There are a lot of simple and inexpensive website builders out there that allow business owners to design and publish a website in just a day. While a website like this is not likely to get you the same polished look or visibility that a professionally designed site will, it is a better alternative to no website.
Just a few of these website builders are: Weebly, Wix, Yola, GoDaddy.
Caution! If you are thinking of going this route to build your own website, be prepared before you start. These sites essentially have their own software interface and can be tricky and, in some cases, not user-friendly. Even a computer savvy individual can get frustrated with some of these website builders. So, be as prepared as you can with your carefully written copy, quality images you intend to use on your site, a site map (an outline of your web pages) and a huge cup of coffee. You may want to start small with just three web pages:
- A home page with an appealing graphic
- A "services" or "products" page to give the basics of what your business offers
- A "contact" page
There is no point in having a website if it can’t be found by search engines (like Google, Bing, Yahoo). Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website to be recognized by and ranked higher in search engines. Only a handful of web visitors go past the first page of the results in search engines. So, you want to be listed on the first page when someone is searching for what you offer. SEO helps achieve this.
Here are a few simple SEO tips:
1. Have a friendly URL.
Your web address should be something simple and easy to understand. The shorter it is, the easier it will be for people to remember. I once had a client who had an intentionally misspelled business name. So, his web address, which included his business name, was never getting found. Even when people searched his exact name with the misspelling (hoping to find his specific website), the search engine suggested the correct spelling and automatically gave search results on the correct spelling. Keep it simple and intuitive.
2. Use title tags.
Title each page of your website with a relevant name.
3. Have keyword rich content.
Think of your target market and what keywords they might be using when searching for your services or products online. Make a list of these keywords and use them when writing your web copy. Be careful to avoid just cramming these words into your website. Search engines can actually pick up when this is done and it can negatively impact your ranking. Not to mention, this probably makes for a bad read for your web visitors. Use the keywords when and where they are relevant. Be sure you are writing for your visitors, not the search engines!
4. Build links to your site.
Try to get other websites to have a link to your website. This brings more traffic to your site and helps search engines see your site as a legitimate and valuable website (which helps your rankings). Try to connect with organizations or associations that are aligned with your business. Perhaps you can suggest adding a link to their website on your site and ask them to do the same for you.