If you want to have a viable business in today’s world, you’re going to need a great website. There are a few ways to get or create a website that will impress your clients and prospects, and serve you well into the future. I’ll review them here in what I consider to be the order of least desirable to most desirable.
All of these methods will work for you as a business owner or a web design company owner. When a client buys your services, they are buying trust that YOU will do a great job for them. If you seem trustworthy, and can show samples of your work, they really don’t worry much about how you do the work, or who on your staff is doing it. I have seen this over and over in my personal web design business.In the beginning and even as you become more advanced, in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with using WordPress, Joomla, or any other CMS, and using the simplest methods possible for creating great sites. If you’re going to run a web design agency you’re surely going to want to create a great looking website as a showcase for your work.
1) If money is no object, and you’re not going to be making websites for others as your business, seeking out and using the best web design company in your area probably makes a lot sense. You’ll have your website quickly, correctly, and you’ll have someone you can go to if you need help or changes in the future. Just make sure to choose a company that isn’t fly-by-night, and will be around for a long time. Also, make sure they use a platform that is common, so that if you need someone else to work on the site in the future there will be no problems. WordPress is the most common nowadays, followed by Joomla. Do not let anyone build a site on a proprietary CMS that only they can work on, unless you want to be married to them for life. This scam is common in outsourced sites as well as local made sites.
2) Outsource to someone on a service like Elance or ODesk. This method can be quick and cheap, but working with people in another country can be frustrating, and they may start cheap and up-sell you on everything you’re going to need later. Often they will create a site on a platform that only they can work on, to force you to work with them in the future. There are many pitfalls, so tread carefully. You’d be surprised how many customers came to me over the years because they wasted time and money outsourcing to the wrong people.
3) Learn website development from the ground up by taking a course in HTML, CSS, Photoshop, and Website Design. The challenge here is that it cost money, and takes a lot of time and commitment to do these things. And, you will come to the conclusion, after all the schooling, that you really only need or want a CMS website anyway, as it is the best way to go. Of course, if you are so inclined, and you want to own a web development company, this may actually be a good route for you. However, working on WordPress is easy, and your clients may even ask for it.
4) Install a CMS like WordPress or Joomla on a web hosting account, and use a free or cheap template for your design. Change out a couple of pictures to make the design look original, and enter your text. If you want to get fancy you can use a more expensive template. WordPress and Joomla take about of week to learn. Photoshop about the same. With just those skills under your belt you can proficient enough to impress people. There is nothing wrong with this method, and there are web design companies all over the world that do nothing but this. Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s not a viable method.
5) If I didn’t mention this method, I’d be doing some of you a disservice. This option is perfect for a start-up business on a very tight budget, and with limited time to get started. You may have heard of it before. Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Godaddy, and other simple website builders come to mind.
6) This is my recommended method, and the method that I built a 6 figure web design business on – without knowing any more than the most basic HTML and CSS, and a graphics program like Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. I began using this method after becoming tired of depending on flaky and expensive web designers (who often would disappear in the middle of a project, leaving me to pick up the pieces). This method will allow anyone to create beautiful, professional looking, original websites, cheaply, quickly, and without relying on anyone else for the most part. Almost every website I have made for customers for pay has been created using this method. I like to create my own websites so that i can place things where I want them, and I can use plugins and extensions to enhance their looks and functionalities. My favorite easy solution for this is Artisteer (and its sister company Themeler).
An average easy to create 5 page website can be sold for between $1000 and $5000 depending on your area, your ability to do make it look good, and your ability to sell. Websites with advanced functionality can command prices into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Artisteer (FREE Trial Website Template Creation Software).
Joomla (CMS FREE Download and Info)
WordPress (FREE Download and Info)
Net Objects Fusion (HTML Website Creation Software).
Hostgator (Good Cheap Hosting).
Rochen (Excellent Professional Hosting).
Godaddy (.COM DISCOUNT Domain Registration for $5.99).
iStock (Royalty free images).