So You Want a Website for Your Business – But Where to Start?
If you have been itching to get a website built for your business but have held off on doing so, you are not alone. Whether it’s due to the high cost of hiring a professional, being intimidated by doing it yourself, or simply putting it off until the magic website fairy blesses you with a beautiful ready-made site. One thing can be agreed on: without having either personal experience as a webmaster, or very deep pockets, having a professional website built can be a daunting task.
For those that have looked around a little or experienced some level of web design, they know the frustrations and limitations that come with creating your own website. While most hosting companies offer some website design tools, they can still be extremely difficult to use for the average Joe. The truth of the matter is that most people don’t know what they are doing when it comes to web design. If your goal is to build a site for your business, you probably want a professional-looking website. That is commonly thought to be a very unrealistic goal if you are doing it yourself. However, due to some new technologies developed by savvy web hosts, it is now easier than ever.
New Players to the Space Mean Open Doors for You
As mentioned, your options for site design have, in the past, been somewhat limited: either hire a professional (think $) or create something yourself that does not properly reflect the image you want to portray for your business.
Running way ahead of conventional design platforms, two companies have user-friendly website building tools that are both robust in features and aesthetically pleasing. These two companies are GoDaddy and SquareSpace – and they both have features that will likely pique your interest. While both companies have their pros and cons, ultimately it is going to come down to you. More specifically, your business’s specific needs – for you to know which one will be the best fit.
GoDaddy – Much More Than a Domain Registrar
We will start with GoDaddy, a name just about everyone knows and associates with domain name registry and web hosting. They offer four different website builder plans to suit your needs – whether you are just looking to showcase your photographs and/or literary works online, or want a robust e-commerce solution, or anything in between – they’ve got you covered. Ranging in price from $5.99 per month to $24.99 per month (when paid annually) their prices are truly affordable.
A major perk of using the GoDaddy website builder is that they have over 1500 beautiful templates to choose from – every one of which can be customized to your liking and is optimized for mobile. That last part is key because the majority of people nowadays surf the web from their phone or tablet, so having your pages load correctly on all devices is vitally important.
While the ‘Personal’ plan is somewhat bare-bones (perfect if you want to create a photo gallery or blog), the other three plans add on lots of features, including SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – important to be found when people search for certain keywords on Google – and SSL (secure socket layer) which is essentially increased web security – very important if you want to run an online store where you accept payments. All three of the more robust plans also offer easy PayPal integration, making accepting payments a breeze. Even more helpful features can be found if you look at the two more expensive plans, including email marketing, global speed optimization, and social media integration, amongst other beneficial components.
Last, but certainly not least, is GoDaddy’s “swipe-to-style” interface, making designing the site a breeze – even from your mobile phone. This dummy-proof feature makes building a professional-looking site incredibly easy no matter what device you are using.
Two current offers:
SquareSpace – Can You Say “Simple and Elegant”?
The website design offerings by SquareSpace are most likely better suited for those who don’t want to “get their hands dirty”. Offering far less than GoDaddy on the template selection level, that is not to say less is a bad thing. They have several highly attractive, fully customizable, mobile optimized templates that can be used to create a gorgeous website in a snap. Another great benefit that SquareSpace offers is that generally speaking, their platform may even be easier than GoDaddy’s for the amateur webmaster to figure out.
SquareSpace also offers four different plans to accommodate the various needs of today’s ambitious business people. With prices ranging from $12/month to $40/month (when billed annually), they are notably more expensive than GoDaddy, but they also come packed with additional features. Every one of SquareSpace’s plans comes with SSL, a free domain with purchase, and integrated e-commerce.
While their more robust plans offer, as you would have guessed, more features, they do so in what seems to be an easier to manageable fashion. For those with limited web design experience (or patience), the SquareSpace solution is a great fit. One final thing to mention is that SquareSpace charges sales transaction fees on their two cheaper plans, which shouldn’t be a deal-breaker – just something to keep in mind.
Know Your Needs, and Choose What Works for You
If you are more budget-conscious and don’t mind taking a little more hands-on approach, then GoDaddy is probably going to be your best bet. If you do not mind paying a little more, or want a solution that lets you get up and running with a beautiful website a little faster with less personal involvement, then SquareSpace might be the direction you want to take.
Before you hit that “buy now” button, take a moment to think about how you would like to represent your business online. Also, be honest with yourself about how much involvement you are willing to give when it comes to building your own site. The bottom line is that both GoDaddy and SquareSpace offer excellent website design packages, and both companies are highly reputable. Odds are that you will be happy with either one. Think it through, compare plans, and get ready to engage in e-commerce!