Many small businesses think they have to spend thousands of dollars and weeks of development time to have a functional website for their small business. But this is an outdated way to think about web design.
These days, there are a variety of content-management tools available to simplify website creation and management. WordPress is one of those tools. Yes, WordPress, the blogging system. Did you know you can also use WordPress as a full-featured website? It’s true. You can create a highly functional, easy-to-manage website using only WordPress and a bit of technical know-how.
* And you can do it in a matter of days, instead of weeks.
* And your costs could range from $50 to $500, instead of thousands.
A Business Website in Two Days
Not convinced? Need evidence? I understand. For the longest time, small businesses have been told that web development takes a long time and requires a lot of money. Thousands of web design firms make their bread and butter off this notion, and they are cursing me right now for writing this article.
But I’m a big fan of giving people options, so I want you to know that this web design option exists.
Here’s a step-by-step approach I have used many times to create a business website from scratch, in only two days time.
Step 1 – Register Domain Name and Get Web Hosting
Using a company like GoDaddy, this can be done in about one hour. The domain registry costs $10 per year, and the hosting costs about $7 per year. Total cost for web domain and web hosting for one year = $94.
Step 2 – Install a MySQL Database on Web Host
This sounds complicated, but it’s a five-minute operation on GoDaddy (one of many reasons I use them). I would go into the database section of the hosting control panel, select “create database,” and then give it a name and password. Total time spent: 10 minutes.
Step 3 – Install WordPress on Web Host
WordPress is free, so there’s no cost involved with this step. I would simply open a configuration file, insert the database name and password I created in the last step, and then upload the entire WordPress program onto the web host. Total time spent: 12 minutes (mostly waiting for files to upload).
Step 4 – Launch and Configure WordPress
When all the WordPress files are uploaded to the web host, I’m ready to run the installation process. This takes about 12 seconds, so we won’t even count it on our time tally. I would then change the URL / linking structure to make it more search engine-friendly (1 minute), add some categories (2 minutes) and other minor tweaks (5 minutes). Total time spent: 8 minutes.
Step 5 – Customization and Appearance
I want this website to look professional and unique, so I would create a custom logo for it, arrange its layout for usability and readability, tweak the colors, etc. Granted, this step requires some graphical knowledge (for logo) and web coding skills (to arrange the site’s layout), but it still only takes half a day. You could pay somebody to handle this setup process for just a few hundred dollars. Total time spent: 5 hours.
Step 6 – It’s Time for Content
Now comes the most important part. I need to create some initial content for my website. I say “initial” because I plan to add new content on a weekly basis (the WordPress system makes this easy to do, by the way). I want to start with a few pages of content about my services, some content for the home page, etc. Total time spent: 1 day.
So let’s recap. I’ve just created a multi-page business website (with a blog built in), I’ve created some initial content to get me started, and I have a content-management system that allows me to add new pages and blog posts as easily as I would type an email.
* Total time spent: 2 days
* Total cost for me: $94 (because I did the work myself)
Like I said, if you don’t have the technical / graphical skills to accomplish the things on this list, you could hire somebody to help you. In the end, you’ll pay a lot less than you would pay for a traditional, programming-heavy (“bulky”) website. And you’ll have your website in a matter of days, instead of weeks or months. Best of all, you’ll be able to manage certain aspects of it, because the content-management tool is built right in.
Some web design firms will tell you it can’t be done, that it takes weeks to build a website. But I’ve just shown you it can, haven’t I?
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