While creating a Web site may seem like a difficult, time-intensive and expensive process, it's actually possible to have a professional site up and running in less than 24 hours for under $50 with little to no prior Web development experience.
And whether your business sells products or services, you can use a Web site to increase your revenue and reduce your start-up costs. While you're at school, your Web site can take orders, answer common customer questions and introduce potential prospects to your business, among many other possibilities. For example, Ryan Allis, a 19-year-old entrepreneur now attending the University of North Carolina, was able to successfully create and market a Web site that sold a product that helps people with arthritis. As a result of his efforts, his company was able to generate more than $1 million in sales by the time Allis was seventeen years old.
If you're interested in taking your company to the next level with a Web site, simply follow the three easy steps below:
1. Register a domain name. The first step in creating a Web site is choosing a Web address where your site visitors will be able to find you, such as yourbusinessname.com. '.com' is the most common ending for a for-profit business, while '.org' is the most common ending for a non-profit business. When choosing a domain name, it's most common to use your business, product or service name or a variation of it as the address. You can register your domain name for under $10 per year at GoDaddy.com.
2. Register for Web hosting. Web hosting allows you to store your Web site on a server that's accessible 24 hours a day by anybody who has an Internet connection. For an introductory Web site, web hosting can cost less than $10 per month. For a list of Web hosting companies, visit www.webhostlist.com.
3. Design the site. You have three options for how to design your site: Do it yourself, hire someone or purchase a template. Designing the site yourself will take the longest amount of time, but it'll be the cheapest and give you a valuable skill you can use in the future. To learn more about creating your own site, visit WebMonkey.com.
Hiring someone else to create the site for you may cost the most money, but it will lead to a higher quality product in a shorter amount of time. Through sites like elance.com, you can hire professional Web designers from other parts of the world such as Asia, who charge as little as $10 per hour.
Using professional Web site templates allows you to get online in the shortest amount of time, but it may lead to a product that doesn't perfectly match the image of your company. Through companies such as Pimil.com, you can purchase Web site templates for as little as $36.
Once you've successfully completed these three steps and created your site, you have to keep in mind that you've only just begun and that your business won't immediately bring in millions of dollars. To have a business that effectively uses a web site, it's important to constantly improve upon it to meet the needs of your current and potential customers. In addition, it's crucial to promote the Web address on your marketing materials and through marketing campaigns so other people can find it. Good luck!
Michael Simmons is a student at the Stern School of Business at New York Universityand the author of The Student Success Manifesto: How to Create a Life of Passion, Purpose and Prosperity. You can download his free ebook by visiting his Web site.