I think one of the first and biggest concerns for any new business is setting up their website. I have heard of people paying designers thousands of dollars to produce a website they don’t like. I have seen websites that have been built by the neighbour’s teenager which were fancy but the grammar was terrible and I myself attempted to construct my own site because I had taken some courses and with my budget I had to do it on the cheap. Hey something was better than nothing, right? Wrong! You only get one chance to make a first impression and if your website is... shall we say lacking then chances are you may be losing potential business.
Now if you are looking at this you may notice that my site does not look all that bad for being a DIY project. All I have to say is Wix and Weebly. If you are interested in creating your own website but your techie skills are limited then you definitely have to check these guys out!
Both sites are free to sign up and have hundreds of great templates to choose from if you don’t want to do everything from scratch. They will help you obtain your domain name and support your site or they will allow you to use an existing domain name if you already have one. They will provide photos if you don’t have any and they allow you to set up links and connections like Facebook and Twitter accounts. Blogs, You Tube videos, special effects, google maps and shopping carts... All these options in a handy tool box that you essentially click and drag onto your pages. SUPER EASY!!!
They will even help you with your SEO – Search Engine Optimization. (A service for which I seem to be getting bombarded with in my junk mail but that’s another story.) Best of all you can update your site at any time so you don’t need to wait 2 weeks for your “designer” to get around to it.
What’s the catch? There are some slight differences depending on your circumstances and what you want your website to do exactly. Wix carries more of the flashier special effects and more variety in the templates. Weebly is a little more basic but allowed me to produce my site with my own domain name for free. Yes FREE!!! (Wix will also publish your site for free but only if you don’t have your own domain name already. The address will end up looking something like www.wix.com/YourCompanyName ) Both offer upgraded services and the pricing is about the same but even then, I think spending around $5/month for a fantastic site is more than reasonable.
My advice when setting up your site:
1. Figure out what you want your Domain Name to be by trying to type in the address in your Browser. If it’s taken either a site will come up or it will say that it’s under construction. If the name is available it will say that the page is not found.
2. On paper, map out the types of web pages you want. Ex) Home Page, Contact Page, Portfolio Page and decide what you would like to display on these pages. Even if you are using a template it will help you narrow down your choices when you are clear on what you want to say.
3. Create and PROOF text that you want to appear on the site ahead of time. Things like a company tag line, contact info, service information, personnel bios, company profile...ect. It’s a lot easier to cut and paste onto a web page then trying to come up with it on the fly.
4. Have your images ready and saved into a central folder. Things like your company logo, background photos and portfolio images. Again so much easier to select for your site if you know where they are and that they’ve been edited properly beforehand.
Good luck and happy website designing!