Today’s Question:

A few people are speaking about a wordpress website. Some are talking about squarespace… and I’ve seen wix and a few other “names”… how do I know which one to choose? DreamDoer

Hey DreamDoer,

It’s one thing to know you need a website, it’s quite another when you’re faced with all the options!  In this “How to set up your website” series… we have already covered how to decide on your business name, and checked to see if your URL is available, and today we are going to look at the best kind of website for your business!

When I started writing this article for you, I outlined my “go to” for website design… the peeps I used to design both my websites.

But then the more I started writing, the more I started thinking about all of you DreamDoers, who don’t want to have to go through the steep learning curve of learning how to upload websites, dealing with code to get what you want, or learning this new program that you need to bring your website alive.

In trying to include all the options… the series became as mixed up as a box of lego pieces… filled with options and a whole bunch of craziness that even I was started to get confused with.

I tried plotting it… and that got kinda messy.

Then I tried googling for answers… and after all my searches, this was the only breakdown that made sense, but it was still not quite right for you, my DreamDoer…

How To Create A Website: The Definitive Beginner�s Guide [Infographic]

So I stopped.

I went back to the questions you were asking,

and I’m going to tackle my favourite solutions for you [and your level of comfort].

Ps… if you spot an * next to any link, please note that it is an affiliate link – which basically means that the kind folk who you buy from, buy me a cup of coffee [or a little more] to say thanks for me sending you over 😉

Getting back to today’s question

As part of our “How to set up a website” journey… the next level of this process,we are going to look at:

  • The kind of website I need
  • Who will be bringing it alive
  • and what my thoughts are, around the options you have available to you!

How to set up a website | A 4 Part series by @inspiredbyemma

 

What kind of website will I choose?

The first point to start off with… is thinking about your website big picture…

What are you wanting to achieve with your website?

  • 1 Page site: Do you just want a 1 page “Business Card” – so that when someone searches for you, they will be able to find you online and call you.
  • 3 – 5 Page site: Are you wanting a simple 3 – 5 page website – covering the basics of what your business is about… what you offer… and where to contact you.
  • The Blog: Are you wanting a Blog – where you’ll be sharing regular information with your client base?
  • A complex solution: Are you wanting something more serious… like an online course or a online shop?

2015.07.24_SetUpWebsite_Series2_PIN_InspiredbyEmma

Next up… Who is creating this website for you?

  1. Outsource it
    • You’ll outsource website design if you want to get it done fast, you’re happy to pay for someone who has expertise, who can advise you, and who will take you through the minefield… making sure that the solution works for you.
    • I would still take a look at going wordpress… it will help you scale long term!
  2. DIY Baby
    • The one thing you have is time… money is something you’re limited with… so you want to DIY this thing the whole way, baby! Sure… but put your seatbelt on… it’s gonna be a learning curve [don’t ever say that I lied to you].
  3. Combo [Outsource some, and DIY the rest]
    • You could also look at getting some knowledgeable peeps to help you set some basics up, and then you can take over and make the magic happen…

In each of the steps along the way… I’m going to chat you through my thoughts on Outsourcing, DIY’ing as well as the free vs paid options…

What are my options?

The “how to create a website” infographic above was created to help anyone and everyone [and is pretty darn handy]. You, however, are a DreamDoing entrepreneur/solopreneur, who more than likely doesn’t have a large budget / developers in her back office.  

So here are my [super humble] thoughts… on which are the best options in each of these situations… But if you have had a more fab experience with another provider, please feel free to share it in the comments section below [again, I’m not a web developer, just sharing what I have learnt along the way]:

A 1 page business website:

You just want to make sure that when someone Googles your company name… something of yours shows up… you want a one pager – that will give them contact details to get in touch with you!

  • Outsource it:
    • If you are going to outsource the one page… it doesn’t matter what format they create it in.
    • But if you are wanting that business page to potentially grow into a website down the line… you’d want the designer to set it up as a wordpress site… that way, when you are ready for your 3-5pager, blog, or online store… you have the right foundation set up
  • Combo:
    • If you are spending some money asking peeps to help you get the foundations right… go wordpress.
    • That way you can load an easy to manage theme that you can customise down the line, and turn it into your website of choice.
  • DIY:
    • If you are wanting the easy route [and you are only planning on having a blog – no store/member site]… I would suggest squarespace… it’s easy to customise, they give you your own URL [vs the free options like blogger/blogspot] which will make you come across more professionally… it comes in at $8 per month.
    • If you’re ok with a bit of a learning curve… opt for WordPress

 

3 – 5 Page Website:

For you, a website of 3 – 5 pages is all you need.

You want to outline the basics of who this company is, what you offer, and how potential clients can make contact with you.

You want to cover a bit more than what would fit on one page, but you don’t want to go and set up a blog, an online store, or a member site… just the basics will be fine, thank you!

  • Outsource it:
    • A cost for this kind of website – expect to pay around R3000 – R10 000, depending on what you’re looking for.
    • I would suggest you go wordpress, that way you can grow it to have the blog / shop / membership sites “bolted on” down the line.
  • DIY Please:
    • Free: I suggest avoiding free options altogether [many go with blogger, or wix… which are great for personal blogs, but not if you want your business to be taken seriously].
    • Quick easy set up… go for squarespace [$8per month] – but know it has limitations long term [i.e. store/member site]… But if you’re looking for something that’s easy to customise, and they give you your own URL [vs the free options like blogger/wix]
    • If you’re ok with a bit of a learning curve… opt for WordPress! It will grow with you, and the options are endless [plus… you could opt for the “combo” option.
  • Combo maybe?
    • I suggest getting someone to load wordpress and your theme [which we chat about later].

The Blog:

You want to Blog, share your thoughts, knowledge, and all the goodness you create!

  • Outsource it:
    • Get someone to set you up with WordPress.
    • The Functionality will serve you well in time… because you will more than likely want to grow it further!
  • DIY Baby:
    • If you want to just write a blog, with articles… but monetising your blog, selling products or services is not your long term goal [or you’re ok with outsourcing it] then squarespace is your option.
    • Ideal for long term stability… go wordpress. There will be a steep learning curve, but there are ways around that, the customising you can do – is awesome, and there are more plugin’s to play with!
  • Combo
    • This is another great way that you can get someone to load the bare bones [wordpress and a theme] and then you can customise the theme later.

Have a more complex site in mind?

You’re wanting to incorporate a store on your website, or you’re thinking of having an online course, or you like the idea of a membership site… or maybe you want some fancy things to happen on your site?

Then wordpress is your best option… with a kick ass theme/plugin!

But let’s cover some of the Store + Online course items you’ll need to bolster onto your WordPress Site:

Store:

  • Don’t want to have your store on your website – here are some options for you – they usually let you host for free, and take a cut of your sales [call it commission]:
  • Want to include your store on your website:

Online course:

  • You can sell your online course through third parties, like Gumroad or selz or soundcloud, or udemy
  • Or bring your course into the backend of your website… my Dream+DO Project is on my website [and I use a membership plugin called wishlist member, but have heard great things about sensei too]
  • You can also get membership sites professionally designed for you.

Overall…

If you want to read more on the difference between wordpress and squarespace… take a look here and here.

I always suggest WordPress as a point of preference, it’s what I use, the options are endless, there are many plugins to help you along the way [although stick to recommended plugins – as some are dodge], and you have all the control.

It’s very important to note: There are two wordpress websites [just to confuse the likes of you and I]… both are free and have a similar logo too [I mean, seriously], but the wordpress.org option is the one you’re interested in [that’s the one you have control over]

 

If you can’t be asked to have to worry about too many nitty gritty’s… and you don’t plan to take the site further… you’ll probably be very happy with squarespace.

Getting set up on Squarespace:

What are the costs: As far as I understand – $8 per month [which includes your hosting, and the theme – see below]

$96 for the year [if you pay upfront], and $144 for the year [if you pay monthly]

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 10.55.21 AM

Regina takes you through the process of uploading Squarespace here.

 

Getting set up on WordPress:

What are the costs?

WordPress is Free to download,

You will need to buy your URL [about $10 for the year]

You will need someone to Host your website [about $6 per month on Bluehost* and $11.74 on Hetzner]

You will then download a Theme [I use Divi – by Elegant Themes* is $69 for the year]

= $144 for the year [or $219 through Hetzner… Eek… Time to review that]

Getting it set up:

They say it takes about 5 minutes… if you’re not a techy, it may take longer.

Download your free version of wordpress here.

Ps… Avoid the DIY, by asking a designer [or someone on fiverr]  to do this for you.

Once you’ve downloaded WordPress, you need to install it!

If you’ve chosen to go with Hetzner, then your installation guide is here and the BlueHost installation guide is here

Once you’re done, you should get something like this:

Then, once you’ve logged in…

Welcome to the back end of your website!

You’ll control your whole website from this space…

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 8.21.08 PM

 

In the next post in our series… we’ll tackle Customising your website, and making it look pretty!!!