There are a number of different ways, and levels of expense, to create a website. You can have someone build and maintain it for you. This is usually the most expensive but the least time consuming way. The drawback is that you have no control. And without some knowledge of what you need and what it should cost you, you could be taken advantage of.
You can have it built by someone else who will teach you how to make changes and maintain it. They will usually continue as a fee-based consultant for those times when you run into problems and need help. This can be less expensive over the long term, is more time consuming for you, and allows you to have some control depending on how much you wish to learn.
The third option is to build your own site. And once again, there are several options. When creating my first website, my business hadn’t grown enough to allow me to pay someone. But what was of greater concern for me was that I wanted total control. The trade-off was time. The first website was built on a “free” service and wasn’t beautiful but I learned the basics.
After a few months, I made the decision to move it from the free server to my own domain and to learn how to build it myself from the ground up. I purchased Front Page and several dummie type books and dug in. I joined a google group about Front Page where my questions could be answered, and the site began evolving.
Knowing how important search engines are for providing traffic, once again I learned how to do it myself. There are many companies out there begging for your business, guaranteeing they can put you on page one of google by optimizing your site. Some are legitimate. Many are not. But no one can guarantee you a position on page one of google unless they pay for a Pay Per Click ad and then you’re not in the organic search results–you’re in the ads.
I am the kind of person that doesn’t want to hire someone to do something for me when I have no idea of whether or not I’m being taken for a ride. Optimizing is not hard. It’s just knowing how to do it and taking the time to implement what you know. There are free classes online and books available if you are willing to invest the time.
Fast forward a few years and I can honestly say that doing it myself was the very best decision I could have made. I now own a number of different websites, all of which I’ve built and optimized myself. Believe me, it’s a wonderful feeling when those orders come rolling in and you know that you did it!
But my decision may not be the best one for you. Each has to weigh the pros and cons and decide what is best for themselves. For those of you who have the desire to step out into website building, here are several options that are currently available to make it easier for you.
Microsoft, the creator of FrontPage, now offers their newest website building program called ExpressionWeb. If you would like to try it with little cost, for a limited time Microsoft has a page listing web hosts that are offering a free copy of Expression Web v2 with 60 days of free hosting. For this offer, see http://www.microsoft.com/web/ jumpstart/ platinum- hosting/default. aspx for more information.
If you would like to have someone build a site for you and hold your hand as they teach you how to maintain it, I recommend Laura Wheeler of Firelight Web Creations. Located in Wyoming, she can be reached at [email protected] . She’s honest, patient, and has worked with several members of GiftBasketNetwork either building or rebuilding their sites.
If you want easy, you might take a look at ProStores. They say that ProStores has everything you need to start selling online today- shopping cart, domain hosting, merchandising, reporting, and more! I build my own sites so haven’t used it but it does appear to be everything it says it is. Check it out and decide for yourself.
Regardless of which option you go for, in today’s world, every business should have some form of internet presence.