Building your own website seems like a great idea. I tried it many years ago; I’d had over 30 years’ experience in IT and thought I had the skills it took to build a real cracker using the hoster’s own website building tool. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
After creating what I thought was a quality website I discovered after a year or so just how many mistakes I had built into it, mistakes that were more easily fixed by rebuilding it from scratch. It set me on the course that has led me to my business model for Inala Technology Solutions.
If you watch the telly ads or use the Internet you will see ads from the various hosting companies touting their own website builder - it all looks very easy. Just do this, that, and the other and lo and behold, you have a website that before you know it is making you money.
Now for a dose of reality. Do you really understand what these ads tell you? Do you know anything about the version of HTML you should be using? What about W3C? Are these ads being honest? Would you even know? Don’t worry, I’m not being patronising - you shouldn’t have to know this stuff, after all websites aren’t your business or you wouldn’t be reading this article.
Let’s look a little more closely at the opportunity for building your own website:
Essentially there are three ways to build a website:
- use a hoster’s own website builder;
- use a commercial builder software package;
- use a website company to build a bespoke website for you.
Point C comes at considerable expense, varying anything from £1,000 upwards. I know of very simple websites that have cost £2,000! There are cheaper ways than this, that’s for certain.
Let’s look a little closer at the first two choices for building your own website:
- Sure, a hoster’s website building option is cheap, but we all know the old saying, ‘buy cheap, buy twice’. Hoster’s building solutions have two main problems. The first is that if you use it and then decide to change hoster for whatever reason you will have to build a new website because the original website builder is not available on the new hoster. The other problem is that most of these so-called builders offer you up to 4 or 5 pages, and are relatively inflexible with limited usefulness or not very pretty functionality. Yes, you will have a website but it will be difficult to optimise for search engines - to do this you will most likely have to purchase the hoster’s own SEO tools in addition to building the site. The other problem is that these will not work if you need an ecommerce website. For that there are way better options that can be effective while being low cost, or you can always get someone to build it at significant cost - a good idea if you have unlimited financial resources. All in all, hoster’s builders are not particularly appealing options.
- There are many packages that will enable you to build a very effective website. Most such as Joomla and Drupal require significant skills including programming. There are very many options for you to choose so which is best? Without knowledgeable assistance this is an unanswerable question and so becomes guesswork. Perhaps you have a friend that can give you advice but it will not be definitive and could send you down the wrong path. For my money WordPress is a great option. It powers 23% of the world’s websites; it is robust and has a great development community around it that provide excellent themes and masses of additional functionality in easily installable and usable units called plugins. I have been using WordPress for a number of years now and have not been able to find a function that a plugin, either free or at a small cost, cannot do for me. This fact alone has been quite a revelation to me as it means that there is rarely a need to get your hands dirty with deeply technical things and certainly require no programming! If you choose the right hosting provider they will be glad to help you with anything you don’t understand. The only word of caution I would add is that, as with any website building exercise, you ought to understand at a high level at least what is happening behind the buttons you press. That way you will be better able to maintain your website.
I have seen people building their own websites from scratch for the first time ever (myself included) but the resultant product is frequently less than satisfactory. They have problems with its structure, updating it, search engine optimisation (its findability in searches) and other niggles that become quite frustrating in due course.
An excellent alternative to either trying to build it yourself or paying a lot of money for a bespoke website is to get in touch with me. Giving you a jump start to your website, I can put together a competent, good-looking site that will fill your needs and enable you to be properly findable by search engines (the whole reason you get new hits). I will use an appropriate theme and functionality to give you the website you need, be it informational or ecommerce. With a properly configured website, in conjunction with instructions in its use you will be able to manage your own website quickly and effectively.
Ready to know more?
Drop us a line - I'll be happy to help guide you to success!