Whatever you do, do not mistake a personal blog for a professional business website. A simple blog might lack the functionality and refinement that your customers expect from your business website. But don’t despair. An attractive professional website is easily within reach even for the cash-strapped. And so, we present this guide to creating a professional internet presence for the cash-poor business.
1. Register and Host a Domain
Decide on a domain name, make sure it is available, and then find a service to register and host your new domain. Your domain is also known as your web address. Often, registration and hosting come in one convenient package. Services like NameCheap, HostGator, and DreamHost will act as both registry and host. Whether your domain name came as part of this package or you registered separately, you now own your domain name.
You can register your domain with any number of extensions (for example, .net, .org), and cheaply. But you should use the .com extension for a company. At NameCheap domain registration, you can inexpensively register a .com extension.
Your limited business funds are better spent on web hosting than domain registration. You might be wondering why a cash-poor company would indulge in a more expensive web host for its website. It turns out you get what you pay for with web hosting. The higher-end hosting options offer superior speed and consistency compared to your inexpensive hosting options. These higher-end hosts also offer improved uptime, website security, and personalized assistance.
As you build your new website, your customers’ ease of use is your greatest concern. You are better served to splurge on a host that will ensure the website functionality your customers expect. If you are particularly low on funds, consider saving on other areas of your business instead of on web hosting.
If you registered your .com website and you found a solid web hosting service, you are now ready to choose a content management system (CMS). Find your control panel to install a CMS.
2. What is a CMS and what do I do with it?
Your CMS will be your toolbox for designing your new website without learning complex code. It will turn your blank slate of a website into tastefully organized pages full of exciting content and images. Fortunately, your best choice here is also the least expensive. The ubiquitous WordPress is a free and highly flexible website platform. If you can imagine it, then you can do it with WordPress. Your web host will likely give you the option of installing WordPress straight from your control panel. Or, you can install WordPress yourself (although we do not recommend it if you’re not tech-savvy).
3. How do I make the actual website?
Once you’ve installed WordPress, you are ready to design your website. The best way to end up with a great looking do it yourself WordPress website is buying a theme. Themes give you a lot of flexibility to customize your website’s overall look. Themes are a preset appearance for your fonts, menus, and other stylistic features that together create a cohesive look. Of course, you can easily customize all these elements afterwards.
To access these themes, type “wp-admin” after your domain name and you will be redirected to your WordPress panel. Once you are in your account, locate the left panel, select “Appearance” and then “Themes.”
A small investment will result in professional look and ease of use. Resist the temptation to use one of WordPress’s attractive free themes. Many free themes are not kept up-to-date which could be a problem down the road.
It is worth upgrading to an inexpensive premium theme for a more sophisticated look. There are tons of great inexpensive themes you can choose from. Look for themes that are highly reviewed, to make sure that you are buying a theme that works well.
4. What next?
If you have a grasp on WordPress and you are satisfied with your website theme, you can finally populate your website with content. You will now need to make your website usable for your customers, often by installing plugins or writing small bits of code.
Finally, you will need to consider how you will spread the word about your beautiful new website. Now is the time to consider enlisting the aid of a marketing team. Congratulations, you have created a beautiful website for your cash-poor company!
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