I received this question yesterday from the ask-a-question form on my website at timberry.com:
I would like to create website design for my company. What do I need to do?
To start you could search in Google for how to create a website. The good news is that you’ll get good results. The bad news is how many: 89.1 million hits.
So I’m going to add one more? Yes, because you asked me too. And I have a step-by-step suggestion that takes work but not money, and not too much work. In my opinion. And with this you’re forewarned: there are millions of good answers. All of this is just my opinion.
- Go to Wordpress.com* and sign up as a free user with a new blog. And don’t worry, I’m did understand the question – I’m recommending this as a way to make your first company website, not a blog. But Wordpress calls it a blog, regardless; so I use that term here.
- Choose a unique name for your blog. Try your company name or something useful for marketing. The Wordpress site will give you any unique name you choose followed by “wordpress.com.” For example, Sabrina Parson’s Mommy CEO blog is at mommyceo.wordpress.com.
- Choose a theme for your new blog. Wordpress will help you. There are thousands of themes, each of which gives you an already-designed format related to fonts, colors, placement of links and buttons, and so on. For our purposes, make sure it’s a theme that shows buttons for pages. For an example, just look at the blog you’re reading. The buttons along the top of this blog are related to pages, not posts. Try them. See what I mean.
- Now do some pages: if you don’t feel competent writing about yourself or your company, find somebody else you trust to do it. You’ll probably start with an “About” page, and then maybe a general contact page showing your address, phone, and email addresses. You can get wordpress plugins to customize a contact form, but for now, list your email address in text with the @ written out as “at” so web crawlers won’t pick up your email address.
- Now, if you’ve followed these steps, you have a company website, having spent maybe two or three hours.
From here, in the now-immortal words of Buzz Lightyear, it’s “infinity and beyond.” You might want your own domain name (like my timberry.com, for example), and you’ll find ways to do that as a Wordpress installation too. (timberry.com is hosted at MediaTemple for a little over $200 per year). You’ll be amazed at the variety of Wordpress plugins for additional features and functions.
* Wordpress is probably the most popular of the blog platforms, and it’s free if you do it like I’ve suggested. But there are many others, several with similar offerings regarded already-designed themes. I’ve also used Blogger (free) and Typepad (for an annual fee) and I like them both.
Disclaimer: Just in case you’re wondering: No, I have no relationship with Wordpress, no commissions, no paid endorsements. I use it and I like it. This is free advice. Sad commentary, that these days a recommendation is suspect of ulterior motives. That happens so often that I don’t blame you for wondering.
I hope this post will work its way up those 89 million Google hits, because your advice is dead-on. WordPress is absolutely the simplest, most flexible platform I’ve ever worked with. It’s almost a shame that people automatically think “blog,” because WordPress is so much more than that; with the right plug-ins, you can make it do absolutely anything that a custom-built website would do.
WordPress sites are so quick and easy, I can’t imagine why ANY small business these days would fail to have some kind of nominal presence on the Web.