Website Building 101
So you want to get your online business up and running but there’s one little problem – you need a website! For any business, big or small, a professional website is important if you want to attract potential clients or customers and create a solid foundation for continued success. But many people have no idea how to go about the process. Luckily, it’s actually quite easy to get a functional, well designed and user-friendly website online in a reasonable amount of time. And depending on your particular situation and budget, there are several options available to make your business goals a reality. The first option is to hire a designer. If you are willing to invest a good sum of money into the initial stages of developing your business, hiring a professional website designer or web design company should be something to seriously consider.
The job will cost you thousands of dollars (if you hire a reputable designer) but all the pressure and work will be on someone else’s shoulders. Spending a lot of money right at the beginning of your venture may seem a little risky, but compared to other business endeavors the cost – and risk – are minimal. And the amount of money you have the potential to make after your site goes live will far outweigh the amount of money initially invested in its construction. Also, if you expect a professional job, hiring a professional is the best way to attain that objective. A designer will consult with you regarding what you need in a website – a simple basic website, flash-based design, and ecommerce sites are the most common.
You will also discuss form, functionality, color scheme, graphics, and other important points. Sometimes content can be obtained through your web designer as well, or you can fulfill your content needs after the basic website design is completed. In the end, hiring a web designer offers you a lot of flexibility and gives you the ability to fully customize your website in all aspects of its design. Go it Alone If you don’t have the money to spend on a good web designer or feel it’s unnecessary for your purposes, there’s no reason why you can’t create the website yourself. And this option applies to everyone – even if you know nothing about HTML or web design. Of course, if you do know a little bit of HTML - or are willing to put your nose to the grindstone and scour the Internet and your local library to learn HTML - you can certainly build a website from scratch. But nowadays there are other ways to make your own business website without struggling with HTML or a costly designer. Website templates, for example, combine the professional design talents of an experienced web designer with the cost-effectiveness of going it alone. Templates are ready-made web pages that a designer or design company sells for a small sum – the cost is so low simply because the template can be resold over and over again. In addition, if you purchase a website template that won’t be resold after you buy it the cost will rise but still ends up being much more affordable than working with a designer one-on-one.
The cost is kept relatively low because, although the template cannot be sold to another person, the design was already created and the buyer agrees to purchase it “as is.” When you visit a website selling templates you are given the freedom to browse through a wide selection of different styles of website designs. Once you find the perfect match for your business you simply purchase and download. All that’s left is to edit it using a simple HTML editor to add content, graphics – you name it. One such website template company I found that offers quality, reasonably priced templates is TemplateDogma (see the link in Resource Box). The final option is to use an online website builder to do the job. This type of program holds your hand every step of the way so that you can build a website without knowing anything about computer languages or design techniques. Even if you use a WYSIWYG editor it is possible to get lost along the way, and as mentioned above, templates do require editing after you make the purchase. A website builder is the only option that essentially automates the entire process. You might not be able to customize every aspect of the site, as templates are usually part of the procedure, but adding content, pictures, charts and tables to the site is made entirely hassle-free.
As you can see, there are many different ways to build a website from the ground up. In the end, choose the option you think will lead you down the path toward online success and you’ll be happy with the results.