Setting Up Your First Business Website: A Guide for Entrepreneurs

In today’s digital age, establishing a personal brand through a website is crucial for entrepreneurs looking to succeed. The internet is where people go to discover new brands, influencers, and make purchases. To compete with big brands, you need to create a strong web presence and reputation of your own. However, setting up a website is not an easy task. There are numerous options available, but only a few are worth your time and investment.

So, where should you start to build your brand and establish yourself as a successful entrepreneur?

Let’s dive into the entrepreneur’s guide to launching your first website. We’ll explore different options and help you determine the best approach based on your business goals.

The Critical Importance of Business and Personal Branding

In the realm of online business, both company branding and personal branding play a crucial role in driving sales and influence. A strong company brand builds trust and emotional connections with potential customers, while personal branding helps founders and executives establish credibility, especially when launching multiple businesses.

Before beginning the website development process, it’s essential to establish your company’s brand and differentiate yourself from competitors. Start by considering your business name, logo, colors, and most importantly, your target audience and how you want them to perceive your product or service. Also, define your brand’s personality and tone of voice—be it casual or authoritative. Answering these questions will significantly aid you in creating your first website.

According to a SurveyMonkey and Search Engine Land study, the brand name was found to be the top factor people looked for in search engine results.

How to Set Up Your First Business Website

Branding drives clicks on search results more than pricing, reviews, or location proximity. This study emphasizes the importance of branding and the impact it has on making a company memorable. If your company’s name, colors, logo, and voice are too similar to competitors, it is less likely that people will remember you. A common misconception is that branding requires a large budget for Super Bowl-style ads. However, brand awareness can be achieved with a small budget, especially on platforms like Facebook where the cost to reach 1,000 is the cheapest among all ad networks.

How to Set Up Your First Business Website

Simple brand awareness ads can reach thousands of people a day, costing only a few quarters that can be recouped from your couch.

According to Forbes, brand loyalty drives sales and online selling.

Most successful entrepreneurs establish a personal brand to leverage future sales.

Take Neil Patel, for example. He’s been an entrepreneur since youth, founding top conversion and marketing companies like Crazy Egg, Kissmetrics, Quick Sprout, and more.

He’s been praised by former President Barack Obama, who named him a top 100 entrepreneur under 30.

His credentials are endless, but he didn’t stumble upon his brand.

He worked relentlessly to grow his multiple ventures from scratch, using his personal website for content marketing and blogging. He has become an influencer in the marketing industry.

How to Set Up Your First Business Website

He has taken multiple SaaS tool companies to generate millions in revenue by leveraging his personal brand.

People look for brands and influencers when purchasing products and services.

Even with cheaper pricing or a better product, branding can determine success.

The first step to building a strong online presence is creating your own website.

What are the options?

Website builders versus WordPress DIY?

When creating a website, you have a few options.

The main options are:

1. Website builders

Platforms like Wix, Squarespace, and Site Builder. They’re visual templates that are easy to use but don’t allow for great customization.

2. Custom development

Hiring a freelance web developer or an agency to design and develop your site.

3. WordPress DIY

Creating your own site using WordPress templates. This can require some technical knowledge.

Custom development, or hiring someone to build your website from scratch, sounds incredibly expensive.

According to WebpageFX’s website quote calculator, sites can cost anywhere from $500 to $50,000+ depending on factors like:

– Total number of pages

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– Style of design: including custom templates, responsive, mobile-friendly, etc.

– Copywriting: explaining your brand clearly

– SEO: making it easy for people to find you on Google

– Conversion rate optimization: getting people to take the right actions on your site

– Content management: ongoing changes to your website’s text and images

– Ecommerce functions: shopping carts or methods for accepting payments

Custom development involves a full-scale team that works to build you a fully customized site.

But as you can see, that’s expensive.

So, what about website builders like Wix or Squarespace? They are a cheap and effective way to build a website without needing to know how to code or hire an expensive freelancer or agency.

Using WordPress templates is a great hybrid approach—something between using an out-of-the-box solution like Wix and hiring someone to build your site from the ground up. But it often requires more custom development on your end, meaning technical skills can be required.

How do you decide whether to use a website builder, hire a custom developer, or launch on your own using WordPress? It heavily depends on your current goals, business, or vision for the future.

Is a website builder right for you?

Website builders like Wix or Squarespace are great for new entrepreneurs or start-ups.

They are great for small businesses or start-ups looking to get their brand out into the world without breaking the bank.

If you have a small start-up budget, website builders are a great starting point. They are low-cost alternatives to investing thousands into a custom site before you know if success will follow.

When budgets are tight at the start of a company or a personal branding venture, site builders can be a great jumping-off point.

Consider using a website builder if you fall into one of the following categories:

– New entrepreneur

– Looking to establish a new personal brand

– You’re in the start-up/beta-testing/MVP phase

– Low budget

– Looking to test the market before making a large-scale investment

If using a website builder seems like the best approach for your business, how do you choose between all the options?

The best website builders for entrepreneurs right now

Squarespace: a visual branding powerhouse.

Everyone has experienced this scenario online:

You stumble upon a stunning site, one that stops you in your tracks.

It blows you away with amazing design, visuals, and a well-crafted user experience.

These websites are common in industries like photography, video, eCommerce, and other visually-reliant niches.

According to BigCommerce, visuals increase conversions by 71 percent. Better images can increase conversions by over 40 percent.

Showcasing your brand, company, or vision requires visuals. Squarespace is a great website builder for using visuals to drive brand awareness and sales.

Squarespace has high-level industry websites like Pixar and Lyft built using their platform.

How to Set Up Your First Business Website

Visuals take center stage on top industry websites hosted on Squarespace. Websites created using Squarespace are also affordable.

How to Set Up Your First Business Website

The downsides of the Business plan are transaction fees, which means Squarespace will take a cut of your sales. To eliminate fees and gain more eCommerce features, you must opt for a pricier online store plan.

How to Set Up Your First Business Website

The Basic online store plan is not significantly more expensive and includes numerous features without any transaction fees. It is an excellent starting point for online product and service sales.

Moreover, they provide 40 stunning themes.

How to Set Up Your First Business Website

With competitive features for SEO, online selling, and mobile optimization, Squarespace is a visual branding and selling powerhouse in the website builder space. There is no better builder for using visuals and a stunning website to drive sales.

Wix: for busy, budget-conscious entrepreneurs. Most businesses don’t last that long. According to USA Today’s research, 50 percent of businesses won’t make it past the first five years before closing. With such a competitive landscape in almost every industry and niche, it’s no wonder that most fail. A successful, growing business is tough to accomplish.

Most businesses fail after the first five years for two major reasons: lack of profit and lack of financial funding. Cheap options are needed to get off the ground and running without putting yourself $10,000 in debt. Starting a new venture is risky and requires time and resources. Going all-in too soon can lead to big losses. That’s where Wix comes into play. With some of the cheapest pricing on the market, Wix can effectively help you offload the risk associated with starting a new business or investing in personal branding.

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How to Set Up Your First Business Website

For an entrepreneurs’ unlimited plan, the cost is $14 per month, which totals $168 for the year. This plan offers various features, including a free domain, $300 Google AdWords advertising credit, free hosting, unlimited bandwidth, 10GB storage, Google Analytics, and more. Wix is not only affordable but also provides time-saving features. It is ideal for busy side-entrepreneurs. With automated email marketing, you can create drip campaigns to engage leads and boost sales.

How to Set Up Your First Business Website

To improve your website’s visibility, use Wix’s SEO Wiz for on-site SEO.

How to Set Up Your First Business Website

Using a checklist format enables you to accomplish tasks faster without needing to know complex strategies. Wix simplifies the process by providing step-by-step guidance. If you want to generate additional revenue by selling products on your website, Wix allows you to create an online store within minutes.

How to Set Up Your First Business Website

Connecting to leading payment systems automatically, your setup work is minimal. If you’re new to Wix, create a free trial account in minutes for access to testing themes, stores, and features. Setting up a website takes less than ten minutes. When you’re ready, easily upgrade to a premium plan for a dedicated, free domain and hosting. Wix is perfect for busy, budget-conscious entrepreneurs looking for feature bundles to kickstart growth without breaking the bank.

Should you pay someone to build your site from scratch? If you have investment funds and can afford custom development, it’s a great option. Custom developers can bring your vision to life. Anything you throw at a custom development agency, they should be able to create. If you decide to go this route, get bids from multiple developers or agencies. To get accurate bids, know exactly what you want. Be sure to brainstorm all the things you’d like your website to include. Send this document to developers and agencies to get a quote. Compare quotes to see which is best for you. When looking for developers to solicit bids from, look for experienced website builders with completed similar projects for other clients. You might be tempted to take a chance on someone new to the field, but this can backfire quickly. If you can find a developer that’s worked with companies in your industry or field, that’s even better. They’ll have a better grasp of your business needs even before starting the project. While outsourcing allows for more flexibility than using an out-of-the-box website builder, it usually takes longer to get your site off the ground and will cost more. That being said, it may be worth the investment, especially if your company doesn’t have anyone on staff with the expertise to build a site. Remember that custom web development can go a long way toward establishing a brand. If you’re a newcomer to the industry, it’s even more important to get it right the first time.

But, would building your own site on WordPress be better? If you need more flexibility in terms of customization, but also possess the skills to develop your own using plugins, themes, and coding, building your own site on WordPress is a great option. It’s also possible to do most of the building yourself, then hire a WordPress developer to handle the more difficult tasks. If you need a custom plugin created or significant changes made to a stock theme, you can lay the groundwork and have a more experienced developer take care of the rest. Fortunately, you can get a great start on a professional-looking website without hiring a developer if you want to use WordPress. Most website hosts support WordPress, and the basic installation is free. There are thousands of free themes and a huge number of paid ones that add functionality. Plugins further expand your options. Some of the most popular plugins help your site load faster, improve image display, add interactive forms, improve SEO, and manage comments. WordPress has a large online community that can help you learn the basics. Both WordPress.com and WordPress.org have support forums and articles. WPBeginner is another good source of information, and r/WordPress has an active community of developers and enthusiasts. If you’re willing to put in the time, you can build a professional-level WordPress site on your own. You’ll need to do a lot of reading and ask a lot of questions, but in the end, you’ll have a website you’re proud of.

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If you choose the route of a website builder, you have plenty of options to choose from. In the next section, I’ll walk you through the best website builders for growing entrepreneurs. Still want to use WordPress? Don’t worry, there’s an option for that.

BoldGrid + WordPress: a power plugin-users dream. With a growing brand and business comes the need to expand, adapt, and add new technologies that match the current market. Anything from Analytics to advertising, advanced SEO tactics, and powerful on-site conversion optimization. Third-party integrations are a great way to build a business and connect your marketing, advertising, and sales chains. But some website builders aren’t capable of that depth of integration. And that’s where WordPress excels. With over 74.6 million sites trusting WordPress, it’s a power user’s dream. Currently, WordPress has over 54,000 plugins in their library essential for everything from blogging to sales.

How to Set Up Your First Business Website

WordPress has a powerful plugin library, a diverse content management system, and the ability to combine with multiple hosting offers. Using BoldGrid, you can combine the features of a website builder with the WordPress management system.

How to Set Up Your First Business Website

Countless themes, BoldGrid allows easy customization and setup for domains, hosting, and a quick five-minute install into WordPress. While it requires technical proficiency to navigate, it is intended for power-users who rely on extensive third-party integrations. BoldGrid is free to use but necessitates outsourced hosting. To illustrate, you must sign up with a hosting provider such as InMotion that offers WordPress hosting.

How to Set Up Your First Business Website

Thankfully, these hosting plans are competitively priced compared to full-scale website builders and offer similar features.

If using a CMS like WordPress is crucial for fast-tracking growth, BoldGrid can provide the best of both worlds with a website builder and a top CMS platform.

Build the right site for your business

Creating a personally branded site or business website as a new entrepreneur is the first step to selling products and building a reputation.

Having your own website helps you create content, list products, and establish yourself as a household brand in your niche.

Branding is critical to success. Without personal or company branding, people won’t buy your products. However, developing a site can be complicated. There are many ways to get started, some of which can be very expensive.

If you have a large budget and a track record of success with new ventures, custom development is a great option. However, if you’re testing the waters with a new concept, you can easily reduce the risks of time and money by using a website builder. Consider what you want and the resources you have available for your site, and then just get started.

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