I’m not the most computer savvy person. Writing this blog is easy because everything is already set up for me. I’m probably like most people when it comes to computers. I know Microsoft Word, some Excel, I can write emails, and print things. Keep in mind when reading this post, that this isn’t coming from the most technical of people, and is meant for the entrepreneur that is looking to get his/her business off the ground by promoting their product/service on the web and can’t afford a pro. I am currently building a website for my company on my own. I’ll release the website after it’s done and when I quit my full-time job, for all to see, but for the most part it will be a starter site until I get my business off the ground and have the funds to get a professional to design it.
Right now I’m using Microsoft’s Frontpage to build my site. For anyone that’s familiar with the basic Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. this should be a breeze for you after you tinker around with it and figure out all the buttons and commands. Also, the “Help” button is your best friend if you’re on your own. I’ve had some useful experience building a website, actually. In college (2-3 years ago), I built a website with a friend of mine where the students at my university could upload funny/party pictures and post funny stories and videos of things happening on campus. I got some okay traffic and made $150 on advertising in 4 months. Needless to say, Facebook kicked my ass and my venture failed. I did, however, gain some very valuable experience that is helping me today.
First thing you need to do is to register your domain name. Your domain name is the www.YOURCOMPANYHERE.com thing you see in ALL websites. That is your domain name. I chose to go with the reputable GoDaddy.com. You can own your own space on the web for as little as $7 per YEAR. GoDaddy also offers web hosting for a very competitive yearly fee, which is where all your emailing, website bandwidth/memory, server space, etc. is held. It’s simple and easy to use. I always wondered how you get emails for certain webpages. For instance, if you have a site called www.millionairemoney.com, you can set up an infinite amoutn of email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc. This is all done and held by your server’s host.
Now, you need to figure out a design you want for your website. If you’re using FrontOffice, like I mentioned, you can spend the time to design a ”template” on your own. This could take weeks if you’re not experienced and I don’t recommend it. What I did, was buy a FrontOffice template at www.thetemplatestore.com. There, you can chose from dozens of pre-made website designs. The basic layout, the navigation bars, links, etc. are all done for you. All you need to do is tweak it to your business and add the content (or copy). It’s VERY easy to upload pictures, videos, etc. and create your own navigation. If you want to create multiple pages, just copy and paste like you would in Word or Excel. It’s very simple.
The tricky part is getting it uploaded onto your hosts server. GoDaddy.com explains this for you and makes it very easy for you to do in a few easy steps. Once it’s up and running you can add different things to your site without having to code ANYTHING. Just go to sites like www.websitetools.com, www.hypergurl.com, www.websitegoodies.com, www.websitetoolbox.com. There you can add things like stat tracking (tells you who is visiting, where they’re from, how many times, what pages they’re interested in, etc), message forums, polls, guestbooks, etc. These are great things that are pre-made and can be easily inputted into your website. Many of these tools are childsplay for savvy programmers and they only charge you $5-15 per item. (***Google Analytics offers free stat tracking and it is very thorough and user-friendly, try them at www.google.com/analytics.
And that’s really it to tell you the truth. The process is simple but it does require some effort, but not the effort you might think of that would scare you away from doing it or starting your business in the first place. I enjoy the time I spend building my website. It’s almost like an arts & crafts project for me and gets me motivated and excited about my business. It’s frustrating at first if you don’t know what you’re doing, but that’s what the internet is for. There are thousands of articles out there to help you with anything you need. Need help uploading a ”Hits Tracker” for your website? Just type in “website hits tracker” and your answer is there. If you have a simple business that needs a professional looking website and you’re strapped for startup capital, put the time into it and do it yourself. It’s not that hard and is a very valuable experiences when pursuing future ventures involving the web.