You have a few options to choose from when it comes to building a website for your typical small business:
- Hire a web designer.
- Online website builders.
- Build it yourself.
… There are pros and cons to each option, letâ€™s look at them one by one below.
Beforehand, let me give you my best advice:
Learn a little web design so that you can make smart decisions about your own site, regardless of the method you choose to build and maintain your website. More on that below …
Hire a Web Designer
Since you are paying someone else to do the bulk of the work, this option will save you time. Another advantage, is that you donâ€™t have to learn too much either … but there are a few things to consider:
- This is the most expensive option.
- You will have to find a good and honest web designer.
- You will have to pay a web designer every time you need to make a change to your site. Guess what, web sites are in need of updating all the time … it is just the nature of the beast.
The most common problem I see for the non-web-nerd small business owner hiring someone, is that they are at the mercy of the web designer or web programmer – whether they (the web professional) be honest or not.
If you as the small business owner, does not understand the basics of web design, if you donâ€™t understand your options, you will have no idea if the web designer your are hiring is making wise choices, or if they are taking for a ride … if you follow what I mean. Yes, some web designers can be as crooked as a Wall Street banker!
I personally believe it is worth someoneâ€™s time to understand at least the basics of web design, because this small investment will save them a lot of money and frustration … in the long and short run.
Online website builders (click and build websites)
Web site builders are basically websites that your rent from some company for a monthly fee. They have a bunch of templates that you can configure through their online (i.e. they run in your web browser) web builder software:
- change colors
- change text
- upload your images
… And then they host the web site for you, for a monthly fee. This is the easiest option, but also the least flexible: you are limited by their templates and their softwareâ€™s ability to customize. You will find that the monthly hosting fees are more expensive than normal web hosting.This still might be a good option for your small business, if you just need something really simple that you want to get up quickly.
KillerSites provides a web site builder … if that makes sense for you.
But if you want a website where you will have more control over how it looks and runs, or you want to be able to develop it over time … maybe have a shopping cart system, or build a community made up of your clients, you will be very limited with website builders.
Build it Yourself
This is the website building option with the most:
- Itâ€™s the most time consuming option.
- Itâ€™s the most flexible option.
- Itâ€™s the most cost effective option.
As I mentioned in my summary at the beginning of the article, I can tell you from experience, that learning just a little web design is well worth the effort.
For example, just recently Iâ€™ve seen an eager-beaver entrepreneur spend over $70 000 hiring a few web designers and web programmers to produce his vision of (of a website/application) … the problem is, that he had no real web design knowledge, so it was like the blind leading the blind … the project crashed and burned before it even got off the ground due to the websites terrible structure, design and code.
If he had some basic web design and web design process skills, he could have built the project for only $10 000 (rather than $70 000!) … and then, he would have watched it crash and burn!
… The idea wasnâ€™t to good to begin with.
Anyway … Iâ€™d rather burn through $10 000 rather than $70 000 in figuring out my business idea sucked!! Believe me, Iâ€™ve had web based business ideas that where never good BUSINESS ideas to begin with.
Web Design Tools you can Leverage:
If you had to design a site from scratch, it could be a daunting task. But fortunately, these days you have many options to choose from in terms of the web design tools that you can use to make the job of creating a professional looking website easier.
The two most important are:
- Web templates – which are basically prefabricated websites that you can modify.
- Content management systems like WordPress and Joomla.
You can learn about using web templates and content management systems in our courses.
Learning Web Design – the easy way!
Learning to build a website is not nearly as hard as you might think – if you have the right training and the right approach. I’ve put together a training package specifically for small business that does two things:
- Teaches practical web design quickly.
- Teaches you a streamlined method of creating websites.
… Yes, I am promoting one of my products but, the course is built with you (the small business owner) in mind.
Here are few links that you might find interesting:
- Small business owners must learn HTML and CSS.
- Small business web design roadmaps.
- Why web design ignorance is bad for business?