If you have a business or an organization, you want to have a website. Your website will help people decide whether to get your help. It is easy and inexpensive to have an effective website, if you know the specific steps to take. Here are the basic steps to get your website up:
1. a domain name. Cost is about $10 per year.
2. a web host. This is a company that rents you space on a computer somewhere, on which you put up your web pages. Cost is about $10 to $20 per month.
3. a way to take words and images and turn them into web pages, including a way to add new pages and edit your existing pages. This is referred to as a content management system. WordPress is the market leader, followed by Drupal and Joomla. Cost is free.
4. an attractive appearance for your website. This is easily done by using a theme. Cost is about $100-$200.
5. an email list. For success, you can have a way to get people onto your email list. Then, you can remind them by periodic emails that you exist and have something to offer. Cost is free or $20 per month.
Step 1: get a domain name
A domain name costs about $10 per year. For a domain name registrar, I recommend:
Step 2: get a website host
Your domain name is really just a pointer in the big internet phone book, that says “yourdomainname.com” is really “122.34.567.89”. You will need a web host where you store your web pages. I recommend:
as a blue chip solution, about $20 per month;
as a reasonably-priced solution, about $9 or $5 per month.
There are cheaper alternatives.
Step 3: put up your first web pages
For your website, I recommend:
WordPress for content management, this is an easy install using your web host’s install program.
You want to start with a home page that says what problem you solve, what solution you offer, and a call to action e.g. a phone number to call or an email address to use for more information.
Step 4: appearance
This is very easy with a WordPress theme. For a professional appearance. I recommend:
Genesis themes from StudioPress,
Expect to pay about $100 or $200 for the theme. This is much cheaper than $1,000-$3,000 for a custom design. The two theme sources above are leading providers, with actual staff, not a solo programmer who may not continue after a couple of years.
Examples of WordPress sites using above themes:
You are on my main site, simmonstrialpractice.com and it uses one of the Genesis child themes.
I have a site under development,
using one of the Thrive child themes.
As you can see from what I have put up, my stuff tends to have a plain design. But you can get as fancy as you want.
Step 5: email list
For success, you can have a way to get people onto your email list. Then, by periodic emails you can remind them that you exist and have something to offer. Many people offer a free report that will help the best prospect, as a way to encourage the prospect to enter his or her email address.
Mailchimp is free for low volume, Aweber is about $20 a month for low volume.
There are very complicated and cumbersome solutions with no upper limit on how much you will have to spend on consultants to get it going, but you can start with a simple process, i.e. Aweber.
Note that some markets do not have repeat customers, so an email list may not work. The classic example is radon gas remediation. No one wants to hear about radon, except how to fix the problem now and never deal with it again. But in other markets, repeat business is most of the profits. The classic example is golf. Golfers are well known as repeat buyers.
If this page is helpful, or if you have questions, please let me know.
– E. J. Simmons