This blog is the first in our “Toolbox” series, offering tips and resources for marketing a small business.

As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate.  You know that having an updated, modern, and effective website for your business is important, but the idea of creating a website can seem a daunting task….but it doesn’t have to be. There are numerous tools at your disposal to create fast and easy websites.  And just because it may be low cost doesn’t mean it won’t look good; these web creation tools are based on tried and true web design.
But remember, free (and low cost) design services only go so far.  The extent of customization may be limited, but you’ll still be fully equipped to get your brand and message out there!  So if you’re ready to give it a try, here are some things you should know.

There are 2 separate parts to getting a website up and running:

  1. The first is your domain, or URL. You need to purchase a domain from a registrar, such as GoDaddy or Network Solutions.
  2. Second is where your website is hosted. Set up a hosting package from a web hosting provider, after you have your domain registered.
    Some examples of hosting providers are Bluehost, Dreamhost, HostGator.  GoDaddy & Network Solutions also provide these services as well.

If you are tech savvy, you can create your own website using WordPress, Joomla or other Content Management Systems.  Read more about these platforms here:  http://websitesetup.org/cms-comparison-wordpress-vs-joomla-drupal/.
If you are not tech savvy, don’t worry, many online services take care of it all for you.  All you have to do is choose a domain name, and you’re ready to create a website.  This is the fun part, so read below and see which tool may seem right for you.

Here are two that we recommend starting with:

Wix:

Wix is probably the most well know and easy to use website builder.  With Wix, you can register a domain, connect an existing domain to it, and host your site for free.  There are also paid subscriptions for advanced services, such as custom form builders or online stores.  Choose from hundreds of templates based on various types of businesses, and start adding your own content, images and changing colors to match your brand.

Weebly:

Weebly also does it all for you, from domain to hosting to email, even an ecommerce store for an additional cost.  The free version of Weebly does not allow you to use your own domain, but for $8 a month you can connect your own.   Hosting is always free, with unlimited website pages.
Weebly’s drag & drop editor makes it very easy to customize your site.

There are many more out there, so do yourself a favor and research them.
Here are several comparisons and reviews:

http://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/

http://www.sitebuilderreport.com/

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2484510,00.asp

http://www.top10bestwebsitebuilders.com/reviews

 

So what are you waiting for?  If your business is not on the web, or if your website is in need of an update, there are ample tools and resources to get you started and guide you through the process, so no more dragging your feet.  Start creating!

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