Has anyone built their own website?
Hi everyone! Has anyone with basic technical skills built their own website? I was thinking of possibly doing this through spiffystores.com.au. Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions?
CAROL JONES , Owner at Interface Pty Ltd
Greetings Paul from rural Australia,
My partner and I have developed several websites on our own. With no technical skills others than those learned during the development of each site.
The first site we built was in 2006 using Microsoft Front Page.
But now we use Wordpress. And our current site uses a Genesis Framework Theme called Metro Pro.
We opted out of using a third party to develop the site because of two factors.
The high cost.
And the lack of control you have for changing what they call 'trivia' when someone else is building your site.
Our online business is our sole source of income. And we're very fussy about how it looks. And what it says. About us. To our customers. Hence we're control freaks!
There are so many tutorials online about how to develop a site. Especially if you're using the Genesis Framework. And we were able to do it ourselves because of the forums. And tutorials about every subject we wanted to know something about.
As someone who's been through this more than once, I've learned to be more disciplined about how I approach a new site.
The first thing I do is buy a 96 Page Exercise Book from the newsagent. And write down the steps to every change I make. Tedious? Absolutely. But in a week you won't remember what you've done. And if you want to change it again, the notes are better than starting from scratch all over again.
I filled half a 96 page book with instructions on how to do things for our new site. And it's dog eared from use.
Wordpress is easy to use. But. It's NOT a secure platform. And is easily hacked.
But there are steps you can take to make sure it's safer.
When choosing your username, never use admin. Every hacker can enter your site with the word admin. And never use a combination of your url or site name. Hackers can figure that out, too. Make sure your username is totally unrelated to your site. And complicated.
Ditto for your password. I have a 15 digit password with letters, numbers and symbols. I don't remember it. But it's in a safe place and if I ever need to use it, I can copy and paste it in.
This is the link to our site. http://www.interfaceaustralia.com/wordpress/
I hope this helps you.
~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤
Purveyor of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
350,000 customers. In 29 countries.
Cathy Topping , Owner at Your Web Toolkit
I would echo some of the comments above. Stick to Wordpress and use a theme like Divi - it has been developed specifically to allow non-techies build their own websites.
Doing it yourself also puts you in a great position for understanding what's going on behind the scenes, so when/if you outsource as your business grows, you'll have a really clear idea of what you're looking for in an assistant.
Zhen Lim , Founder at Tee Junction Custom T-shirts
With todays popular CMS's like Wordpress and Shopify for eCommerce, building a decent looking site with a basic technical background is certainly possible. Themes, important plugins, etc are fairly plug and play for most of these systems.
If you take the DIY route, I would stick with a popular CMS and hosted eCommerce platforms as they tend to have comprehensive guides, 3rd party support and developers in the likely event you need to hire someone help you.
I haven't used SpiffyStores (haven't even heard of them, so that is one alarm bell going off!), but I started building websites back in the 90s using plain text editors to write static HTML code. Nowadays we only use Wordpress to build websites because of its ease, security and relatively cheap cost.
My recommendation would be to buy your own domain name (the http://YourBusinessName.com.au), then look around for cheap website hosting. Most web hosting services have one-click installations of Wordpress, so you can build your own website, then improve it as you get more experience.
That way, your total cost would be about $30 for two years for the domain name, plus anything from $3-30/month for website hosting, depending on whether you want to do everything yourself, or have the website managed for you. The big advantage, and I mean B-I-G advantage, is that this way YOU own the website, not SpiffyStores, who could shut you down tomorrow, or even go bust themselves.
Just to give you a rough idea, we charge $20-30/month for managed Wordpress hosting, depending on whether or not you wanted an ecommerce site with a shopping cart or not. That includes routine updates of the Wordpress core files, plugins and themes, as well as regular backups of the site, and regular anti-malware checks, so all you need to do is to write the articles and answer comments, enquiries, etc. Or if you are happy logging in to your website and updating the files yourself, which really isn't hard, you will find good web hosting for between $5-10/month. Hope that this helps you decide.
I'm a non-tech person who has done it both ways. Using cheaper offshore devs via Upwork was an absolute nightmare compounded by my lack of knowledge of how and what they were doing. In the last month I've built a site myself in Wordpress using the Divi theme (you can see it here: https://venturelaw.com.au) and although its not perfect its got no bugs and I know exactly how it got put together and I have a Facebook group called Divi Theme Users I can fall back on if I can't figure it out. The upshot is: don't try and reinvent the wheel. Use Wordpress or a platform like Shopify that have all the bugs ironed out pretty quickly. Divi has a shopping cart too so might be worth checking out. Good luck!
It's all possible with these tools and resources out there. You need to decide whether you want to be a some-what expert in building your own site. Is that where your time is best spent? or maybe consider engaging a professional web developer and focus your time on other areas.
DIY web design isn't necessarily about saving money, but you can learn a lot and have more control. You'll never be able to keep up with all facets though without some expert input along the way.