Now that you know you need a website for your business you’re chomping at the bit to get started on creating it--right?
My recommendation is that you hold your horses!!! I am one of those fools who rushes in and has regrets later (and before you do too much tut-tutting I just want to point out that fools like me have strengths too, we get shit done). I desperately want to be one of those people who restrains themselves while they perfect every part of their plans (I’m improving, honestly) but I’m not, and I did exactly what I’m advising you not to do. I grabbed the first website-builder platform I found on google search, wrote some very hurried and poorly planned copy and boom, my website was online. So my website situation was a bit like a speed-dating relationship and it’s working out okay, but I probably could have done better if I’m honest.
So how do you decide between building your own website or getting a Web Developer to build it for you?
One of the major determinants of this will be financial. If you have bucket-loads of money and you can be as free with it as confetti then hire the best Web Developer possible and get yourself the most beautiful and functional website that you can. I’m not trying to throw shade at Web Developers here by the way, you can get a huge range of prices and specialties among web-development professionals who will deliver what you need for your business. I would definitely employ the services of a graphic designer and web developer if my business required it.
The more complex needs your business has the more likely it is that you’re going to need a website designer to build your website for you.
You should start by thinking about what sort of website you need, for instance, do you need a shop, are you wanting to automate some processes like invoicing etc? Knowing what your needs are as well as your future plans will help you narrow down your options.
Some things to consider when you are choosing a Web Designer are:
If you’ve decided that you can, or have to, build your website yourself then you have a plethora of options to choose from for your website builder.
If you want to make a measured decision to select the best platform for your needs and not the speed-dating style selection I made then I suggest doing your research. There are heaps of articles with information out there about the pro’s and con’s of different platforms. I’ve selected this article to share with you because it ranks the most popular ones and tells you everything you need to know about what sort of website they’re appropriate for.
You will find that Wordpress is the most popular web-building platform and often used by developers.
The drawback with this, and the thing that made me avoid it, is that it takes a bit more technical nouse to build on this platform (though I think this is improving all the time) but ultimately it is probably worth pushing through the pain and doing it anyway. I didn’t, but hindsight being 20/20 and all that, I would totally choose it now.
I chose Weebly for mine which ranks at number seven on the Best Website Builder in 2019 chart. And, like I said before--it’s okay. It is easy to use with drag and drop functionality, has a good selection of templates and I have had minimal problems trying to achieve what I want on there. The downside is that it can be a little restrictive and apparently can be a bit problematic with SEO (if you don’t know what that is, don’t worry, I’ll write a blog about it in the future--you're welcome).
Where do you start?
Well, regardless of whether you’re building your own website or employing an agency or web developer you will still will need to gather some resources. I did a poor job of this initially but once again a small amount of getting yourself organised ahead of time will pay big dividends in the end.
You can build your own website with beautiful professional looking logos
I had a graphic designer create my logo and when I replaced the absolutely shit one I had initially made with the beautiful one the designer made I felt so much more pride and legitimacy in my business. If you’re strapped for cash and you can only afford a small amount of outsourcing then I’d recommend spending it there.
You’re going to need some high-quality photos
Do not use shit photos on your website. We’re not arguing about this, just don’t do it. If you don’t want to employ the services of a photographer to create a good selection of photos for you then at least get some high-quality stock photos online. I can’t remember where the one on my home-page came from but in general I use Unsplash for their free photo library.
You’re going to need a domain name too
That's the www.yournamehere.co.nz address, the address of your website so choose wisely. This article will tell you everything you need to know about selecting a good web host where you'll be able to buy your domain name and host your website. It's sort of like choosing a theme for a party and then a place to host your party.
What will you write on your website?
How will you tell your customers what you do? How will you make it sound interesting? This is where you need to really juice yourself for every drop of creative writing /marketing expertise that you’ve got. Here’s some help to get you on your way by way of another article not written by me. If you’d like to have a fairy godmother turn-up and take the pain out of writing your boring and ineffective web content then you should:
Hire a top-notch copywriter who knows a thing or two about writing web content.
I know of a great one--it’s me. Contact me here to get started. Tell your friends. Follow me on Facebook here, or keep an eye out for the next handy blog so that you can learn all the tips and tricks to DIY it!
Have you started thinking that websites are a bit of an old-fashioned way to do business? Here's why you need a website more than anything. . .
You’ve started your business and you’re set-up on Instagram and Facebook and you’ve got a growing number of followers--awesome! So far you’ve managed to conduct your business via social media, you’ve got an engaged audience who are buying your services, and you can’t see any reason why you’d need a website (congratulations by the way). You can use Facebook and Instagram Ads to boost posts and do advertising so it’s all good right? Well, maybe…
But, what happens if you accidentally violate Facebook’s terms and conditions and before you know it your page is deleted? Now you’re in cyber solitary confinement and you are not considered innocent till proven guilty, you are guilty, guilty, guilty and not allowed to have your Facebook business page back. No one will hear your cyber screams because you have disappeared into hot cyber air and your followers are just carrying on liking and commenting on other business pages and maybe even buying their services. What a shame that you didn’t have a website with a blog and an email sign-up form so that you could still write to your business family.
It might seem like I’m being dramatic, I can be pretty dramatic, but this is actually a genuine problem. Just google “why did my facebook page get deleted” and prepare yourself for the equivalent of a business horror show. This handy article might help you avoid getting your page deleted and offers some advice about what to do if you do find yourself wearing Facebook’s cloak of invisibility. I don’t want to double-down on scaring you into realising that you can’t rely on just Facebook to run your business from, but I’m going to, here’s another article that explains some of the ways that Facebook may end up deleting your business page and maybe even pages that haven’t made any violations yet just incase they might do so.
I’ve made my point haven’t I?
There are a ton of reasons why you really should have a business website, even if it is only a homepage with some contact details. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here and regurgitate all the reasons myself when there is actually hundreds of articles out there that explain it all perfectly well. So I’ll just direct you to a good one and honestly if you need more information than what this excellent article provides, you probably should level-up and stop reading my blog because it is not going to satisfy your hunger! Here you will find out everything you need to know, including what you need to think about before you start building your website, what things can really make a bad impression, and how your website should be the anchor for your marketing.
Here’s the takeaway message:
You should have a website for your business if you want to be in control of your online presence.
If you’d like me to walk you through the process of getting your website set-up and doing what it needs to then just keep an eye out for these handy blog posts where I’ll share mine and other experts opinions.
When I started You Have My Word (three years ago) I very hurriedly put a website together. I put very little time into it because sometimes I take some very poorly thought out actions.My website has changed over the years to be a little better each time but tbh, it's actually pretty shit.I always intend to overhaul it 'when I get some spare time' but that just never ends up happening.
The truth is that I don't get much work through my website and I really only have it so that people can look me up online if they want to. But, I have written a lot of web content for clients over the years and I carry-out web audits for people to identify strengths and weaknesses in their websites. So, it's about time for me to practice what I preach.
Over the next little while I'll be sharing with you all the tips and tricks for making sure your website is in top notch form and doing the work it should be doing. I know you're all so excited, right?
If you want to see how shameful my website is right now then pop on over to www.youhavemyword.nz and start tut-tutting.
P.S. The picture above is nothing like how my work-space looks or will ever look. It's just a pretty stock photo I grabbed from Unsplash
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