Source: Jcasas Photography Blog

Jcasas Photography Blog So You Want to Build a Website for your Business?

Here's how. And here's what a minimum of $70 can get you.A high school friend of mine emailed me [and among many others] to seek advice on how to build a website for her new business. Despite it being 2am in the morning, I figured I'd write a well thought out reply to help her get going with her business website.If you're wanting to know the services I've used and continue to use, here we go.First off, you need a catchy name for your business. The other thing people forget is brand continuity as you want to ensure that the clever name you thought of is actually available across popular social media channels. Use Namecheckr to ensure that your name is available not just as a domain i.e. www.__.com but also on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Having the same name across makes it easy for your followers to follow you and "mention" you on any social media channel. Search "jjasef" and you'll see what I mean :)Now that you got your name, time to buy your domain and start building your brand on the web.Read on!DomainGrab it on GoDaddy-there may be some who'd had bad experience with it but with about 10 domains [and counting] that I own and bought from there, I've had no issues :)Cost: $12 (for at least a year)Linking it to a websiteA few ways to do it-you can either change the domain's settings on GoDaddy via forwarding but ideally you should change its DNS records. It sounds foreign for sure, but there are always helpful articles from GoDaddy on how to do this [or whatever service you're using to use your domain name]WYSWYG aka "wizzywig" Web ServicesFlavorsWhy? It's the cheapest and easiest. My "hub" is hosted here and it's only $20 a year to use your own domain. Here's mine: http://jjcasas.meIt's super easy as it basically uses your existing social media channels as sources. But you can be still add and create pages and be creative with it. Beautiful full-bleed wallpaper that scales the viewer's screen and endless possibilities. Cost: $20/yearTumblrWhy? It's semi-free to begin with and it's stupid easy to blog and update your site :) Semi-free because you can buy themes here to make the site look a lot better. I host my photography blog here that you're reading this on.Cost: $Free.99 (Themes from Theme Forest though is usually $25-45 for a good theme)SquarespaceWhy? It's a WYSWYG web page editor that is cleeeeeean [when done right]. We're still trying to do it right but here's our site so far I "designed": http://845a.com Potential downside? It's not free. Paid per month model or a bit cheaper if paid annually.Cost: $192 (middle tier if paid annually for one year)Well, what else?!WordpressThis is like the queen of all webpages-many corps and big brands sites are actually built on top of Wordpress because it's so damn powerful and flexible. And that's also the problem-it can do so much and be so flexible when all you want is something simple and straight forward to use. I tried and died with it-bought everything you need [hosting via Bluegator, theme from Themeforest, and spent hours to try to configure it] but just gave up lol Squarespace is my new home.Cost: Custom theme + web hosting (like from Bluehost or HostGator)Weebly. Our wedding business' website http://motionscopeweddings.com is on this and I admit: it's beautiful than I thought it could ever be lol My co-founder worked with Weebly before and they used to be very cookie cutter and simplistic websites. Now, they have tons of options. Cofounder also set up our motionscope booth site http://motionscopebooth.comCost: $8/mo for pro accountWix.Another great option in which it now supports HTML5. I stopped being a paid user because at the time, they only had Flash. If you want to go back in time with my 2011 portfolio, here's my site :) http://jcasasphotography.wix.com/jc-photography When you're a paid user, you can remove the Wix branding.Cost: $6.21/month for Pro account (includes free domain!)So, what should you use?My personal recommendation is a mix of Flavors ($20) [cuz it's so easy for a visitor to find all your social media channels] and Tumblr + a paid theme ($30~) if you're on a budget. Blogging is still important for a business as it also generates content for people to view and increase your SEO-mo content the better. That's about $50 and with a new domain for a year that's usually $12, you're looking at something below $70 to get it all going.Other dope ass web tools Quip. I. Fckn. Love this tool :) My 8:45a team uses it in favor of Google Docs/Spreadsheets as a client management tool as it's messaging built in to docs. Sounds.. confusing but just start using it. You'll see.Qwilr. Need to send a proposal? Make the first impression count by making a beautiful proposal that you can embed photos and videos. It's a WYSWYG editor like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace but is focused on sending out proposals. You can save frequently used blocks such as "Terms and Agreements" "About Team" etc to make producing proposals much quicker. And once it's reviewed and accepted, you can invoice them withFreshbooks for accounting, estimates, and invoicing. You can sync up with your credit/bank account for proper tracking of your expenses. Your accountant will thank you [and you'll thank yourself later]. A must for me. Hootsuite allows you to be your own social media director. Tip: add a custom keyword search as a feed so you can always see what people are tweeting about that keyword and reply and build genuine engagement. Here's our 8:45a feed: http://cl.ly/image/432C3l0t0N3vRapportive to know who you're corresponding with on GmailStreak a CRM [customer relationship management tool] that can organize your clients in your Gmail email into "pipelines".Google Apps. Already used to using Gmail? Buy a Google Apps account to get your own [email protected] and have access to all Google Apps [Gmail, Drive, Hangouts, etc].Google Alerts. An underestimated tool in my opinion. We use it to get our daily buzz words that we like/follow straight to our inboxes. So for example, we follow "Kickstarter" and it basically scrapes the web with that word and on a daily basis will send us a digest of what's going on based on "Kickstarter".-<I hope this has proven to be useful if you're just fresh on starting your website for your business. If you have any questions, feel free to ask via Twitter @jjasef!

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