When they say 2015 is the year of the entrepreneur, they aren’t kidding! Many of us have turned to local resources or to Internet resources like Etsy to begin making a little extra income. But no matter how you’ve expressed your entrepreneurial spirit, you can often retain more of your earnings if you offer your products and services from your own website, rather than advertising them elsewhere.
Don’t worry, you won’t need to know how to write a single line of code; and we’ll help unravel all the mystery of getting from nothing to a fully-functional and published business website. Whether you’re an experienced small business owner or a young and improving entrepreneur hunting for tips and tricks of the trade, having your own website and learning to leverage it well can net you bigger earnings.
The best part? If you have a good idea of what you want, getting your own business website live can take less than a day. What we recommend for those wanting to create a website is to begin the process with a little planning.
1. Plan your website
You should run your website like you run your own business; and for most of us, that means planning. Compile a list of websites that do what you’d like yours to do: offer a service, sell items or offer advice. If you can, try to find ones that are also owned and operated by entrepreneurs. Research what menu items they have, how they organize their pages and how much — or how little! — is on the site.
Often, this’ll give you something like a, ‘Products/Services’ ‘About Us’ ‘Contact’ and ‘Blog’ at the very least. You might find that you want more; you might find that you want less. In all cases, once you know what pages you want to be on your menu, it’s time to begin writing! Write up all the content that would ideally appear on these pages. Edit them, ask friends to take a look and save them.
While you’re at it, now’s a good time to begin planning what pictures and photos you want to go where. Don’t have any? Consider purchasing stock photos or gently retouching your own photos. Make a folder to store photos in, and try to organize them by what page you’d like them to appear on.
2. Pick a website builder
Many websites these days aren’t built by a pro designer: they’re made with website builders like Wix, Squarespace or Weebly. There are dozens of website builders out there, and you need to pick which one is best for you.
Some are free to use, and offer cheap domains; some allow you to save your website’s text, images and data in case you decide that you want to switch services. Others have amazing, stunningly beautiful designed templates to use. Still others allow you to use a shopping cart function for nothing more than a small percentage on every transaction, rather than a flat monthly fee.
Browse the options and find the one that suits your needs. If you don’t have a lot of capital, you might pick one that lets you build for free, but has the drawback of not being able to transfer your work easily. If you offer luxury goods or services, you might pick a website builder that is paid and doesn’t have ecommerce options, but has stunningly beautiful themes. Ultimately, you want to find the theme that helps you optimize your website for your business.
Once you’ve selected your builder, make an account and start browsing their themes.
3. Select a theme for you
Remember all those competitor websites you browsed in the first step? Now you call upon those memories, remembering the best — and worst — looking ones. Find a theme that has a lot of the elements you liked, and none of those you didn’t, and select it to begin building.
From there, you usually enter a drag-and-drop interface to add your own text and photos into the theme and to create new pages. Since you already wrote most of your content in the first step, simply pop in what you’ve already got, remembering to save your progress frequently. Within minutes, you can take a look at what you’ve built!
Editing what you put in is easy should you find typos or decide to make small modifications. And guess what, budding entrepreneurs? Building a website for your own small business is really just that easy.