At one time a website was considered as a tool for an online business only. Today all of that is changing and if you have an offline business there is a definite place in the market for having a website of your own.
Just take a look around you and see how many people are using some form of mobile device: laptop, smartphones and iPads. It seems that just about everyone has some way of connecting to the internet regardless of
where they might be.
As a business owner don’t you want to cash in on this?
Of course you do and all you need is a website. Websites are not difficult to create and fantastic websites can be built on a platform called WordPress. WordPress sites are quick and easy to install and to customize to reflect your business name and brand.
Websites are perfect to use as a branding tool but they can also help generate you new customers. Even if you have a local business using a website is a viable way of increasing your customer traffic and generating
Getting Started with Your Website
You have several options for building a website:
• Do it yourself via a WordPress site
• Create an html website
• Hire someone to design your site
• Buy an entire done for you solution
Let’s go over this entire process in more detail.
No matter which of the above routes you decide to take you will need to get a domain name. Think of this as your online address! It will be something you will want to include on your business cards the next time you order them. Domains can be purchased from places such as GoDaddy for around $20 per name. Try to include your business name in the domain if possible and purchase a dot com version. If your business name is taken you can try adding the name of your town or city as a variation. Your domain name will be part of your branding so make your selection carefully.
Once you have your domain name, address, you need to have a home for this name. This home will be your hosting account and once you have transferred your name over to your hosting account your website will be visible. This is a simple process and just involves pointing your domain name to your host. For example a popular hosting company is one called SiteGround. After purchasing your domain name you will point it to SiteGround by typing in 2 addresses which will look similar to:
In your domain account look for the section under Manage Domains that says transfer DNS. Don’t worry about all this jargon, it really just means pointing your name from where you purchased it to your hosting account. Your hosting account allows your website to be seen by the entire world and it has features that allow you to easily set up a site and manage it. This feature is called Cpanel and is important for actually getting your website to look like an online business.
You will need to have your hosting account set up to install WordPress and this is done through your Cpanel. Using SiteGround as our example you will click on the icon called Fantastico and follow the instructions to install WordPress. Once you have installed WordPress you will be emailed your user name and password, save these in a safe place as you will need to login through here to update and customize your site.
Now comes the fun part where you can login and make changes to your site. This includes changing your theme, which is how your site looks and adding items to your site so that you can interact and communicate with your visitors. There are literally thousands of themes to choose from and many are free while others are paid. A theme can be changed at any time but you do want to select one that reflects your business.
If you have products that you would like to sell from your website than an eCommerce type of theme is desirable. This allows you to add payment buttons and set up customer accounts on line as needed. The advantage of using a WordPress type of site is that they are super easy to maintain yourself, can be easily customized and easy to change the look and feel if necessary.
These types of websites are the more traditional type of website that requires you to learn ‘html’ and ‘php’ code for the design and the maintenance process. Each time you want to make a change you would have to ask your designer to add the appropriate code, or learn how to do it yourself. Again there are html templates that you can use and add your own business logo and details to.
Hiring a Designer:
If you have a certain logo and brand that you want incorporated into your website, hiring a designer might be a viable solution. Designers are able to take either a WordPress theme or use html and create you a customized website. This can be a good alternative if you are after a specific business look or if you just don’t have the time or desire to learn how to do it yourself. Once the design of your new site is finished you will still need to purchase a domain name, set up a hosting account and get your website online. When hiring a designer ensure that you look at their portfolio and check to see how long they have been in business. Remember if you want updates or changes to the way your site looks you need to be able to connect with your designer at a later date.
All in One Solution:
If you are considering getting someone to help you with your website then an all in one solution may be your best answer. An all in one solution would be to find a company that will design your new website and who will then help you choose a suitable domain name and help you set up your hosting. They will literally do everything for you so this is really a hands off type of solution.
Our web designers create a truly unique WordPress website that will impress your customers and improve your online presence. Your website is always up-to-date with the latest SSL and security updates, and any required design and functionality improvements. Our company will also offer you a monthly maintenance package as well and domain name is included. This is important as they take care of your website security, update your site and ensure that your hosting doesn’t go down.
As a business owner who may not have used a website before there are certain things you need to take into consideration. Websites do get hacked, even major corporations have had problems with people attempting to get into their sites. So website security is extremely important. Especially if you will be storing customer account information online, you don’t want this private information to suddenly become available all over the internet.
If you choose to go with a WordPress type of website, and this is one of the most popular choices today, the site will require updates. The actual WordPress platform gets updated on a fairly regular basis and while this is something you can do yourself, you may not want to. You may also want to make changes to your site including things like updating prices, adding a shopping cart and creating a blog. Again easy to do but if time is a constraint something that you may want taken care of by someone else.
Having a website is the perfect way to create a mailing list! What business owner doesn’t want to have a source of fresh leads that they can market to? Incorporating this into your website is possible and it is done by using an autoresponder service. Some of the top ones include AWeber, Get Response and Mailchimp. Integration is possible but may be something to add to your wish list for your new website.
All of the above points can be taken care of by one company and if you are looking for an all in one solution then be sure that the company offers all of these services.
So let’s do a recap of what you need to do to get your website up and running.
- Purchase a domain name
- Set up a hosting account
- Create your website and add content
Your site is now live! While those three steps really do cover the basics there are some other points to take into consideration.
• Will you be selling products? If yes then you will need a shopping cart with a way to take payments and ship products
• Do you want to create a mailing list? If yes, then you will need an autoresponder account and have a sign up form installed on your website.
• Do you have a logo or brand to display on your site? Whether you have this or not it may need to be altered so that it displays online correctly.
So what Solution is Best for You?
Hopefully you can now see the importance of why having a website for your home business is a good idea. It really is just an extension of your offline business and is a way for you to attract and connect with a greater range of customers or clients. Setting up a website takes time and thought. It really is best to plan things out so you can add all the details that you need the first time. WordPress sites are easy to make changes to and could just prove to be the most affordable solution for your business.
If you don’t want to learn how to install and run your own site then hiring a consultant is a great way to go. They can set up and create your website within days and will be around to answer any questions that you may have. For any business owner time is a valuable commodity and one that should be used in the best possible way. After all, your goal is to increase your profit line and incorporating a new website could help you achieve your goal more quickly.