Editor’s note: We recently sat down to chat with our very own site builders guru, Sandeep Grover, about the benefits of DIY website building and how to get started. Here’s what he had to say...
Q: What are the benefits of building your own website?
A: A few years ago, the thought of building your own website was daunting and it was easier to offload that task to someone else. However, with the advancement in technology, there are a lot of tools out there that make basic website building as easy as writing an email. Here’s why you should consider building your own site:
Cost. You’re likely to come in under budget when you build your own site. You can spend less than $10 per month to do it yourself, as opposed to the hundreds or thousands you might pay a professional designer.
Control. Building your website is like building your home, which means that you’ll always be updating and maintaining it. You might plan to run some specials around a specific event like Mother’s Day, for example, so you’ll want to update your home page. When you build your own site, you’re empowered to make those kinds of changes on the fly — as opposed to chasing a contractor around to update your site every now and then.
Q: What’s your best recommendation for website first-timers?
A: Have a plan in place — that's the biggest thing. Here's the big picture:
Get a great name first. Every website needs a domain name, and your first step should be to get a name that describes you and your business.
Choose the right provider. Some providers specialize just in tools that might help you build a site. Others will provide you with everything you need, including a domain and the best website building tool. Ensure that your provider has 24/7 customer support, as inevitably there will be times you will need to speak to someone on the phone. At the end of the day, you want to have a good night’s sleep and not worry about your website issues.
Start small and grow with time. Building a website should not be hard. Start small. Create two to three important pages for your website and publish it. Think about your personal story, how you got started, what your customers say about you, and put that info on your site. Also, spend an hour or two each month thinking about what updates you can make to keep your site fresh.
Q: Is there a checklist to help newbies get started?
Build a simple plan. Draw inspiration from other websites you admire and use it to build your own original plan.
Consider your images. Compelling images are an important part of any website. Most site builders come with simple tools to clean up and polish your images.
Tell your own story in your own style. Make sure to hit upon your unique story and why your customers love you.
Connect your social presence to your site. You’ll want to integrate your Facebook®, Twitter®, Google+™ and other social profiles into your website. Doing so will help you build relationships with your customers and drive traffic to your site.
Make getting in touch easy. Don’t overlook putting your primary contact info on every page of your site.
Get feedback. Don’t worry about your site being perfect it the first time around. Building your website will be iterative. Publish and launch early and get feedback from others on what can be improved.
Look good, all around. You want your website to look great and function at its best wherever people are looking at it — on their desktops, tablets, or smartphones.
Ready to get started? Take a look at some of your website building options.