Are you starting a business or selling a service and don’t know where to start when it comes to building a website? In the early days of a start-up, there are so many questions that need to be answered and I’m here to help you with one of the big ones!

I recently attended a business excellence networking event, and in one of the sessions there was a lot of discussion around where to start with a website for your business. Some people had tried multiple times to get what they needed from their website, and spent lots of money, and still weren’t happy. The reality is that in a start-up the budget generally doesn’t stretch far enough to employ a top-notch developer. But I really believe you can affordably build your own website – even if it’s just your first iteration – I mean how much is your business or service going to change over the first 12 months alone?!

At BRG Learning and Development, well we’re just that… all about Learning and Development. So why would we pay huge dollars when I could learn and develop my own skills to get us a website? This was completely new to me, I had no knowledge of coding or web development, so I decided to give WordPress.com a go. Now, there’s something you should know before I go any further, WordPress have two options:

  1. WordPress.com ­
  2. WordPress.org

So, what’s the difference? The main thing to know is WordPress.com host your website on their server and you pick your theme from their theme gallery. However, you cannot use custom themes from third-party sites, and you cannot use ad platforms like Google Adsense to make money from it. With WordPress.org you will need to host your own website – you’ll find the free WordPress software at WordPress.org that you can download and install on your own webserver. You have the flexibility to use themes from third party websites (such as themeforest.net) and many different plugins, and you are also responsible for updating your theme when new updates become available.

My suggestion, if you want to give WordPress a go, is to use WordPress.com to start. The main reason is that if you purchase one of their plans which are as little as $3.99AU per month, then you are entitled to live online chat support – this really helped me through some tough times! They have many beautiful themes available and you don’t need to worry about coding or hosting your website. Once you’ve started with WordPress.com and feel it’s no longer fulfilling your needs down the track, then you will understand enough of the elements to move onto WordPress.org – which opens more flexibility and greater control over your site.

Now, don’t think you only have these two options. There are so many simple, affordable and easy to use website development tools to choose from. Here are just a few:

  • Wix.com
  • SquareSpace.com
  • Weebly.com
  • Jimdo.com
  • Rocketspark.com

It really isn’t as daunting as it once was to build a beautiful and well-functioning website to get your business off the ground. In the last 12 months, I went from not knowing where to start to now building two professional and successful sites, you can check them out here:

Some may not believe they need a website and that a presence on social media is enough, but I strongly recommend you consider a website so that customers can learn a little more about your product or service. It also legitimises and lends credibility to your product and service. Potential clients or customers can also contact you, and understand your values and passion for your business. After all, approximately 81% of customers conduct online research before making a large purchase decision – so it’s best to have as much online presence as possible.

If you have any questions or would like any more assistance when starting your WordPress site, please feel free to contact me at tara@brg.net.au and we can work through it together.

Tara Ridsdale | Head of Production, BRG Learning and Development