Every small business person needs to get online. Specifically you need a website. This is the beginning and gets you going but it’s not the only thing. It’s just a start. To get you started Lifehacker sponsors a year of website hosting and Dreamhost for $20.
It’s confusing all that’s needed to do. But to get a website up and running you need the following:
- A domain name – like www.acmesmallbusiness.com
- A service to ‘sponsor’ your domain name – like Namecheap or hostgator
- A service to host your website – this is a bit confusing because someone ‘hosts’ your domain name and then someone else ‘hosts’ our website. These are two different things. The first one is like your birth certificate registration and you have to renew it annually (or you can pay for multiple years). The second is running your web pages on a physical server somewhere. You edit them and add things to it.
Those alone don’t get you a website. Now you have to get the content; pages, images, text and content etc.
This takes planning and work and a site designer can’t do it alone. They need your input, your pictures or what types of pictures. They need sample content or information. Are you selling or advocating something? What tone do you strike? What is the quality level you want/need? Paying more doesn’t necessarily get something closer to what you want. Allow yourself a few weeks to get this right.
Your best bet is to look at similar websites. Competitors or partner sites. Look at templates and get style ideas. It’s like decorating your home or your store. You can get advice from a designer but you need to get them pointed in the right direction.