Everyone knows that a business – no matter how small – needs an online presence. It is easy for small business owners feel intimidated by the idea of developing a website. Generally, two things will happen – (1) They will contact a company to develop their online needs. Sometimes, this development is costly and leaves the business owner with a website that they cannot self-manage. (2) They will put off building a website due to the cost and intimidation factors.
To be completely honest with you, I was once very intimidated with the idea of creating my own website. While I may be the “go-to” gal for technology questions in my family, I am by NO MEANS someone who understands coding, etc. In the past, I tried to develop a website and I failed miserably. I couldn’t get anything to work…. and I gave up. Flashforward to 2017, I decided to pursue a hobby writing a travel blog (Travel Plus Family) and this time around, I discovered key pieces of information to make my website a success.
And now, I’m going to share this information with you!
Key Information for Developing a Website
For starters, I recommened small business owners develop a WordPress website. Fancy website developers are going to tell you that this is a horrible mistake, however, I disagree! WordPress is not just for bloggers. It is powerful and has the ability to have many different looks to it. For me the huge selling factor for WordPress is that management of the site is easy and within my hands. No coding involved.
To get your WordPress site up and running, will cost you less than $100. Yup, you read that right – LESS THAN $100 to create a website!!! It’s important to note that each year you will need to pay for your domain and hosting fees. While the price depends on the hosting package you chose, the average annual cost would be less than $75.
Here are the two companies that I highly recommend to help you with your website needs:
Step 1: SiteGround
The first step in your website development journey is to develop a relationship with SiteGround. This company has been instrumental in my own website success. Of course they have amazing hosting services. I’ve had zero downtime and absolutely no issues since contracting with them in 2017. But that isn’t why I thnk they are fantastic… I think SiteGround is fantastic due to their awesome (and patient) support team. When you sign-up with them, you will never feel like you are on this journey alone.
Here is how to get started:
- Go to SiteGround’s Website
- Click on Hosting > WordPress Hosting
- Select the best option for you (the basic plan will likely cover all the needs of a small business)
- SiteGround’s prompts will then walk you through the process
- Visit their help guide to complete your WordPress set-up
Note: If you get stuck at any point along the way, go to the Support tab and scroll all the way to the bottom where it says “Request Assistance From Our Team”, then select the area you need help with (I recommend clicking WordPress help). I always choose the online chat function and they have solved my issues 100% of the time.
Step 2: ThemeForest
The next step is to find a great theme using ThemeForest. A theme is similar to starting with a theme in Canva, etc. It provides a great layout for you to fully customize. Here are some live examples of themes from ThemeForest:
- Travel Plus Family uses “Look: A Fashion and Beauty News, Magazine, & Blog WordPress Theme” by Theme-Ruby
- This theme is very easy to use. From a menu, I select the features I want to see and then add my own unique feel via Pages and Menu.
- Shrinking Violet Consulting uses “Avada: Responsive Multi-Purpose Theme” by ThemeFusion
- This theme was harder to learn, but I’m in love with it now. Once you learn it, then it is easier than the Look theme.
Here is how to get started:
- Go to ThemeForest’s Website
- In search box, type in “Mobile Responsive” (because you want a theme to look good on the PC and on mobile devices)
- Select the best option for you (check out their live previews to get a good feel of the theme)
- After you purchase the theme, the company will email you the file and instructions on how to upload
- Typically the theme will come with 6 months of support – USE IT
Time & Energy
All the money you need to spend is with SiteGround and ThemeForest – however, any website is going to take your time and energy! Week 1, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the thought of designing this by yourself. But TRUST ME, after week 2, you’ll get the hang of it. Then, overtime, you’ll feel super comfortable with your website management.
If you get stuck, don’t forget to reach out to SiteGround and/or your theme provider. They have helped me TONS! If you get super stuck, then consider reaching out to Shrinking Violet Consulting for us to help you build your website and then teach YOU how to manage it going forward.