In the digital age, having a website is like having your own slice of the internet pie. I refer to is as having ‘digital real estate’ It’s where people find you online, learn about your business, and connect with your brand. People are so used to ‘doing the Google’ now that they expect to find a business online – it makes the business seem more legit!
Can you build your own website? Yes, you can. In the same way as you can write your own marketing plan (assuming you aren’t a marketer) or do your own accounts (assuming you’re not an accountant). If you just want to get your place in the digital landscape and want to keep it simple then it’s do-able. But like most things in life, you may want to bring in an expert to get the best start for you online presence.
Hosting and Domain Services:
First things first – you need to get a domain names. This is like the digital address of the website You can buy them from lots of dmaon name hosting platforms and many DIY website platforms include these services, saving you the hassle of choosing one. But beware of price increases in subsequent years when they are bundled together. I prefer to keep domain name and website hosting separate.
Website builders like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace offer a good starting point if you aren’t a techie bod. They’re super user-friendly, and you don’t need to know a line of code. They are drag and drop builders which are pretty easy to get to grips with. The downside is that they are a little ‘cookie’cutter’, with many websites liking very similar, and you can outgrow them as your business grows. They are also a little like leasing your website – you are bound by their usage policies and pricing structures and can’t easily move providers.
Content Management Systems (CMS):
Heard of WordPress? It’s the king of CMS. It’s like the Swiss Army knife of website creation. It’s a very popular and a third of all websites are built on WordPress – there’s also a massive user community out there with loads of help and support. Oh and it’s free. With tons of themes and plugins, you can mold it into anything you want, from a blog to a full-fledged e-commerce site. Premium builders are easy-peasy drag and drop builder with loads on included functionality – Divi is the one I use on my websites and that means that clients can easily update their website themselves. Because WordPress is a bit like Lego, you can start small and your website can easily grow when you business grows. It’s also referred to as ‘self-hosted’ which means you completely own your website. Have a read of my blog Building Websites That Grow With Your Business
If you’re setting up shop online, Shopify and WooCommerce (for WordPress) are your go-tos. They come with all the bells and whistles you need for selling products online. They both integrate well with payment gateways and social media shops, such as Facebook and Instagram. WooCommerce is free and there are numerous plugins that can build the most comples of shops.
Learn as You Go:
Don’t know the difference between HTML and CSS? No worries! Online resources like Codecademy and Udemy offer courses for all levels. If you’re bamboozled by the techie lingo then check out my From CSS to SEO guide.
Once your site is up, keep an eye on how it’s doing with tools like Google Analytics. You’ll get insights into your site’s performance and user behaviour, helping you fine-tune it over time. It’s useful to know where customer are leaving your website and where they are finding your website. There are also Tips to Speed Up Your Website here on my blog.
It can be a steep learning curve to build your own website. Some of the website builders do make it much easier now to get something good up and live. There are lots of resources to help you when you get stuck.
If you want a more professional start to your business website, it can certainly be worth bringing in a website designer to get your branding all tip-top and looking good on the website. I build Start Up websites which are great for start ups and entrepreneurs testing new ideas. They are beautiful yet functional single page websites built in WordPress with Divi, so not only can you continue to update them yourself, but they can easily grow when your business is ready to grow.
Building your own website can be a rewarding and low budget option. But if you’re finding that it’s creating digital stress for you then you might want to consider bringing in a website pro to turn the digital stress into website success. Many, like myself, can offer one off Zoom calls to get you over the tricky bits and flying again!
Have a read through my blog on Which Type of Website Should you Choose for more info on the pros and cons of the different options out there.