Your Own Website
Your own website is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity, even when you are not selling directly online. It may be as simple as an online business card, or a full-blown online commerce site. The trouble is that so many startups feel they have to spend a fortune on setting one up.
This is not true. It’s also true that there’s nobody but you, so well suited to build your own website. You know all about your customers and the products or services you want them to love. But what does building your own website entail?
I would say they are two basic routes:
- Do-it-yourself–two options;
- Use an integrated service provider: two options.
I chose the do-it-yourself route, because I wanted to have full control, but it has lots of shortcomings, since I just don’t have all the skills. The other route is to use an integrated service provider. Why would I suggest a route that I did not personally travel? Because I had to learn the hard way, that a website is one thing, but getting traffic–unique visitors– is another, that I am still learning, all these years later. I have enjoyed the frustrating experience and I love learning.
You can learn quickly, if you read How to Make/Create a Website: The beginner’s guide to get a small business on line. It’s from First Site Guide—and it’s free.
Right from the start, be aware that having your own website and including email addresses for contact will result in your inbox being filled with spam. A real pain. But there is a wonderfully simple solution: how to stop spam from MXGuarddog. You can either pay a minimal monthly fee or put a link to them, as I have here.
Option One: WordPress
This option also has some choices. My favorite, by far, is to use WordPress, which started in 2003 with a single bit of code to enhance the typography of everyday writing and with fewer users than you can count on your fingers and toes. Since then it has grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used on millions of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day
I am no geek, and my experience is that anyone can get going on the web. My whole site is built using WordPress and I have tried several other software approaches, but none compares with it. WordPress is simple, you can see it as a blog or as a regular website. It has fixed pages, posts and categories.
Through the use of plugins you can extend its functionality and let it grow as big and complicated as you want. Of course, being Open Source, it’s FREE. For you, there are two ways to go: WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
On WordPress.org, you can download and install a software script called WordPress. To do this you need a web host who meets the minimum requirements and a little time. WordPress is completely customizable and can be used for almost anything. This was my route.
There is also a service called WordPress.com which lets you get started with a new and free WordPress-based blog in seconds, but varies in several ways and is less flexible than the WordPress you download and install yourself.
Robert Mening in Sweden has produced the best guide to setting up a website that I know of. You should certainly check it out at websitesetup.org. I certainly wish it had existed when I set up this WordPress site. It is a beautifully simple website with no flimflam. It is intended for non-techies like me. He is very clear and honest about why his site is free and where he gets his income. Even if you have stared your own site, you might want to have a look anyway + he will answer questions at no cost.
You should certainly be blogging—I don’t do nearly enough, nor have I yet monetized my blog, but I should and so should you! A good place to start would be this article, How to make Money Blogging: take a look… and tell me what you think. It tells you how, based on using a WordPress blog.
Option Two: InMotion Hosting
I use InMotion Hosting for my own website, using Word Press, and have so for many years. They have several different plans—all inexpensive! They also support Joomla and Drupal. It is no small wonder that they are so good when you learn that they are employee-owned, have been around since 2001 and have operations on both east and west coasts, with 24-hour support. Apart from anything else InMotion ranks #5 out of 325 web hosts on HostAdvice.com, who call it “an exceptional hosting company” and they have 94 positive rating from users, vs 2 negative ones.
Now for starters, you may not want all the bells and whistles that they can offer. You can use BoldGrid for free to create your site, if you are an InMotion client. BoldGrid is a do-it-yourself web design product that uses with WordPress, which you can also download from InMotion. I’d say this is a much better deal than sites like Wix, Weebly and SquareSpace, because you get to have your own site hosted exclusively for you.
Now you have no excuse for not having your own website, do you? And as well as their super support, InMotion has an extensive knowledge base including Product Guides, Website Tutorials, Email Tutorials, Domain Name Setup Info and more to help you, if you get lost at sea.