I recently received this question/request from a friend of mine:
“As I embark on the journey of creating my own website I see there are way too many web site builders out there now as opposed to the days when the only game in town was GoDaddy. Does anyone have a good recommendation to make for an easy to maneuver through, intuitive design, affordable and good customer service, especially phone contact web site builder? I am reading reviews about Web.com, Wix, Weebly and Squarespace (no phone customer service) and they all have poor reviews… let me know if you can highly recommend a good one.”
Now, I address this whole question very thoroughly in my business-building program, Listen To Your Freedom, but let me give you the outline here and hopefully set you on the right path.
Firstly, a good compromise between hiring a website designer and doing it all yourself, is to just spend for a good logo – and then do everything else yourself. Use Fiverr.com for a very cheap (but perfectly good) logo designer.
Then, once you have a good logo (done in your chosen colors – see Module 5 of Listen To Your Freedom for why colors are so important and how to choose the best ones for you and your ideal customer), you can base the rest of your site around those colors. Use your logo colors wherever needed (sidebars, link text color, boxes, etc.). Of course, you can also use your logo on your business cards, stationary, free reports and eBooks, etc.
TIP: A graphic designer will usually charge you a lot more if you ask for a package that includes logo, stationary, business cards and envelopes together. So just get your logo done first. Then either use your computer, or free online template designs to insert your logo onto business cards, postcards, letter stationary, etc. Even Microsoft Office has templates for these. Of course, if you have the budget, you can just get it all done at once by your designer to save time.
Okay, now let’s get onto the question of which website builder you should use. Let me sum it up in one line:
WHY You Must Have a WordPress Blog
For people who join Listen To Your Freedom, I tell them they must have a WordPress site, or at the least, a WordPress blog. If they already have a site and it does not have a WordPress blog, then Freedomites need to realize they will not benefit from many of the tools in the LTYF program.
Because you will have to work a lot harder to get search engine ranking, and your potential customers will have to work harder to find you if you do not have a WordPress blog with all the plugins installed that I recommend in Module 12.
To get the same performance – in terms of attracting traffic (website visitors) and then converting those visitors into customers – from a free or template website builder is pretty much impossible. And yes, I’ve tested this.
Your only other option is to spend serious coin custom-programming every piece of your site in PHP – and I have sites like that where needed, but when you’re just starting out, or making less than $150K/year that’s just not necessary. And even then, you’re still going to want to have your blog as a WordPress blog! This is what I do on my health site – where I have over 1000 pages of keyword-rich content BUT nothing pulls those search engine rankings better than a WordPress blog with the recommended plug-ins (free apps). So I have most of my site custom-programmed in PHP, but my blog is WordPress.
Needless to say, I strongly recommend you switch from whatever free or template platform you are currently using to a self-hosted (see Module 7.4 of Listen To Your Freedom for hosting details and instructions) WordPress blog site. GoDaddy.com is one of my favorite web hosts – both for price and excellent customer service – just get the cheapest Economy hosting plan for now and don’t pay extra for emails as the plan includes a few email addresses. Don’t pay extra for “WordPress Hosting” either! It is very easy to install WordPress yourself (see video below) or you can get a programmer on Fiverr.com to do it for you for about $20.
Please believe me, I have tested template sites like Wix and Website Builder, I have had HTML sites and PHP sites, and NOTHING will get you the search engine rankings like a WordPress blog with the plugins that I am going to give you installed.
When your business grows, you may want to have your main site pages, or your Shop programmed in PHP or HTML, but you will still want your blog, or your articles, to be a WordPress blog. If that ever changes, I’ll let you know! But for now, know that you need to either switch your existing site to WordPress, or simply add a WordPress blog to your existing site.
But either way, you must host your own website on your own server – one of our Freedomites, Jeromy, is going to explain why you really do want to heed my advice…
WordPress vs. Wix or Weebly
Here’s what Freedomite Jeromy Johnson has to say about switching his site from Weebly to WordPress:
If I could start over again (my website is 3 years old), I would definitely begin with WordPress. A friend got me started on Weebly and it seemed to be okay. It was easy to use and served my needs of having a decent looking site with fixed pages and blogging capability.
However, after switching all my content to WordPress the past few months (an endeavor I hope you never have to endure!), I have gone from just tolerating my website to being thrilled every day that I log on to see what is happening.
I have so much more functionality with WordPress and it is simple to use. It is sleek and super-fast for the end user as well. I am constantly getting compliments on the new look and feel. Search engine traffic, sign-ups, and comments (on my blog posts) have all increased since switching to WordPress only eight weeks ago. I am averaging 10 sign-ups a day right now and this month my site was viewed in 111 different countries!
I can also tell that my WP site will be able to grow with me (the useful WP plugins are amazing). With Weebly/Wix, I just didn’t get this. I was constantly emailing their helpdesk to see if they had such and such option – and the answer was usually “no – we may in the future though”. Weebly also made decisions that negatively affected my site (like having all my blog post “Like” and “Tweet” counts just disappear one day because they changed their URL structure). With these companies, you are at the mercy of whatever some young executive chooses to do.
I learned most of what I needed to know about using WordPress from Jini’s videos in Module 23. I also hired an excellent programmer on Upwork for $15/hour. He setup everything that I could not do myself and for nearly 3 months’ work (off and on), it has only cost me a few hundred dollars (my site has almost 100 pages/posts – which is why it was a pain to make the move).
My advice is to pick a WP Genesis responsive theme that fits you (I went with these guys after a long search: www.themedy.com), watch Jini’s WP tutorial videos, hire a good programmer from India that can do all the little things that will take you weeks to learn from a programming book, and then enjoy your site as it grows with you over the years. It will be easy to update and modify the look in the coming years using WordPress.
So you see, you don’t even have to take my word and experience as your guide – just listen to Jeromy and save yourself a ton of wasted time and hassle. And by the way, Jeromy is one of our most dedicated Freedomites; he went from being virtually unknown in his field to being invited to give a TED Talk in less than a year!
Do Your Own WordPress Website!
Now just in case you love DIY, or money is super super tight, you can put up a perfectly good WordPress website all on your own! And luckily Tyler Moore has already done a fantastic tutorial video showing you every single step – and saved me from having to shoot one! Seriously, you’ll love Tyler and you can work right alongside him, just pausing the video wherever you need to.
Once your site is up, remember we have extensive, yet super easy tutorial videos showing you how to do everything to organize and run your new WordPress website and grow every facet of your new business at Listen To Your Freedom (Lifetime Membership is only $27/month!). If you’re not a Freedomite, then just search YouTube for instruction videos.