I will not claim to be an expert on website development, search engine optimization, or anything in between. However, I can share with you what I’ve learned from watching, and listening to, other people along the way. Creating a website, or any online presence, can be a big undertaking depending on your IT knowledge. Many times, people turn to professional web developers to create a basic site because, let’s face it, if you want to buy a house, you usually find a real estate agent, if you want to highlight your hair, you go to a hair stylist, SO, finding a web developer when you want to create a website isn’t such a stretch; or is it?
I know about the above thought process because I went through it with my company, Non-Scents Flowers, and I did it the wrong way. While it was an excellent learning experience, I’d say that I “threw away” about $5,000 on top of lost sales, because of my knowledge deficiency.
Finding a professional web developer is an excellent idea if you have the online sales started, a decent following, and the need to support high traffic volumes to your site. That being said, a professional website isn’t usually where you want to start; unless you can be spending $3,000 – $10,000 off the bat for the “basic” professionally done website; bells and whistles not included.
There are many options for small businesses and startups when it comes to creating a basic web presence with a simple, yet effective, website, that are either free or inexpensive. Below is a list of sites that you should look into if you’re thinking of creating your own website. I’ve included the cost structures, suggested uses, and a few additional notes that will hopefully help you in your research.
|Name||Cost Structure||Suggested Uses & Features||Notes|
|WordPress||Free – $99/year – $299/year||Basic Blogs – Pro Bloggers – Businesses||Most widely used for blogs & first-time websites; good, interactive community of readers and lots of plugin options|
|Shopify||$9 – $29 – $79 – $179 (per month)||Manual orders, no social, no “store” – Online store + social, website and blog included – Add gift card, report, and recovery features – Get it all||Good for starting web presence; allows you to grow into intro-level web store with shipping & shopping cart features.|
|SquareSpace||$5 – $8 – $18 – $26 – $60 (per month)||Single cover page – Personal website, one product e-commerce, 20 pages max – Business website, unlimited pages, 25 products e-commerce integration – unlimited pages and products – unlimited with auto recovery and real time shipping||Since Square is a popular payment processor, even for people who aren’t hosting their website on SquareSpace, this may be a better one stop shop solution for your first site.|
|Etsy||Free to make, $0.20 per product posted for sale||Store for: Makers Space, Crafters, Artisans, Unique Iteams||Also has wholesale platform for buyers and sellers on Etsy|
Keep in mind, if you’re having difficulty learning how to use these sites yourself, there are a number of online teaching resources such as,
- How-To Blogs
You also have the option to reach out to local university students who are either looking to build their portfolio, or, who are trying to make some extra money while in school. I suggest contacting communications students first, followed by business students, since they are the ones who will more likely be most well rounded between IT and content writing. While this option may still cost you money, a college student will probably be happy with $10/per hour.
I hope this post has helped you in some way, and if you have any questions or anything to add, please don’t hesitate to comment!