Creating a Business Website
Whether you hire a consultant or do it yourself, creating a website can be easy and affordable.
By Phillip Marashian
For anyone unfamiliar with the ins and outs of websites, the thought of creating one or having one created for you can be intimidating. However, many tools and services are available that help level the playing field and enable even the most technologically-challenged business owners to easily create a professional-looking website.
Get It Done
Many companies offer professional website creation services at very affordable rates. One such company, Yola (www.yola.com), offers a tiered pricing structure that allows you to customize your site based on your individual needs. Their Premier package allows you to choose from their many design templates and Yola handles the entire website creation process.
There is a one-time fee of $349, with an annual fee of $49.95 that begins after the first year. Once the initial creation process is complete, you have complete control to edit your site with the included Yola editing software. For any laboratory owner who needs a website quickly and does not want to be involved in the actual creation process, this is one of the most cost-effective options available.
Do It Yourself
Creating a website yourself can be both easy and affordable. Yola, in addition to web creation services, also offers a do-it-yourself Silver plan. The Silver plan gives you all the tools and features of the Premier plan, but without the professional designer. The Silver plan starts at $49.95 per year and gives you access to the same easy-to-use editing software included in their Premier package.
If you already have a company website and want to update it, you can transfer your site to Yola and take advantage of their Silver package. With either the Premier or Silver package, you can add your own customized e-mail address for as little as $9.96 per year.
Wordpress (www.wordpress.org) is a free program that is a popular resource for small businesses wanting to create an easy-to-manage, professional-looking website. The first step is finding a hosting company (not included with Wordpress). One popular hosting company is Host Gator (www.hostgator.com). Their plans start at $8.95 per month and drop to $4.95 per month with a 36-month contract. Web-hosting companies typically include unlimited e-mail addresses with their plans. The only potential downside is that you have to create the e-mail addresses yourself. Most web-hosting companies have a large library of video tutorials that can walk you through the entire process.
Next, choose your website design. The specific term that Wordpress uses for the website look and feel is a Wordpress Theme. Use an Internet search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing and search for "business wordpress theme." Some templates will be free; others are for sale from $30 to $80. Once you have found a design template that fits your company image, purchase it, and move on to the next step.
Now you are ready to install Wordpress. It is a good idea to hire outside help to handle this step. There are many services available that charge a nominal fee to get your website up and running with your Wordpress Theme.
Once your site is operational, you can log into your administrative section and edit each page. Each template will allow you to easily add or delete pages.
No matter what your budget or your level of computer expertise is, creating a company website can be quick and easy, providing your laboratory with a competitive marketing tool and valuable asset.
About the Author
Phillip Marashian is director of operations for Productivity Training Corp. in Morgan Hill, California, as well as an independent web development consultant.