work as well, so there really isn’t much to lose!
If you’re just starting with a business website, we urge you to at least give it a go yourself. The sense of accomplishment and having learned something new will probably be well worth any initial discomfort. Be bold and plunge in, knowing that help is there if you do need it.