If you own a small business, it’s essential to have an online presence. A website ensures your customers can find you, establishes your brand and credibility, markets your business, and expands your reach to a wider audience. But, you’re a business owner, you likely don’t know much about building a website, and you probably don’t have a ton of time to figure it out. Luckily, you’ve got a few options to make your perfect business site happen.
The main factors informing your decision about whether or not to build your own website are cost, customization, time, difficulty, and ongoing maintenance.
Code it yourself
If you want complete control of your website layout, then manually creating HTML and CSS is your best choice. To code your own site, you can either learn HTML, and hand-type the tags, or you can use an HTML-writing WYSIWYG program like Dreamweaver.
HTML is a coding language that controls the layout of your pages. If you’re interested in learning HTML, W3Schools has great fundamentals available here.
WYSIWYG editors work much like word processors. You enter your website text and insert images from a menu in the program. The editor produces the HTML to make sure what you see on the screen matches what a visitor sees on your website.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is also a useful coding language to learn, since you can use it to control your website’s appearance. The style sheet controls placement and style elements for a Web browser to display your page. You control fonts and paragraph width with your CSS.
Learning HTML and CSS just to create one website is a large investment of your time. However, coding it yourself will save you some money. Your costs involved for this method include your domain name, hosting services, and perhaps a WYSIWYG editor. If you choose not to use the WYSIWYG editor, you can find free HTML editors online, which let you hand-code the HTML.
Hire a web professional
If you have an idea of the site you want, but don’t want to build it yourself, consider having a professional build it for you. This is the most expensive route to get online. Most freelance designers typically charge somewhere between $500 and $1,500 for a simple site, whereas larger design firms usually cost from $2,000 to $5,000. Additionally, a professional designer will likely either host your site on his or her server or sign up for a hosting plan on a third party site. Either way, you’ll probably still have to pay a monthly hosting fee, in addition to the cost of your website design.