Today, some technical tips for you and your writing business courtesy of Linda Jones, Founder + CEO of Taykoff.
As a writer, we know websites are vital to our business. They are an avenue for building a following and showcasing our work. But, how can we create one? As a writer, web design isn’t our strong suit. Now, once it exists we can handle adding copywriting, but building it? How the heck do we do that?
In truth, understanding how to make a website from scratch is not complicated. There are dozens of options available to you. It all depends on how comfortable you are with technology.
There are three options for building a website: use a Website Builder, Self-Hosted products, or hire someone to build for you.
Here’s a quick analogy to understand the differences between Website Builders and Self-Hosting:
Think of a train track and the individual train cars. Your website is a single train car, and the internet is a train track. You can build the most incredible train car in the world, but if it’s not on the train track, it will never get to anyone.
To put your train car on the track, you have to hire a train engineer to attach your car to their locomotive. They then carry your car back and forth on the track. A hosting service connects your website (your train car) to their servers (their locomotive) so it can be online (the train track).
Website Builders are companies that give you a template to build your train car and a connection to their locomotive so it can be on the track. A Self-Hosted company is one that only gives you access to their locomotive, but you build your train car using a separate template.
Ok, enough with the analogies, let’s get back to using “website” for train car and “hosting” for a locomotive.
As I mentioned above, website builders offer you the ability to both build your website and put it online. Each of website builder provides specific templates or themes for you to use to make your site. This method is super easy if you are tech-challenged.
Some well-known Website Builders include:
Blogger.com. This service is Free through Google, so will need a Google login. Blogger is only a blogging platform, not very many features beyond posting articles.
Weebly.com. Also, ranges in price from Free to $49/mo depending on features.
Squarespace.com. One of the most popular services, Squarespace has dozens of templates. They range in price from $12/mo to $40/mo depending on features.
Wix.com. Plans here range from $5/mo to $25/mo based on features.
To compare website builder options visit https://www.websitetooltester.com/en/website-builder-reviews/
- Easy to use (perfect for anyone that’s not very savvy with technology)
- Can be free with some builders (but, the lower the price the fewer features you will receive)
- Website builders are not as flexible as Self-Hosting. You will be stuck using the service’s templates, themes, and features
- Can be expensive when needing more features
- Not as customizable for theme design and add-ons (a.k.a. Plug-ins)
- Website builders are not as scalable. The limited features and add-ons make growing your site more challenging and costly.
When learning how to make a website from scratch, your technical ability matters. If you are techy at all, I recommend going the self-hosted route. This method allows for so much more flexibility and control with your new website.
With this option, you would buy your hosting (access to the locomotive) from a hosting company. You would then build your site using WordPress.org (not the same as WordPress.com above). WordPress gives you access to thousands of themes and plug-ins (add-on features). It is also inexpensive and scalable, so it can grow as your company grows.
To go this route, I recommend using www.Bluehost.com for your hosting service. I use them because they are inexpensive, reliable, and offer installation of WordPress.
Bluehost always offers sales, so visit their website for pricing. As of this writing, they are $3.49/mo (when paid in full for a three-year term). WordPress is free.
If you choose this method, you can watch my free videos for help getting your website started.
- Completely customizable
- Free and inexpensive themes and plugins available
- Scalable – can grow with you as your company grows
- The top choice of professionals in every industry
- Best for those with some tech capability
- Can get expensive if you go overboard adding paid themes or add-ons
Hiring Someone to Build Your Website:
This option can be costly, but it may be worth the investment. Building a website can take 50+ hours, so if your time is better-spent writing, hire someone to build your site.
Your choices are limitless, and so are the potential fees. To find a quality designer, search online for someone in your area. Be sure to check Yelp and other review websites to confirm they are reputable.
Another option is to go with someone like 99Designs.com. They give you an opportunity to have several designers compete for your business. Designs are available within a few days then you choose the one you like best. With this method, you will need to know how to install the winning design on your self-hosted account. Your hosting company should have instructions to help you.
So, which method is best? That depends on you. How comfortable are you with technology? What is your time worth? Do you enjoy creating these types of things? Your answers will help guide you to the right option.
Best of luck!
Linda Jones is Founder + CEO of Taykoff.com. Taykoff is passionate about helping people get their new business in the air. From idea to licensing to setting up accounting to building a website to launch, Taykoff is there to help.