CREATING A WEBSITE - DO IT YOURSELF OR HIRING A WEB DEVELOPER
Creating a website for your business is easier than ever. Whether you use do-it-yourself tools or pay to have a web designer to build your website, these tips will help.
how to create a business website
There are a lot of options on how to create a business website. Which you choose depends on your needs and your budget. You can build a simple small business website yourself in a matter of hours, but for more complex sites or online stores, you might need to spend more time and money. Websites with a lot of functions and features might require a web designer (and maybe a web developer) to get correct, which will typically cost more than using DIY tools or something like WordPress.
The good news is that building a quality and professional website is easier than ever, and even website builder tools can give you the professional designs and functionality that only pros could provide five years ago.
Before you decide which path you want to go down for creating your website, take the time to understand the web development process. Then, ask yourself a few questions. Start with these three:
What do you want your website to do? Does it need to have a few pages and look nice, or do you need to sell something, schedule appointments, etc?
Do you want to be able to easily update things yourself in the future, or pay someone to do them?
What is your budget? Do you want to spend nothing now and then $15 per month, or $5,000 now and more when you need changes?
Then, consider the answers to these additional website requirements questions before deciding on the best way to get your website set up.
Do-it-yourself tools are a great way to create a free website that meshes well with your business and brand image. You can find free website builders with basic options, or you can pay premium prices for unlimited customization and advanced SEO, marketing, and eCommerce tools.
Website builder pricing varies depends on the tool you choose and which of their plans you want. While a free website builder may seem tempting, you could end up with too many restrictions and feel that you’re forced to start paying monthly.
While do-it-yourself website builders offer a wide variety of choices, most DIY users are relative beginners looking for easy, low-cost, and low-maintenance web designs.
Benefits of DIY:
Cost-effective depending on the type of business website you need.
Built-in website host.
Increased website security.
Wide range of easy-to-use templates and drag-and-drop features.
You can test the services out with the free versions, and then upgrade if you like them.
Downsides of DIY:
Limited customization depending on the plan you choose.
You must build a brand-new website if you change from one company to the next.
Free plans typically come with stipulations and limits.
Customer support is limited, depending on your plan.
Wix offers powerful website templates that can be used as is, or fully customized to meet your needs. Wix offers a variety of advanced features like a blog or eCommerce store. You have complete control of how your website looks and what you include on each page. You can also edit your website’s mobile view so that you can better optimize the site for smartphone and tablet browsers. Wix provides SEO guidance to help your website rank higher in search engines, and your entire website is built through the most effortless drag-and-drop interface available. The Wix website builder pricing starts at $0 for the basic plan and then moves between $17 a month and $28 a month, depending on the type of business website you need to build.
Weebly is an easy to use website builder that offers a variety of themes and templates to match your needs. As Weebly advertises, you can “give your business credibility [and] make it easy for customers to find you.” Weebly provides options for both service-oriented small businesses and eCommerce stores that use Square to take payments. You don’t need coding skills to create a website on Weebly, and the built-in tools maximize your customization. You can build a simple and professional business website on Weebly in just an hour or two. Weebly starts at $6 a month (billed annually) and goes as high as $25 a month for Weebly Performance eCommerce stores.
If your small business is centered around eCommerce and selling physical goods, Shopify is an excellent source to build a business website. Shopify allows users to create online stores that are fully customizable. The site offers over 70 pre-designed themes, or you can create a custom theme to match your eCommerce store. If you’re not sure how to build the website that you want, you can connect with a Shopify web designer to get started. Shopify comes with a 90-day free trial and then costs between $29 a month and $299 a month, depending on the package you choose. There is no free option. Shopify charges 30 cents per transaction and takes a varying percentage of each sale depending on whether you use their credit card processing or you own merchant account. Using Shopify’s credit card processing option avoids the need to set up your own merchant account if you don’t have one.
You’ve probably heard of WordPress, but you might not know that the company offers a DIY web-based tool at WordPress.com. This is very different from the WordPress publishing platform that is used by millions and requires more technical know-how.
WordPress.com offers hundreds of templates (some free, some paid) and is accessible for beginners to use. To get the most out of your new website, you’ll want to move to a paid plan. If you’re looking for a huge library of templates, a simple interface and easy-to-use tools, WordPress.com is an excellent choice. There is a basic free option and then several different price tiers depending on the level of customization for which you are looking — between $4 a month and $45 a month.
Should You Use a Free Website Builder or Paid Tool?
Building a website can get costly if you use a DIY tool that has monthly and/or startup fees. But while it’s tempting to use only free tools, when there’s no monetary investment, you pay in other ways to use the tools.
For example, free tools often come with stipulations like advertisements that you don’t choose. You might not have the option to monetize your website through ads, meaning that if there are ads on your page, you’re not earning money from them. You might also have the web company’s logo stamped in your header or footer, which you can’t remove. WordPress.com has free site building options, but they put all three of these stipulations on your account. If you want to remove their logo, make money off ads, or remove unwanted ads from your site pages, you have to move to a paid plan.
If you don’t have time to learn how to use a DYI tool to set up your site, don’t know much about design, or need more than a simple site, you have the option to pay a web designer to use the do it yourself website builder for you. Most web designers work for a set or hourly fee, but you should end up with a quality website that looks professional and meets your requirements. If you choose this route, ask the person you hire to show you how to make content updates yourself once the site is set up.