Why would I want to build a website myself?
You don’t have to be able to code to build and manage a website. Obviously the experts who can code can build you brilliant ones but they cost money and what if you want to make lots of changes later. If you are just setting up your business do you really know what your website needs? You will probably want to be able to add things and change things as you develop your business, so building it yourself will mean you’ll have the skills and understanding to do that. Google favours websites that have changing content so having the skills to add and improve you website means you will potentially be able to get your website a higher ranking with Google.
What is a Website builder?
If you’re just setting up and are exploring what you want for your website, there are lots of simple website builders that do the hard stuff for you. There are also lots of blogs which compare website builders.I have used website builders Weebly and 1&1 but there are others Wordpress, Wix, Squarespace etc. They are all basically free and as you add more features you start to pay.
What is a theme?
Website builders have a choice of theme which you can choose from. Themes have a preset title and content, preset text fonts, colours and picture layout, all you have to do is add your own text and pictures. Whichever theme you choose make sure that it is optimised for mobile. There will be a choice of free themes and some you pay for.
Can I use my own page layout?
Once you have a theme you can stick with the layout, fonts and colours provided or you can change them to suit your own ideas and design. You can even try out different themes as you go along. You don't need to know any code as all the building is done by dragging and dropping buttons from a menu onto your page.
What free features does the website builder Weebly provide?
I have found Weebly really easy to use although you will have to play around a little to start with as you find were everything is.
Weebly features which are free
How much does it cost to get a domain name?
You can use a Weebly domain name for free eg www.stopforamassage.weebly.com however if you want your own personal domain name eg www.stopforamassage.co.uk you will have to pay. You can start by using the free custom domain while your exploring it and finding out if it's right for you and then upgrade when your ready. It’s normally about £10 a year to secure a .co.uk domain name for 2 years but you will also need to upgrade to the Weebly Starter package, which is approximately £5 a month, so that you can use the domain with your website.
You can get your domain name through Weebly but they seem to cost a bit more. I chose one and was quoted £13.95 a month for 2 years. I then looked at another Domain name site GoDaddy and they quoted £8 for 2 years. Almost half the price but you would then have to link it up with your Weebly account which isn’t complicated but maybe the extra cost would save you the hassle. When you buy a domain you need to pay to keep your personal information private in domain listings, again it is only slightly more to do this through Weebly.
How to connect a GoDaddy domain to a Weebly website Click here
How can I find out if the domain name I want to use is available?
GoDaddy has a domain name search tool so when you are choosing your domain name you can see which ones have been taken and how much each name would cost. You can use this search tool for free. It's quite a good idea to use this tool when your choosing your business name even if you aren't ready to build a website because it's always good to have your business name and website name as similar as possible. Imagine getting your business cards printed and then finding you couldn't get a domain name to match your business name. (You can do this through Weebly too but you seem to have to sign in to Weebly first.) If you want to be really thorough see if people are already using your business name /domain name on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by doing a quick search on those sites, if you think you will be using them.
I've heard that Wix is a great website builder?
Wix is has more templates to choose from that Weebly, it has a more flexible drag and drop tool enabling you to put objects where ever you want on the page whereas Weebly's is more limited and it and it gives you more design features. There are two important features which make me choose Weebly over Wix.
Firstly with Wix which ever theme you choose to use you are stuck with it this means that as you begin to design your website if you realise your theme doesn't suit your evolving ideas you will have to start again completely. If after a year or two you want to modernise by updating your theme you will have to start your website from scratch. In contrast Weebly lets you change your theme as often as you like without it affecting the contents of your website. Business websites need to evolve with the business and I think this feature supports this idea.
Secondly you are unable to access the code in a Wix website whereas Weebly provides access and also enables you to move your website to another website host. This means that you are not tied to Weebly and if in the future you would like someone with coding experience to develop your site further it is possible. This would not be possible with Wix.
The differences between Wix and Weebly are compared further in a review on this comparison website Website Builder Expert.
I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed
The great thing about website builders is your website can grow with your business. You could just decide to have two pages to start with and see where you go from there. Weebly is probably the most easy to use of the website builders, you just need to have a little play with it to find out where everything is. If you can build a two page website you will have the necessary understanding of Weebly to easily add extra pages and features as you need them.
I want to find out more about other website builders
Here are some links to some website builder comparison site with their 2017 reviews
I hope this is useful. Have fun exploring and building.