Maybe you have just started reading, maybe you have been reading for a while. Either way, in this day and age, having a presence on the web is key to getting the right clients. This week we'll talk about getting set up with your own website. Keep reading for some tips to get you started off.
Unless you are really great at web design and coding you are better off to choose a platform that allows you to drag and drop elements onto your page. Here are some of the sites I have used in the past (and currently)
This is the platform I have been using for the last couple of years. It is by far the EASIEST platform I have dealt with and offers lots of elements that you can just drag and drop. They recently added layouts to get you set up with basic page layouts super easy. You can make a really fantastic looking website for free, or you can upgrade to one of their plans that offers you extra features. For example, I pay $29 a month for the ability to have custom footers, set up shipping and tax rates and offer coupons. It also allows me to sell digital items available for immediate download. I do wish that the ECommerce portion offered a little more flexibility, like the ability to partially ship an order, or the ability to offer a loyalty program... but if you are selling online services it really isn't that bad. I notice it more on the Red Dragon Apothocary site then I do here on the Tarot site. There are decent site analytics and it is pretty easy to navigate. Support is pretty quick to respond too if you have any issues. You can host through Weebly or set up with your own domain name (more on that later) Click HERE to try Weebly for free, and if you publish a website, they will give you $10 to be used toward any premium plan.
I'm a little BLEH about this one. The have some amazing templates, and I do like that they have tons of apps that integrate into the site, but their drag and drop leaves something to be desired. For me it isn't as easy as the Weebly which can sometimes lead me to be overly frustrated. I'll admit that if you are running a hotel, B&B or something along those lines they do have some really cool booking software that you can use. The blog system is pretty good, pretty neck and neck with Weebly. I didn't like that their e-commerce options were plug-ins, and therefore were sort of seperate from the site, instead of really integrated into the look and feel of the site. Their comprable plan runs about $20/month, so a little cheaper then Weebly. However you must have a premium plan to use your own domain name - Weebly allows you to connect a domain even on their free plans. Click HERE if you would like to check them out. It does not appear at this time that they have any kind of signup promo.
Really I couldn't tell you about this one. The average plan is going to run you about $10/month, but unlike the other two options on our list this one doesn't seem to have an option to try the design aspect of things without paying for it. I'm happy enough with my other options that I don't see the need to spend money to re-invent the wheel. Their features list looks pretty consistent, so if you are going to use GoDaddy for your domain name this might be a viable option for you. Maybe some of our readers can offer their opinions on GoDaddy's website builder service... Where GoDaddy REALLY shines for me though is their domain name service. They are super easy to find your domain name (and you can now choose from dozens of extensions like .com, .org, .biz, etc..) I have now set up about eight websites ( I do some design work for other people too) and never paid more then $2 for a domain name. Do a web search for $0.99 GoDaddy Domain and you won't be disappointed! It is also super easy to connect a GoDaddy purchased domain with Weebly - almost completely painless. GoDaddy also offers something that I adore - OutRight Accounting. Although I got mine for free cause I am grandfathered in, even at $9.99/month it is well worth it. It connects to your PayPal, Etsy, Stripe, etc... to make categorizing income and expenses a snap. It estimates taxes to be submitted and at the end of the year even generates a Schedule C for your tax prep! They have even recently parnered with Dwolla to offer a payment processing option with a flat free of $0.25 per transaction, better then PayPal or Stripes rates ~ Awesomesauce!
Join us again when we will talk about what your website should look and feel like. Until then, start planning for your web presence now!
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