Jumat, 30 Januari 2015

Building a Website for Your Small Business

Creating a useful website is a very important part of attracting customers. Most people, myself included, would find the task of creating a website themselves quite daunting and would immediately want to hire a web designer. But in doing some research of my own, building your own conventional website (meaning not overly complex or customized) may not be as difficult as it appears.

Person adding content to their website. (photo credit: morguefile.com)

To do it yourself, you can use a website builder, which is a tool that allows a user to create their own website without writing code. (Here is a list of some of the most popular website builders.)

This very useful article from Site Builder Report describes some questions to ask yourself to help determine if you should build it yourself or hire a web designer.

1. What is my budget? If you have a small to mid-size budget (which the author defines as $5,000 or less), then you should use a website builder. A competent website designer will usually cost this much or more. You will also need to pay a monthly fee for your website hosting. (Web hosts provide space on a server for your data and allow it to be available on the internet.) By comparison, a website builder like Squarespace, costs $8-$24 per month, which includes hosting.

2. I have a friend, family member, etc. who quoted me a low price. Shouldn't I use them? "Designing websites is a very complicated and involved thing. A very low quote probably means that this person "does not do web design for a living. And that’s a red flag."

3. What do I need/want in a website? "Think convention for website builder. Think customization for website designer...Use things like photo galleries, forms, paragraphs, basic e-commerce, and text." These will help you build a website that is functional without custom designing each piece.

If you really want 100% customization, then you will need a website designer.

4. Can I do it myself? "Trying to do it yourself will open you up to some of the realities of web design and will give you a sense of the constraints and challenges of web design. This will make you so much better when you try to actually hire a web designer. Plus, you may surprise yourself and realize you can do it yourself."

Hopefully this post has made you realize that hiring a website designer is not your only option; you can try to do it yourself. If you do find that you want/need a web designer, I will discuss some tips on helping you to choose a one in a future post. Happy site building!

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