Creating Your Website
When it comes to creating a website, you need to invest a lot of care and attention – the right kind of care and attention. Just because someone can code HTML or PHP does not mean they can build an effective website for your business. The website you use to represent your business online needs to be built carefully, after much thought and research, and hopefully with the help of someone who understands what they’re doing.
Building Your Site
Ideally, before you create a website, you need to answer a solid list of questions to make sure you have all the information you need. I found a wonderfully comprehensive list of excellent questions to work through at this site: How to build a good website
Once you’ve worked through those questions, you’ve got two choices: You can build it yourself or hire someone to do it for you.
Do It Yourself
If you want to build the site yourself, do not get sucked into these all-in-one programs that offer you hosting, domain name, and a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website builders. Often the support is lousy, your options are limited (unless you’re willing to pay out more money) and the price is high. You also can’t move your site if you choose to go with a different hosting company. I always recommend self hosting a “WordPress” site. They’re easy to use, nearly any teenager could help you manage it if you’re stuck, and they can be moved. If you’re completely overwhelmed, I’ll go back on what I said above about an “all-in-one” and recommend that you go with Free Blog Factory* which is a wordpress site that offers hosting and domains in addition to lots of wordpress support. I would still purchase the domain name elsewhere.
Hire Someone to Do It For You
If someone is going to build the site for you, make sure the content is yours when it’s done (so that you’re not permanently “attached” to the company that built it), and you have access to the site to make your own changes. Make sure the “back office” (the part you deal with to make those changes) is easy to manage, and make sure you know how to make those changes yourself.
Also (and this is VERY important) make sure the person who builds it understands marketing, and isn’t just someone who knows how to build a website.
Here’s a great worksheet to work through before you hire someone so that they have all the information they need to do a great job: Web Design Checklist
Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask!