Website Building Options 

Almost half of all businesses do not have a website. Can you believe this? In 2020 when almost everything is being searched for online and this many businesses don’t have a website! Unbelievable.

Do you have a website for your business? Even if you just have a one-page landing page, it’s better than nothing, and you can set that up easily.

In this blog post, you will discover a few options for creating a website for your business so you are not in the group that does not have a website.

One-third of websites are powered by WordPress and that number is increasing daily. It is the only platform I use in my business and for my client’s websites. It has been improved and updated over the years to become a solid platform for launching your online business.

And speaking of WordPress updates. You will want to make sure when you install WordPress to turn off the ‘Automatic Updates’ feature so you have control over the update process. I will have a future blog post on how to install WordPress where I’ll go into more detail on that process.

Initial Steps For Setting Up Your Website

Most businesses just need a very basic, simple website. It will include a Home Page, About Page, Product (or Service) Page, Contact Page. You will also need a Blog Page. Creating content is a necessary component of online marketing in today’s world. If you are not a great writer, hire someone to do write your blog posts for you. It will payoff over time.

One additional component of your website is an opt-in form so you can collect email addresses on your website to build your list (THE most valuable asset in your business.) So prior to building you website, you will need to set up a professional email service provider, such as Constant Contact.

Here are the steps to launching your website.

Step 1 – Set up a professional email service provider account, such as Constant Contact or Convertkit

Step 2 – Purchase your domain name (yourbusiness.com)

Step 3 – Set up your hosting account (where your website lives)

Step 4 – Install WordPress (the platform you will use to build your website)

Step 5 – Install your custom WordPress Theme (this will what you will use to create the look and feel of your website)

For Steps 1 thru 3, make sure you purchase your own domain name and hosting from someone like GoDaddy, Bluehost or a similar well-known hosting provider. It’s best to NOT let your web designer host your site for you. They can set everything up, but your domain name and hosting needs to be set up under your own account that you own. Then if your web designer gets hit by a bus or stops returning your calls, you can give this information to another web designer and you never miss a beat.

Free WordPress Theme Options

You can use a free option, such as one of the default Themes that come with your WordPress install.  The Twenty Twenty Theme that comes with WordPress is popular. So if you want to get started and you are bootstrapping your business with not much to spend on your site, this will be a good place to start.

If you search online for “free wordpress themes”, you will find dozens of options.

As a disclaimer… I don’t mean to oversimplify any of this. There is a learning curve involved in building a website even with a free or paid WordPress theme. When you look at the WordPress themes (free or paid) online, they will display them already populated with content. When you install a WordPress theme, it does not generally look like the one you saw on the page. There is some setup involved once you install the theme.

So you may consider hiring a designer to help you get everything set up initially. Then once it’s set up, you can probably maintain the site on your own if you have the time to spend on it.

Paid WordPress Theme Options

There are advantages to using a paid theme versus free. The main reason is you get support and periodic updates to the theme.

Wix is one of the more well-known web design platforms. It is a  WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) drag and drop platform. It allows you to literally drag and drop components onto your page to build your website and you can see how everything looks real time. You build your website on their platform.

I’m not a fan of using these type services. The main reason is you don’t really own your stuff. It’s on their server using their services and you could potentially have issues if you ever wanted to move the site elsewhere. But, on the other had, I have seen businesses who are perfectly happy with Wix. So it’s worth checking out. Weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision for you.

You can also register your domain name with Wix, but I highly recommend registering your domain name with GoDaddy so you won that domain. Then you can ‘point’ the domain name using a 301 Redirect from GoDaddy to your Wix website. By doing it this way, if you ever want to move your website to a different hosting account, it will be much easier.

Divi is another option that is probably one of the most popular paid WordPress themes. It is a visual theme and visual page builder with nice layouts. You will install this theme on your own platform (GoDaddy or Bluehost) after you install WordPress. So with this theme, you are building on your own platform versus Wix where you are building on their platform. Pricing starts at $89 per year for the theme. This includes updates, and support.

Thrive Themes is a great option and one I use in my business. In the early days, Thrive Themes was just a landing page builder, but they have since developed their own theme. The advantage of Thrive Themes is they have a lot of online marketing tools that you will find beneficial as your business grows. It is designed as an online marketing platform. You will install this theme on your own hosting account (GoDaddy or Bluehost) after your install WordPress. Pricing starts at $67 annually which includes updates and support.

OptimizePress is another solid option. It is mainly a landing page builder, but I used it to create my website and really like it. It is a very stable platform. It is easy to use and is built for online marketers. It includes a funnel builder, and a plugin for checkout and payment if you are selling product online.

Shopify is a good choice if you are planning on selling physical products online. Their services start at $29 per month. With Shopify, you will have complete control over the look and feel of your website. You can choose your layout, colors, and create your own content.

I have a friend who was interested in starting an online store to sell her t-shirt and other clothing designs. She built her entire business on Shopify. She didn’t need a web designer, but she did hire a person to help her with her initial launch. But after she launched her store, she took control of all the maintenance – adding products, tweaking her content, etc. So it you are planning on selling physical products, this may be a great option for you.

Even though you are building on Shopify’s platform, I still think this is a good option for anyone starting a business where they are selling physical product online.

I have also seen some great website designs using Squarespace. But, as with Wix, you are building on their platform. It is drag and drop. They have a lot of tools and resources.

You can also purchase premium themes from ThemeForest or TemplateMonster. Prices vary depending on the theme you select. You can do a search on premium themes and probably come up with a few more options.

I hope this has given you more insight into what you options are for building your website. Even if you decide to hire someone to build your site, you will be more prepared to work with a designer. Find one who is okay building on your platform. If they are not, find another web designer.

Good luck with your website and let me now if I can assist you in any way.

Mike Coleman