Starting a website is a lot easier than it sounds. You don’t have to spend thousands or wait six months for a web designer to fit you in. I totally understand that building your own website isn’t for everyone, so I hope this post serves as a list of possible options for your upcoming endeavor.
As a note, this post does contain some affiliate links to the resources I have listed.
Decide on the Type of Website (& Functionality) You Need
First, you need to decide on the type of business you’re going to build and what you need the site to do. There are ENDLESS options here, but if you’re looking up how to start a website, you most likely have this one figured out.
The options range from a blog to an ecommerce shop and everything in between.
This website is running on WordPress and is hosted through GoDaddy. There is also a free version of WordPress here.
My House Cleaning Business in Fresno (sold) was also operated on WordPress, but I have software installed that goes to a booking system outside of wordpress.
All of my apparel businesses operate on Shopify. I have used Big Commerce and Woocommerce in the past and would use them both again. I have just found Shopify to have all of the bells and whistles I need. Additionally, none of my Shopify sites have ever been hacked and I feel good knowing that my customers data is secure.
So, ask yourself what you want to do with your website and that will help you figure out where you want to go from there. You can operate an ecommerce business on just about any platform. You don’t need to subscribe to an ecommerce platform.
My Favorite Website Platform Options
If you’re blogging:
If you’re building an ecommerce shop:
- WordPress with Woocommerce
If you’re creating a subscription box:
If you’re a coach:
- WordPress with a Side of Teachable
- WordPress with a Side of Learnpress
- Acuity for Scheduling (There are others as well.)
If you’re offering a service:
Every service is very different. If you’re selling content, you might want to charge per word or per project. Maybe you’re a consultant or need to book time for appointments or work. Almost every industry has it’s own specific tools they prefer to use. You can Google search for a platform that you can use with your existing site or in place of it.
I might talk more about what I like with each of these platforms in future posts.
What is Your Goal With The Site?
When you’re considering building a website, the goals you have for the site are paramount. You want to be able to grow. This is one of the major reasons I recommend Shopify for anyone serious about their ecommerce business. I have seen people have uber successful WordPress/Woocommerce shops, but the features in Shopify for reporting, exporting, bulk fulfilling, fulfillment services, shipping and tracking. Gosh, it just can’t be beat.
For my house cleaning business, I knew that I could use a paper calendar if I wanted to stick to a budget. I also knew that I wanted people to be able to book themselves, my staff to be able to see upcoming jobs, accept or decline work, update their schedules and track their time and charge my clients without having to constantly ask for their cc number. I needed something that met all of that criteria.
I recommend that you write a list of EVERYTHING you want or need your website to do before you jump in. That list will help you determine which direction you should go.
Do I Really Need All of The Security, Special Hosting and SSL Certificates?
I can tell you from first hand experience that losing a site to a hacker is not fun. It’s really not fun when you didn’t have a back-up. Having all of the standard items in place BEFORE you launch is uber important. Additionally, Google and many other search engines have been pushing sites without that https in front of it down in the search engines AND switching over from http to https after you’ve already started sharing your site has caused major traffic drops for many of my mompreneur friends.
If you’re using an ecommerce platform like Shopify, the security and SSL is built in. There’s no need for the extra steps.
The Next Steps
Once you have decided what kind of website you need to meet the requirements of your business idea, it’s time to start digging in.
- Brainstorm for business name ideas.
- Check your domain name and social availability.
- Search for trademarks.
- Find a theme or hire a developer.
If you aren’t sure where to even start with any of this, I take limited website builds on every year. The packages range from straight up website builds based on your idea to full-packages complete with research, product development, SEO and more.