Are you a small business who wants to know how to set up your own website?
Does the thought of even talking to a digital agency make your bank account wobble with fear? Do cheap website providers make you want to run a mile? Maybe you tried Wix and hated it?
Have you just given up on the whole thing?
There is a solution for small business with small budgets.
I’m going to show you how to create this website:
And this website:
Without spending money on software, themes, or anything else. These are very simple business websites, and they are fully mobile responsive.
They were created by me in around 90 minutes and I am going to show you how to do the same.
A Five Pixels Guide For Small Businesses
For small businesses today, being on the web is critical. However, over half of small businesses in the UK still do not have any web presence at all. Customers use the internet to check out reviews, evaluate business legitimacy and read about products. If you are providing a service or product and you are serious about your business you almost certainly need a basic website. A nice website helps build trust, it’s that simple.
A website also gives you a central public platform to list your hours, prices, services and any other relevant information. And that platform should be under your control, unlike any of the social media channels (not that social media isn’t important – it is! But you need an online home for your business and it shouldn’t be Facebook).
Being online is not about ranking number 1 in google, and it’s not about driving millions of visitors to your site. For a small business it’s about having a digital shop front that you own. It’s an extension of your business and an important part of informing customers what kind of service they can expect from you.
Have You Thought about Setting Up Your Own Website?
“I wouldn’t have the first clue where to start,” you might say.
That’s because no one has shown you how to do it.
This is the first in a series of blog posts that will show you how to set up a basic company website from start to finish. If you can use a computer and follow instructions, you can do it.
This basic process, as explained in full below, costs around £76 a year if you do it all yourself.
You should always budget for some form of website maintenance. If you find a reputable freelancer (like me!), you can pay them ad hoc to make changes, but you may find that once you’ve been through this mini-course you are actually pretty good at doing your own updates.
Why Set Up Your Own Website?
- If you are fairly computer literate you can save yourself money
- It’s entirely possible to have a beautiful looking site without spending thousands of pounds
- Finding an agency you can trust is difficult
I worked with a business last year who had been paying £400 a year for hosting and five email accounts.
They were unaware of the details, but they were paying for bog-standard, basic, shared hosting. Shared hosting should never cost £400 a year. This agency was also charging a minimum fee of £70 for any website change. Even something as simple as adding some images or changing menu headings was costing them a fortune.
Website agencies charge these prices because small businesses don’t know that they don’t have to pay these prices.
I helped the business move their hosting and email account to Five Pixels. I charge a more reasonable fee for managed hosting, and as a freelancer I can make changes and updates without it costing the earth (because I don’t have office premises and support staff to pay for – that is where a lot of your money goes).
But maybe you don’t even want to do that. I understand that small businesses don’t have big budgets for websites, SEO, marketing and such. I charge to cover my time and make a bit extra for my family (I’m a mum of three!), but perhaps that’s still out of your reach.
A Step By Step Approach
If that’s the case – I can still help. I want all businesses to have a nice home on the web. It should be within reach of all business owners, even if you are just starting out.
This is the only guide you will need to setting up your own website, from start to finish. If you are a UK business you can follow through every step and see all the parts of the process, even the important stuff that no one tells you about like security and backups. I cover it all.
It’s ideal for sole traders and small companies that need a basic website that still looks good and is technically sound.
Follow on and I will walk you through the entire process.
Oh, did I mention they are fully mobile responsive too?
How Do I Get Started – I Want To Set Up a Website For My Business!
The first thing we’re going to do is break it down into three parts. Getting your business online requires three separate components to be in place:
- Domain name
Every website needs to have these three items in place and they are completely separate. If you understand how they fit together you’re going to be well on your way to getting your own site up and running.
How Websites Get On The Internet
I will go into more detail about each one shortly, but first let’s be sure you know what each one means.
A domain name is your website address. My domain name is fivepixels.co.uk
You need to register a domain name (we’ll talk about how to do that) before anyone can see your website. There are lots of companies out there that you can register with, and most of them also provide hosting.
A .co.uk domain name costs around £6 a year
Hosting is where your website lives, and also the place that your domain name will “point” to. It’s called hosting because there is a computer somewhere out there in the world that will “host” the files that make up your website. Hosting also provides email functionality (so you can have an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org).
Hosting is completely separate to the domain and the website. You can buy hosting and rent some space on a computer somewhere (lots of people do exactly this!). You don’t even have to put a website on it, or point a domain at it.
Good shared hosting (which is fine for most small businesses that do not have high traffic) costs around £70 a year
A website is a collection of files and images that are designed (hopefully) in an appealing way. A website on its own does nothing. You can’t view it, even if you have the files, UNLESS you have a host. Hosting can actually be set up on the PC in your office, but I wouldn’t recommend this. A website can be moved between different hosts, and you can change your website to look exactly how you want.
The most basic software to build a website is available for free.
Got all that?
Now you know that we need three things to be in place to get our website online, let’s make a start.
Step 1: Register Your Domain Name
This is the fun part. You get to choose what your want your website address to be!
There is always a lot of angst over domain name choice, but really you should be looking at the following:
- It shouldn’t be too long
- It should relate to your company name/product
- Avoid weird spellings unless that is your product/company name
My personal recommendation for registering domain names is Unlimited Webhosting.
I have used them for the last eight years and they are extremely reliable. They also have fast, polite and helpful customer service.
Registering your domain is really easy. Head over to Unlimited Webhosting’s domain registration page. Check whether your domain is available. Once you’ve found a domain you’re happy with, just go ahead and add it to your cart.
If you choose a .co.uk domain, you need to select the type of organisation that you are. There are lots of options here, but most commonly you will be a private individual, sole trader or limited company.
Finally check the Whois opt out box (this hides your address from the public register), only if you are a non-trading individual.
On the next page add your name, address and payment details and check out.
You’re now the proud owner of your own domain name!
Ready For More?
Parts two and three of this series are on their way.
If you want to be the first to see them when they are published, you can sign up here for a notification: