Join Brad Batesole for an in-depth discussion in this video Building a site yourself, part of Online Marketing Fundamentals.
Before we go further into the overview of building your own website, I suggest asking yourself a fundamental question. Can I afford to spend my time building a website? Now, I'm not saying there isn't a lot of value in doing it yourself, but depending on your current skill set, you may have a lot of learning ahead of you. The knowledge you'll gain is valuable, but only if you can't invest your time more effectively in other ways. What I'm really trying to say is building a website can take a lot of time. It can be hard work and it'll have a lot of moving pieces. Weigh out the pros and cons of this DIY project before jumping in.
Remember, your website is the most important piece of your online real estate. So if you're going to roll up your sleeves and build it yourself, be ready to invest the time to do it right, or give yourself an exit strategy if you end up in over your head. There are many routes to building websites. You can learn to program, design, and build your site from scratch. You can explore pre-built templates or online web applications that will build it for you and you can even implement semi-custom solutions that are a little blend of everything. If you're looking for solid results without the need to learn everything about web development, I suggest looking into WordPress.
You can create powerful websites on WordPress without learning much coding. With a huge library of custom plugins, an endless amount of predesigned templates and a very thorough knowledge base, you can build and manage some really great websites. WordPress used to be used mainly by bloggers, but it's really evolved over the past few years as a very capable content management system. I find it intuitive to use, easy to scale, and you can even delegate management responsibilities with it's user account capabilities. WordPress is free for self-hosted projects and is ad supported if you have wordpress.com host it for you.
They have hosted plans suitable for businesses starting at around 99 dollars per year, which allow you to have a custom domain name, no advertisements and access to advanced options. What's great with WordPress is you'll find tons of premium templates to get you a foundation for your new website. A quick Google search for WordPress templates will leave you with ample options, but I recommend taking a look at themeforest.net. With over 4500 WordPress templates, you're bound to find something suitable and you can even read the reviews and contact the developer for advanced support if you run into any issues.
WordPress themes are easy to install and most of them come with responsive designs out of the gait, getting you a head start with your mobile marketing. You'll find more about hosted sites at wordpress.com and for downloading and installing WordPress on your own server, you'll want to explore wordpress.org. Lynda.com also has some great WordPress resources so be sure to use those to your advantage if you take this route. Now if you're looking for an even simpler route take a look at squarespace.com. You'll pick from a selection of modern layouts and then customize each element by using a site building wizard.
Prices start around 8 dollars a month and increase from there depending on your needs. The results are nice and it's easier to set up than WordPress if you consider yourself a novice. Both WordPress and Squarespace have eCommerce options if you're doing any sort of online selling. They're not a core focus for these brands so if you're going the eCommerce route I'd check out another popular site called shopify.com. They make it really easy to build and launch your eCommerce project, plus they've got credit card acceptance built right in. You'll want to explore the different pricing options and the fees associated with each, but the time and cost savings are worth it in many situations.
Now, I've only listed a few options, but whether you leverage those routes or another route you discover, remember to think through the total time investment to get your site up and running. Even a simple site on WordPress can takes weeks of tinkering to get off the ground. As you build your site be sure to leverage the other concepts in this chapter on effective website building and creating web copy as they'll help to increase the likelihood your new site succeeds.
- What is online marketing?
- Exploring the components of digital marketing
- What makes a website effective?
- Working with a designer or developer
- Creating engaging web copy
- Choosing responsive design
- Understanding online analytics
- Using goal and event tracking
- Exploring the conversion funnel
- Defining key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Understanding SEO techniques
- Conducting keyword research
- Creating a content strategy
- Leveraging local SEO
- Understanding who's on social media
- Marketing with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest
- Creating compelling video marketing campaigns
- Building an email marketing plan
- Measuring the success of your marketing efforts
- Setting up a blog
- Running A/B marketing tests
- Looking at affiliate marketing