All small and medium business owners go through a perpetual crises of ever increasing expenditure which makes an added overhead of creating and maintaining website quite an intimidating proposal.
Good news is you need not spend a fortune on creating a website if you follow these simple steps.
The first step in creating a website is to register your domain name and get a web hosting space.
Before choosing your web hosting company please keep the following in mind.
Do not choose a web hosting company which is little known but offers unbelievable deals, at a ridiculously low price. More often than not, they cannot survive the competition, and close down, leaving you totally frustrated. You go hunting again for another hosting company and bear loss due to website downtime, more so if yours is an E commerce site.
Another trick which you should be aware of is unlimited bandwidth, unlimited space, unlimited hosting all coming for an exceptional great deal. Though initially the offers are given with good intention, as competition heats up the hosting company cannot keep up to the bandwidth they promised or the space. As a result, over time your site gets slower since the same bandwidth now gets shared by several users. Instead look for great offers from standard companies (there are tons out there like GoDaddy, Mediatemple,1and1 etc).
Many times, you get genuine lucrative offers like free domain name registration or low 1st year subscription. An added advantage of such a deal is that you get to check out the commercial viability and ROI of your website before continuing to the next year.
Next comes choosing the type of website.The best type would be a CMS (Content Management System ) based website. Unlike other IT terminology, the term CMS is quite intuitive. In short it means a website where you (the website owner) have complete control on the contents of the website. You can add, edit, delete, update contents, or pages and even change website designs without the intervention of a website designer.
There are many popular open source free CMS available like Joomla, Contrexx, Drupal, WordPress and even E commerce CMS like Zencart, Magento, Presta Shop etc. Most of these work on PHP and Mysql, which also also open source.
Benefits of using a CMS are wide ranging. A CMS makes website changes an easy process that enables the site to be updated frequently and be kept looking fresh. Fresh content increase traffic and help popularise your business. Moreover, most of these CMS comes with inbuilt / free plugins, like Calendar, Events, Newsletter, Document management, Blog, Shopping cart etc which increases the value of your website many folds. You can even add Meta tags and Data to your website for SEO, making your site search engine friendly.
In case you want to have quick re design of your site, you can replace the old template with a new one through your Admin control panel, and customise it to give an unique look to your website. In fact a site redesign can take around ten minutes for the basic work, which is simply a template swap. Some tweaking might be required but in general this system is much faster and cheaper than with HTML.
There are several sites which offer beautiful completely free stock templates for popular CMS.
Once you decide on a CMS, please check what other configurations are needed to run the CMS like php, Mysql, Apache, and OS like Linux. Make sure when you hire a web hosting space, your package offers the correct version of php and Mysql and Web server(Apache/IIS) which is required for your CMS.
Remember though you can set up a website on a shoe string budget, the commercial success of your site depends on your content and how you manage them to attract visitors who transform into customers. In the end, commercial results are what counts.