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When you tell me, “I just need a basic website.” You will immediately follow up with, “What’s included in that?”

What you are really wanting to know is, “What is the minimum you can do with a website and still have value from it?”

To answer that I have to ask you some questions and determine just how “Basic” of a website you need.

Digging Deeper

When I ask you, “What is valuable to you about having a website?”, your answer is going to help me determine which of three categories of websites you truly need.

You are going to answer with something similar to one of the following:

  • I just need a basic website to send people to to show them I really am in business. Something that gives them confidence that I’m legitimate.
  • I just need a basic website to collect contact information from my customers clients so that I can follow up with them.
  • I just need a basic website to take orders from my customers, I will handle delivering what they order on my own.

Each of these needs are basic in nature but have different objectives. I will recommend different options for each one. Let’s talk about each of these and what I would advise you to include.

Basic Website #1: Web Presence Only

This type of site will likely have very few changes. It could be as simple as a static HTML website. However, the cost for that for hosting will be equivalent to the cost of a dynamic website and will require more advanced web design skills to update in the future if you do have changes.

I recommend that even for a “Web Presence Only” site you choose a dynamic platform like WordPress to build your website. For hosting your website I recommend Bluehost. It is the hosting platform I use and find it to be very affordable and reliable.

[FULL Disclosure] The link to Bluehost is an affiliate link. That means if you use it and make a purchase I will be paid an affiliate commission. However, I use and fully recommend Bluehost if you are looking to build a solid platform for your website.

Once you’ve setup your web hosting and created a WordPress website your “Web Presence Only” site just needs a welcome page.

On this page, provide the information you need to display so that your customers or clients are comfortable that you are a true business, ready to serve their needs.

Basic Website #2: Collect Customer Contact Info

To collect leads begin with the setup in Website #1 above. This will give you everything you need to host your website and add content intended to collect visitor contact information.

There is one additional plugin needed to collect your customer’s email address, ConvertKit.

ConvertKit is a paid monthly service that manages email subscribers and allows you to communicate directly with website visitors that provide you their email address. It helps you stay compliant with regulations around SPAM email so you don’t have to become an expert on your own.

[FULL DISCLOSURE] I am a ConvertKit affiliate so if you do use this link and make a purchase I will receive a commission payment. However, I use ConvertKit for managing my email subscribers and have found it easy to use and very effective as a marketing tool.

With your ConvertKit subscription set up you will have access to the ConvertKit plugin for WordPress. Once this plugin is installed you will be able to to create and insert forms into your web pages to collect subscriber emails.

From there you can start marketing directly to your subscribers.

Basic Website #3: Simple E-Commerce

E-commerce via a website used to be cumbersome and risky. If you didn’t set it up correctly, you could expose your customers credit card information and be held accountable for any fraudulent use of their credit cards.

Not to mention the time and effort it took to create an inventory and fulfillment system.

Today, the process is far simpler. With WordPress the most common e-commerce option is WooCommerce, not an affiliate link, just here for reference.

Out of the box, WooCommerce allows you to create a product catalog, shopping cart and checkout process for goods or services you are selling on your website. And…

If you’ve integrated with ConvertKit as in Website #2 you can connect that account to WooCommerce and collect email addresses of customers as well.

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that needs to be installed and configured to work with your website.

Once in place, you will have a “Basic” e-commerce website.

What’s Next?

Now, ask yourself which of these “Basic” websites do you need for your business? Setting them up yourself will require that you learn the basics of Web Hosting, WordPress, and each of the plugins involved.

If you don’t want to pursue the DIY path and are looking for a “Done for You Website Solution” I can help you with that.

If you want to consult with me to develop a website strategy please use my online Calendar to book a session today. We’ll figure out where you are in the process and the best next steps for you.

If you have questions, please post them in the comments below. That way, everyone can share in the answers provided.

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