You might be thinking, why do I need a website or app for my small business? We've all heard the expression "a picture is worth a thousand words" but a website is worth a million dollars. Websites and apps are crucial for marketing and communication. A lot of people use social media networks to read the news, but then many of those same people leave their phones on their desks or in their pockets when they're at work. Web content is an easy way to disseminate information about your company to everyone at once.
Websites can be used as commercial law firms for anyone to search and find information about attorneys and law firms in their area. Websites offer contact information, bios, descriptions of services, and even video clips. They can be linked with social media networks so followers can click through and find out more about your company and what you offer. Businesses who have websites also tend to have more success with SEO rankings because search engines rank websites higher than those that don't have them. Websites provide vital customer service opportunities as well as points of connection with customers that they never had before.
What does it take to get started?
Well, it really depends on what you want to do. There are many platforms to choose from. Some are free, some are paid. Some are very simple for anyone to use and some require special software knowledge. Some require you to link your website to your social media accounts and others don't. Getting started can be as easy as uploading photos of your products or services, writing a description, and providing contact information or as complicated as creating interactive forms, forums, blogs, or online store fronts.
For the sake of this article I've chosen Weebly to show everyone what can be done using their platform. Weebly is a free website builder that requires no coding experience whatsoever and it's also mobile friendly (if you create a responsive design).
You can see for yourself how easy it is to use by checking out our portfolio page at http://uncle-daves-website-design-and-development-company.weebly.com/. You will notice that our pages look just like any site that you could find on the internet except that everything is customizable and user friendly (even if you're not tech savvy).
Weebly offers users templates for creating business websites so they don't have to start from scratch with every project they create. Weebly also offers video tutorials for those who need help getting started or learning the ins and outs of the platform. While this platform does not allow users to sell products directly from their websites (which is a potential downside), there are ways around it by first building a site using a platform like Etsy or another eCommerce site before importing those products into your website on Weebly (like we did on our portfolio page).
If you're interested in learning more about what Weebly has to offer I'd suggest checking out some of their video tutorials on YouTube as well as reading through some of their blogs about the benefits of creating an online presence for your small business https://www.weebly.com/blog/7-reasons-your-business-needs-a-site .
The Basic Essentials Every Entrepreneur Needs in Their Arsenal of Apps & Websites
The first thing every entrepreneur needs is a domain name. A domain name is the address of your website, and it should be short and memorable. This is where you'll want to do some research. You can register a domain for as little as $12.99/year with GoDaddy or $8/year with Google Domains.
The next thing you'll need is a hosting provider, which will give you an email address and provide space on a server for your website to reside. There are many hosting providers available, but we recommend BlueHost because they're the easiest to use and start at just $3.95/month (although we recommend their high-end plan which starts at $6.95/month).
After you've got your domain and hosting set up, it's time to choose an app or website builder that will help you create your website without needing any technical skills or coding knowledge. For example, Wix offers a free site builder with no limits on features, but they do have limited templates depending on the plan you choose (the free plan gives you access to limited templates). Other options are Weebly, Squarespace, Wix Mobile App Builder, SiteBuilder by Weebly, or WordPress - all of which offer free plans or trial periods so that you can try them before making the decision to purchase one of their paid plans.
Once you've chosen an app or website builder, you'll need to find a domain registrar. While you can register your domain name directly with the hosting provider, it's best to register your domain name with a separate company that specializes in domains. These companies are called registrars, and they will charge an additional fee for registering your domain. We recommend NameCheap because they offer free Whois Privacy, which means your personal information will not be public when someone types in your domain name. Additionally, NameCheap offers free Domain Privacy Protection which will help stop spammers from using your email address on their junk mail lists.
Now that you have a website, you will need to choose one of the following options:
A Content Management System (CMS) that allows you to edit your website without needing to know any code or technical skills. This is the best choice for most entrepreneurs because it's affordable and easy-to-use. The most popular CMSs are WordPress and Wix - both of which have free plans available so that you can try them out before making a purchase decision.
You can hire a web developer or designer to build a custom website for you using HTML & CSS code so that it looks exactly how you want it to look (and how much money you're willing to spend). If this is something that interests you, then check out Fiverr where freelancers are available for hire at $5/hour (plus $0.50 per Gig Extra).
- You can hire a web design firm to design your website for you. Depending on the size of your business or how much money you're willing to spend, this could cost anywhere from $500-$5,000. We recommend starting by contacting local designers in your area to see if they can provide you with a quote based on the scope of work and your needs. Here are some sites that offer a directory of local designers in the US:
- Find a Designer - Find a graphic designer, web designer, logo designer or other creative professional near you
- Designers.com - Find a logo designer, web designer or graphic designer in your area to help with branding and other creative services for your business.