April 17, 2015

What kind of website do you need?

Alright, so you know you need a website for your business, right? If not, read this to understand why it’s important.

The next step is figuring out what kind of website you should have.

There are a fair bit of platforms out there which allow you to build your website yourself for free and with a reasonably easy user interface. Amongst them are WeeblyWix and Google’s own free blogging platform Blogger.

So why not use them instead? Why do you need someone like me?

The answer can be given using a single word: CONTROL

control photo

This is something that you simply don’t have with any of these free platforms.

Sure, you can put almost anything you want on your website with some of these free platforms (subject to certain restrictions) and that might give you the illusion that you are in control.

Unfortunately, this is all that it is. An illusion!

Let me ask you this:

What happens if the providers of these free platforms go out of business?

What happens if they change their business model and start charging you like a wounded bull or put ads all over your website (for which you don’t get paid anything)?

What happens if they no longer like the content you have on your website or the products or services you sell?

What happens if you are located in a country that their government no longer likes?

What happens If Google decides there are just too many spammers on their service and as a result removes ALL sites hosted with them from their index?

This is a lot more likely than you may think due to the fact that with these services, the website platform and the hosting are bundled together and cannot be separated which means a few ‘bad apples’ can cause EVERYONE using the service to get punished.

What happens if you decide you want to take your website elsewhere because their service has become unreliable or you simply need to add features their platform doesn’t offer?

Well, if any of that happens then unfortunately you’re in a bit of a pickle.

Sure, you got yourself a free website and it might even look great but not only are you not in control but you are actually being ‘held hostage’ in a sense by a single provider and a single product.

If you think you can live with that, I suggest you go and read Yolanda’s story (if you haven’t already) to understand what can happen without control.

 You still pay a price when you get a free website. This price is CONTROL! Click To Tweet

If having total control over your most important online asset is not at the top of your priorities (which it should be!), how about those 36 other reasons?

So what is the solution?

In the same way that the problem can be highlighted with a single word, the solution can also be highlighted by a single word.

That word is: WordPress.

What is WordPress?

While this video does a great job explaining what WordPress is to complete ‘newbies’, I don’t feel it does this amazing piece of software full justice so will add a few words of my own (I hope you don’t mind 😉 ).

WordPress has probably been the greatest innovation on the Internet since the creation of the web browser!

There is a common saying in the WordPress community which I think reflects that very well:

WordPress is both free & priceless

WordPress, which was originally created and is still developed and maintained to this day, by a global community of volunteers has completely revolutionised the process of creating websites and publishing on the web.

It now powers a quarter of the Internet and is used by millions of small businesses worldwide as well as many huge organisations such as CNN and NASA.

If WordPress is a good enough solution for the people who put a man on the moon and landed a bunch of robots on Mars, you’ll probably agree that it is a good enough solution for your business website as well… 😉

WordPress is available as a free download to anyone, in any country, in any language to do whatever they want with it. There are no restrictions, no rules and no censorship.

The fact that WordPress is the most popular web publishing platform ever created and has a massive global community of volunteer developers who constantly work on making it better, means that it will probably be around for as long as we have the Internet in its current form.

No one owns WordPress so no one can shut it down or impose any rules on how it is being used.

WordPress also uses a flexible and open standard for the creation of websites which means that if you do ever want to switch to another web publishing platform, you will always be able to do that quite easily.

Most importantly: WordPress is extremely easy to use for people with ZERO technical skills.

As the video rightly pointed out:

If you can use Word, you can use WordPress

In order to use WordPress, you will also need to get a hosting account in order to get access to a web server on which to run your Website.

A web server, in very simple terms, is a powerful computer (much more powerful than your PC at home) which is always on and ‘serves’ the pages of your website to people’s browsers when they type the address of your website (e.g. www.mywebsite.com).

This address is called a domain name and you will also need to arrange that. It’s very easy to do and is also very cheap (around $10-$15 a year at most).

A simple analogy from the property world will make it clear to you:

A domain name is your block of land and the website is the house you build on it Click To Tweet

On the Internet you can make the transition from being a ‘tenant’ to a ‘property owner’ for a fraction of the cost of a house deposit.

Therefore, there really is not much sense in you remaining a ‘tenant’ online.

As far as hosting, you can get that for as low as $4 a month.

Having your website running on WordPress is a great start but it’s far from being enough.

There are certain features it must have in order to be an effective business tool (and no, being ‘pretty’ or having lots of ‘bells & whistles’ is not what’s needed for a website to be effective).

I’ve prepared a checklist of these features which you can get for free by clicking the button below.

Another very important feature of WordPress is the fact it allows your website to look great on any screen size and on any device but only provided your website was designed the right way by someone who knows what they are doing (hint hint 😉 ).

If you want to understand why it is absolutely crucial your website is easy to navigate to anyone, regardless if they are on their computer, tablet or smartphone, read on.

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