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3 Ways/1 Hour: Your Small Biz Website (No Coding Required) - 2014-03-17-166578139-c1.jpg

3 Ways/1 Hour: Your Small Biz Website (No Coding Required)

Launching a new business, or even maintaining an existing one, requires a lot of work. When you’re dealing with the day-to-day challenges, it’s easy to put off the things that you know you need to do—but seem like they’ll take a lot of extra time. Building a website for your business is not one of those things to put off.

Think about it: ninety-seven percent of consumers search for local businesses online, according to Google. That means if you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on possible customers. You’re also missing out on the opportunity to build and protect your company’s reputation.

Whether you’re a solo-practice attorney, an architect, therapist or dentist, or even if you operate a small retail business, the best websites are simple, clean, and easy to navigate. You’ll want to get your name and slogan or central message across immediately.  Thankfully, there are plenty of options for entrepreneurs who want to build a quick and easy website—and no real technical skills are required. I’ve been impressed by these three platforms:

Squarespace

Squarespace is one of the newest, and I think, most attractive options for building a simple website. Happily, set-up is incredibly easy: just go to the site and click “Get Started.” You can select one of their many templates, which are conveniently split up into categories based on their recommended use (i.e. business, portfolio, stores, restaurant, personal, etc.). The templates are already optimized for mobile (so your site will look great on smart phones and tablets), and they even offer free custom urls. Once you’ve selected your template, you’ll be prompted to create account before you start customizing your site.

Customization is very straightforward. For example, adding images is as easy as dragging and dropping them to your gallery. Social media plugins for services like Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Facebook (and many more) are conveniently built in. It’s no exaggeration to say that you could build a basic, good looking site for your practice in less than an hour (although you could easily get lost experimenting and tweaking to build the perfect site).

About.Me

Similarly, creating an account on About.Me is simple. Just sign up to immediately start building your site. Creating a page is straightforward. You start by uploading a background image/profile picture for your page. The image can be centered, tiled or scaled. Then you fill in your profile with your name, a bio, and up to ten tags related to your business. Next, you can add buttons to your page for the services and websites you use such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. It’s that easy.

Flavors.Me

Setting up your site through Flavors.Me is also very easy, and its structure guides you step-by-step through the basics you need to get your message across. When you set up an account, you’ll find a dashboard on the right with five major headings: About, Content, Design, Mobile and Promote.

  • About: This is where you’ll put in the name of your business and the central message you want to present to your customers and/or clients.
  • Content: Use this to manage which services you’d like to appear as links in your header or footer, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and any blogs you’re affiliated with.
  • Design: Choose options for the look of your site by selecting a layout, uploading a background image, selecting a font, and choosing a color palette.
  • Mobile: Set up and view how your site will look on smartphones and tablets.
  • Promote: Add tools for sharing your page online.

You can also purchase a custom domain name for $20 through Flavors.Me, so that your url appears as “www.mybusinesswebsite.com” instead of as “flavors.me/mybusinesswebsite.” You’ll find this option in your account settings. There are cheaper options for obtaining a custom URL (I purchased mine through Google for example), but Flavors.Me removes the hassle that’s often associated with the process of setting it up.

There are, of course, many other options for building a website. We’ve only covered those that we think are the easiest and quickest. Do you have experience with any of these sites? Which is your favorite?

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