Building a Web Site from Scratch

Your web site is the digital presence of your business on the Web. It also hosts the landing pages of your digital marketing campaigns.

Facebook Page

Many businesses steps into the digital realm through Facebook Page. While Facebook Page is free and easy to set up, it lacks the tools to organise your business offerings. It may act as a good marketing channel but insufficient for running serious business on the Web.

eCommerce Platform

If your business is mainly product and transaction based, you may consider using eCommerce platform as your digital presence. There are several options, from least to most complex:

  • Marketplace. You can get a digital store from digital marketplaces such as Amazon and Taobao. Essentially, you become a merchant in a very big digital shopping mall.
  • Hosted or Managed e-Commerce Solution, such as Shopify. You can have your own domain name (such as mygreatbusiness.com) pointing the hosted server. You can also create and manage web pages that further explain your business.
  • Self-hosted e-Commerce Server. This is where you set up your own web server (on AWS, DigitalOcean etc.), and implement your own eCommerce solution such as WooCommerce.

Building your own Web Site

There are essentially 3 steps to getting your web site up and running:

  1. Registering for your own domain name, such as “myspecialbusiness.com”.
  2. Finding a right hosting provider to host your web site.
  3. Installing a web site management software, sometimes being called a Content Management Software, so that you may manage your web site.

To complete the 3 steps, there are several popular options that you can consider:

  • Google Sites is a free DIY cloud website builder, which lets you create simple web projects for personal everyday use, and upgrade to premium plans later.
  • Wix is a freemium website builder. It allows using its its free plan to explore and later upgrade to one of the paid subscriptions the system offers.
  • WordPress is a standalone software that needs to be installed on a web server.

The first two options are “all-in-one” platform that you can complete all 3 steps at one place. For WordPress, you will need to register for a domain name, decide on a hosting provider, and install the software. Some companies, however, provide solutions to combine all 3 steps. Examples include GoDaddy (all 3 steps), AWS and DigitalOcean (steps 2 & 3).

You can read about the comparisons here:

Regardless of which option you choose, the cost of hosting and running a function website with your own domain should not cost more than U$200 per year, unless you have a really complex digital business.

Google My Business

Google My Business (which used to be known as Google Local and Google Places) is the platform that powers Google’s business listings and that gives your business the opportunity to show on the local pack, as well as appear in a number of different results and manage how their information is displayed on each. You may use it as a simple “1-page website”, or to supplement your existing website. For more information, see here and here.