Updated: Oct 11, 2019
What You Will Need
1/ A Domain Name
The domain of your website is basically its address - www.bewowedhere.com
2/ A Website Host
In order to see the website, to go in and click around, you’re going to need a web hosting service.
The web host is like a shop landlord and your website is the shop you are renting from them.
The domain name tells us where to go, the web host allows us to have a space to show off our wares.
Where to Find Them
You may have heard of GoDaddy, Bluehost, HostGator, WiX, Squarespace, Weebly… In addition to providing domain names (domain name ‘registrars’) these companies also host websites.
How Do I Make it Look Good and Serve its Purpose
Some web hosts give you the tools to create the look of your website too. Brilliant if the words code or coding make you flinch, perhaps because of the cost and because it can’t be controlled by yourself; you don't want to rely on a web developer time-wise or money-wise.
Squarespace, Showit, Wordpress, WiX and many more offer simple templates which you can adapt to your needs. If you are looking to create place for your blog or an information page you can be up and running in a matter of hours and you’ll be in control of editing it yourself. WiX is very intuitive to use, which makes it easy to get creative and experiment with looks and layouts as you go.
Are You an SME?
If you are an SME with a brand to nurture and more information to show it is worth reading up on branding, perhaps taking a short course, before having a go at creating your own website using the free templates available from the companies mentioned above. Then map out the navigation of your site so that it is clear to your viewers what you offer. It can quickly become messy without good planning.
Designers, like myself, create more complex templates for companies to use, which can be edited to include your brand colours, logos and fonts. Other companies like me include Tonic, BrandUp and Propeller.. Pinterest is also full of templates to choose from - check that they have enough space for your contentIts important to consider your brand; your company values and tone.
How Much Am I Likely to Pay to Have My Website Online?
WiX, site123 and Wordpress (non template blog) allow you to set up a website for absolutely no cost, providing a free domain name (but which does feature their name e.g. www.auchenblaepreschool.wixsite.com/apsg or www.bakingfanatic.wordpress.com ) There will also be a small band advert at the top of your pages in WiX and 123 and random adverts will appear on your Wordpress blog.
The free WiX website is great for our local pre-school group who need to keep costs down but want to provide a great service including an informative website. Perhaps you just need a landing page (a simple webpage with no menu leading to other pages, usually used for information, an event or a promotion) where the address will not be shown as it will be reached via a link from an email or a message.
How Much Will My Website Cost Me Annually if I Have the Domain Name I Want (Without the .wixsite or .wordpress etc. Wording)?
Given that your name is available (and do try .co and .uk - they’re becoming more popular with the saturation of .com and .co.uk addresses; and show that you’re new and fresh!) you will next need to choose a web hosting package from your chosen host.
To take me as an example:
I went to GoDaddy to find my domain name www.rockonthehill.co.uk which I bought for three years at £15.99/year as part of a discounted price.
To have my website appear at rockonthehill.co.uk, I pay WiX to host it at £9.30 / month inc. VAT, which gives me plenty of storage to post blog posts and photos, with no ads, and a choice of many apps and features to show instagram feed, sell digital art, receive feedback etc.
Here is another payment plan example from SquareSpace:
What if I want to Sell Stuff Online?
In order to add a shop for selling shippable products or digital downloads you will need to sign up to a plan, as above. You would want an ‘official’ domain name for this type of site anyway, which as just mentioned involves buying a plan. Just check which plans include selling online. I am able to do this on my £9.30/month plan with WiX.
I started using WiX because I could set up a website for our local pre-school group for absolutely nothing apart from my time, which was volunteered. I then found out how easy it is to be creative with WiX as it’s a drag and drop process, which allowed me to stretch my creative legs in designing a website.
Then, I discovered that once the design is finished anyone can easily add blog posts, events or shop items without having to edit the overall look; just type, add pics and photos to your blog, shop or events app. - the format stays the same - and post! And this can be done via mobile on the WiX app.too. Super handy. The calendar, which is a useful tool for the pre-school parents, updates automatically from their Google calendar - so good! Their facebook feed too.
Now the pre-school group enjoys using the website to inform parents interested in the group and keeps parents of children at the pre-school up to speed with newletters, notices, fundraising and with events through the calendar. It strengthens the pre-school’s brand and makes it stand out amongst the less informative groups by continuously showing its credentials, proactiveness and expertise through blog posts and staff bios.
I hope this is helpful and has you excited about creating your own website!
WiX is great, have a look here:
WiX will throw me some cash if you eventually publish your own site having visited via this button! - a thank you for my explaining my experience to you, which I would do anyway.
If you are looking for something more complex and don’t have the time to devote to creating a website or don’t have an eye for design and branding then perhaps there’s a template I’ve designed to suit you here.
You’ll have the domain name and the web hosting to pay for annually, as mentioned above - the price shown on the templates is for the website design, ready to include your content and to be amended to include your logo and colour scheme.
If you need help with your content please check out the packages here:
Getting a free domain name with the package is great but it may be cheaper through another registrar: GoDaddy, GoogleDomains etc. It often amounts to pennies but you can transfer it after a year:
Which is very easy with so many registrars out there.