It is probably not impossible, but certainly difficult these days to conduct any kind of small business without a website that acts as your interactive window on the world.
For that website to continue to deliver all of the benefits and advantages of which it is capable, of course, it needs to be kept up to date.
Many cash-strapped small and medium-sized businesses may be missing out on the benefits of maintaining an up to date website, however, because of the perceived costs involved. Web designers, builders and administrators are expensive to employ.
But there is a ready and alternative that may prove simpler, more straight forward, and effective than you imagined – Do It Yourself, with readily available website tools.
According to UK Web Host Review on the 15th of April 2020, there are more than 50 different website builders you might use.
Through the use of suitable website tools, you can tackle building or updating your website yourself and still achieve professional results, within a matter of hours, and without spending the thousands of pounds that a website developer and builder is likely to charge.
Building your website
Two initial steps are required before you can build your website. If you are updating an existing site, you will already have done them:
- register a domain name – it needs to be unique, of course, and reflect your business or trading name as closely as possible – you can watch here for a video on how to set up your domain name;
- subscribe to a web host – your website needs to be hosted by a provider who is likely to charge a monthly fee for the service.
With your domain name registered and hosting arranged, you are ready to build or update your website using the website tools and templates that are readily available – together with loads of your own imagination and creative flair.
Many large, cooperative companies may choose when building their website to host it on leading rackmount servers for added control and reliability. This method of website hosting is recommended for those companies looking for full control of their site and who have the resources to run and maintain such a project.
Ready-made templates – or “themes” as they are called – relieve you of some of the basic layout and design considerations, yet still leave you enough flexibility to be creative.
Some templates are free to use, for others you may need to pay a fee – either way, the initial template is personalised with the information, style, and branding of your own business.
Using drag and drop builders
Other website tools and builders let you drag and drop your desired webpage elements into a blank space so that you can be creative as you like with the colours, fonts, text, and images.
Effectively, you are building your pages one block at a time – once again, populating them with information and images specific to your company and its brand.
Among the website tools likely to be included with any drag and drop builder are so-called plugins.
These are the buttons you have probably seen on many other sites. Examples might be the links which allow you to share to your chosen social media sites, visitor guest-books, and online forms allowing potential customers to add their names to your mailing lists.
Just as with the basic templates, some plugins are free to use. If you want greater freedom and creativity in your use of such features on your website, it may be worth paying the subscription charged by some providers.