Many small businesses fall into one of three camps when it comes to their own online piece of real estate; they have either had a son, sister or friend build a site as a favour; they might have bought something like Front Page and tried to do it themselves or they have paid a web design company to do it for them – and then continue paying every time they want to update something.
This month though, I’d like to introduce you to a completely different approach to setting up your own website, one that could be done in a matter of hours, which looks highly polished and professional from day one, is easy to change and update whenever you want to, but more importantly is very low cost. When you are ready to take it to the next stage, it is also easy to move and develop.
To set up a website, you need to have the following things in place:
1. a website address (URL or domain name to those techno-bods amongst us)
2. some space on a computer that is permanently linked to the Internet (this is called hosting).
You can purchase your web address from almost anywhere, the company I use is called Namesco and a URL from them will cost around £12 for the first two years.
As for the online hosting space, I’d like to suggest you check out a service called wordpress.com. Their mission in life is to provide you with a free website that you can point your brand new web address towards. Now, before those of you who are more technically aware start saying ‘but that is ‘blog software’ – I’d like to point out that a blog is just a website by any other name and actually wordpress is hugely powerful content management software that I use to run my own websites.
So, visit wordpress.com and set up an account, when you are offered the option of creating just an account or being given a blog – check the box that say’s ‘gimme a blog’. Login to your account and start by choosing a look and feel for your new website, bear in mind that this isn’t set in stone and can be changed on a whim at any later date you wish. With some themes you can also change logo’s so you could add your own if you want to.
When you have sorted out how you want the site to look, you can then start adding information to it. I’d suggest you EDIT the About page to give some information about your business, and then create a Contact Us page with your business address and telephone number. You can edit pages by clicking on Manage and then Pages.
You will then need to make your About page your new home page – that is the page that first time visitors to your site will see first. To do this, you need to click on Settings and then on Reading. Under Front Page Displays, select the button next to Static Page and use the drop down menu next to Front Page to find your About page. Don’t forget to keep using the View Site button to see how it all looks and don’t forget, if you make a mistake you can easily change it!