Working Through the Challenge of Creating Your Own Website
According to Statistic Brain, only 53% of small businesses had a website as of 2014. Yet, about 61% of worldwide Internet users turn to the Internet to research product or company before buying. One of the reasons so many companies put off building a website is that it can be stressful for amateurs. Attempting to create the site can be both difficult and it is easy to get stuck and not know what content to add or how to best keep the site maintained.
Options for Starting the Site
You have three basic options for getting your website started.
- Set up a free site somewhere like WordPress.com or Wix.com. However, understand that you’ll have to deal with some of the limitations of a free website, including the inability to customize completely. However, if you are on a very tight budget and don’t know a lot about web design, these are two good places to start to have an online presence.
- Create Social Media pages. There are millions of people on Facebook and millions of people on Twitter. Both sites offer the option to at least get some basic info about your business out to the public, such as your hours of operation, address, and contact numbers.
- Pay a web designer or hire in-house and have a professional website set up. This involves securing a domain name from a domain name registrar, paying for hosting space, and the actual design of the site. This is the most expensive option, but also the one that will set your business above the competition.
Free Cookie Cutter Sites
In addition to WordPress.com and Wix.com, you can try some of the following cookie-cutter style sites to get started quickly:
Inexpensive Semi-Custom Options
If you or someone in your office is pretty Internet savvy, you can set up a semi-custom WordPress site quite easily.
- Secure a domain name from a registrar, such as GoDaddy.
- Secure web hosting. At this point, you want a host that will be easy to use. You can go with GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting or find any server that offers one-click install of WordPress.
- Install WordPress on your hosting space and make sure your domain name points to your server.
- There are hundreds of free themes available. You can choose one of those or pay for a template from places like Template Monster and dozens of others.
You could also pay a web designer to install, customize and maintain your site. This doesn’t have to be extremely costly.
- Get a quote from a web designer you know or someone you know has used. Explain your budget and see what they are able to do within the confines of that budget.
- Hire a college student studying design. Students often work for a bit cheaper because they don’t have the experience of professionals who’ve been working in the field. However, when you’re just getting started, this can be a good option that will allow you to remain on budget.
Sample Sites Done Well
Knowing what a really well done service type site looks like can help you choose the best format for your own website. Here are a few sample sites that are very functional for service industries. We’ve stayed away from HVAC so as not to promote any one over another, but you can see how these service-based sites are set up and learn a lot from these samples.
The official website for Henryville’s sanitation department is a good example of a very basic WordPress site that offers functionality and information. The site has contact information and hours of operation on the right hand side, so it is easy to call in and ask a question or know when to drop by to pay a bill. On the left side of the website, is a link to pay sewer bills online. The site also has the functionality for the company to create blog posts in the form of a “news” type addition. Navigation is easy to find and the site presents the info in an uncluttered way.
Ace Plumbing and Rooter
This San Francisco based plumbing company has a very professional looking website. One thing that works really well on this site is that the number to call for service is at the top of the page and in bold relief, so it is very easy to locate. And, just in case you missed the number, it is also in bold letters at the bottom of the main page. This site also uses a capsule design, where important information is located in boxes. This creates a clean, uncluttered look for the site.
Medrano’s Handyman Services
Medrano’s site has a truly professional look, from the blueprint background to the slideshow of images of Medrano’s doing various types of work. The contact info is at the top and easy to locate and they also link up to several social media channels. The page offers an easy way to get in touch with the company via a contact form or with the company’s telephone number.
Importance of Content
Once you get your site up and running, you’ll want to add content regularly. Whether you set up a social media page or create a custom website, make sure you can add posts or articles so that you give site visitors a reason to visit often. Google also ranks sites based on how good their content is, so you’ll want to be sure yours if fresh and interesting.
If you utilize the ideas above, you’ll build a site that attracts new customers and keeps old ones coming back.
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