Simple Business Website on a Budget Guide
UPDATE — The information provided below is no longer current. Check out my more recent Web and Marketing resource pages for better suggestions. Information is retained below for posterity!
I’m often confronted by family, friends, and strangers seeking website advice for their business. Here are the steps, and no it’s not free. Well, my advice is. Actually in the long run the cost involved pays for itself many times over by resulting in a low cost streamlined website that you easily can update. In a nutshell, buy your “domain name and hosting”:http://www.godaddy.com, and get this “*easy website building program*”:http://www.interspire.com/1074.html. Now lets dive in and get this done.
Get your domain and web hosting from GoDaddy.com. Skip this step if you already have a website.
Go to “GoDaddy.com”:http://www.godaddy.com and follow the steps to order your domain name and BASIC web hosting plan bundle. They love to pepper you with confusing extra up-sells, but stick with the “No Thanks, Continue” button and you’ll end up with a domain name and reliable website hosting plan (the place your website files are actually stored). I have tried many marginally cheaper companies, but always return to GoDaddy.com. That simple, go do it.
*TIP:* Consider a domain name that contains some words people will be searching for, not necessarily your business name. For instance: georgia-tax-services.com will naturally appear better in searches than say tjrascalstaxcompany.com
You’ll get an e-mail with all the details shortly afterwards for logging in and uploading files (FTP) from GoDaddy. Save this for future reference.
Easy website building software. My best recommendation is “*Interspire Website Publisher*”:http://www.interspire.com/1074.html for $395. Money back guarantee, free support, free installation, the works.
This is incredibly low-cost considering no monthly fees, no website designer cost, and no additional software to purchase down the line.
This is as “do-it-yourself” as it gets, while still looking and functioning like a professional created it. Sure it isn’t free, but for good reason. Free website options like WordPress or Joomla are fantastic options but only if you know how to install a MySQL database and are familiar with basic CSS programming to customize it.
This “*software*”:http://www.interspire.com/1074.html is pretty close to amazing. Check out their video or try the demo first-hand to try it out. It’s pretty astonishing at how easy web development has become over the past few years. Best of all, they will install it to your own web host to get you up and running at no extra cost–remember that e-mail you received with your website account info? This is all they need (see their “FAQ”:http://www.interspire.com/websitepublisher/faq.php).
Once they get that done, you can login to your website, select a few style options, punch in some company info from your brochure (or whatever) and you are off and running. It’s search engine optimized by default–which just saved you about $500 from having an SEO nerd like me tweak all your website code for top Google results.
Watch the tutorial video–at least the first few minutes. It actually makes you want to build your website instead of dreading it. While there are options you probably won’t use, at least everything is there for an effecient website almost out of the box. No special web design software like DreamWeaver needed. That just saved you another $500. “*Now, go do it*”:http://www.interspire.com/1074.html.
Let me know if you have questions. firstname.lastname@example.org