so you have a facebook page. you can post pictures, write notes, interact with potential clients, gain likers... that’s all you need right? wrong. you need a website. at the very least a blog. (i actually think you need a website and a blog together but i will leave that for another day.)
facebook is great sure. pages have gotten much more customizable and you can do quite a bit now with them. but facebook is still just a stream of information flying past. when i check my facebook page i have 500+ recent posts on my news feed. i am going to skim that for an interesting, useful, amusing or friendly interaction or two and the rest is forgotten.
think of a website as being your store front and facebook is like standing on the street handing out flyers. some people will pass on by, some will take the flyer. some will glance at it and trash it others will take a good look and stop into your store next time. a few might even turn around and come directly to your store. if you don’t have a store where is that potential client going to go? someone else’s store, that’s where.
i think a website is probably the most cost effective, helpful thing you can do for your biz. you can showcase your work with photos (photo quality on facebook sucks ass by the way), list your prices, include links to all of the other places folks can find you and start a blog that will help get traffic and interest built up in your site. even if all you do for now is start a blog and post a few photos and stories about your work, that is a start.
for a website there are basically three things you need:
- a domain name – this is the www.bizname.com thing – you need to buy this online at a place like go daddy
- hosting – this is a where your website lives – you need to pay a company to do this
- content – this is the actual website bit – you will need some sort of template that you can enter in your information, photos etc.
here are 3 ways you can get a website started for your biz:
1. hire someone to do the whole thing for you, including taking care of all 3 of those things. chances are if you are reading this blog you are of the DIY mindset and want to know how you can do it yourself.
2. find a site that will do some combination of the 3. this can be tricky and overwhelming if you find this website stuff to be out of your league (which i did!). some sites will sell you all three for one price, some will give you one but not another and you have to find it elsewhere. i did a bunch of searching around and the site i found to be the most affordable, easy and user friendly is squarespace. i built both of my sites by myself and have complete control to easily make changes, add pages etc. (i am a bit of a control freak and a tweaker so this matters to me.)
squarespace includes hosting in their pricing, you can use your own domain name or their domain with your name tagged on and has some very nice templates that are fully customizable so you can start adding your content right away. the default setting is for a blog style page and then you can easily add photo galleries, contact pages, information pages and more.
this site took just a couple of hours to get up. i used a template and added a few extra pages and was done. later on i will customize it more with a logo and colours, backgrounds etc. i like that i get to control what is done and when and not pay anyone for tweaks and changes. my other site smile.play.love. took me a few days to make as i customized it extensively, and added in many pages of content.
if you do want to try squarespace out it is free to try it for 2 weeks (which i think is cool, if you don’t like it no obligation or money lost). i am happy to answer questions or help if i can – just email me =)
another option here is to start a wordpress site. wordpress is hugely popular, and highly recommended by its users but to be honest i found it confusing from the start so never went with it. it requires you to pay for hosting somewhere and then add a wordpress template for your content. you can start with a free template and then later pay for templates and plugins to make your site more pro. also heaps of people use it so i imagine you would find lots of online help.
3. the third choice is to start a free blog using a site like blogger. this option gives you a free domain name with the blogspot name, includes the hosting for free and has templates that you can customize. here is my first blog. it is certainly not as powerful or as useful as my new website is but it is a very good start. it is easy to do yourself, you can start right now and it's better than having no website!
i am certainly not a web designer nor a website expert, this is just what i have figured out so far. if you have information that can help us out, please comment below or send me an email. we would love to hear from you!