What price a professional website?

One of your first tasks when setting up a new business or embarking on a freelance career is to get  a website.  Every company must re-evaluate its web presence on a regular basis, so there’s always a need for a new website. A static website does not suffice any more – if it ever did.

A website may serve a variety of functions, from providing simple contact information to e-learning, but for a start-up or refocusing business, it’s about raising awareness, giving information, and establishing a reputation. The ideal website is one which has easily updated content that is changed regularly – for the content velocity that provides good search engine optimisation – and has links to other places on the web where you can engage with your customers and potential customers. In other words, it’s a social-media-savvy website that can be the hub of your online community.

At a minimum, to be found on the web, a freelance professional should have a  optimised professional profile on LinkedIn and any other appropriate professional networks. Many of the professional societies provide a personal webpage which can be used to give information, and a Google profile can also provide you with the means to be Googled.

Moving on to develop a website of your own, there are many simple ways of creating a website using tools that provide you with a choice of design and functionality, such as JotterCMS from WebAnywhere, an easy to use simple way to set up a few pages., with a choice of professional template designs and various features ranging from SEO to publicising job vacancies.

When you’re ready to provide continuously updated content, another free service is available from WordPress.com, the blog site. As a blogging system, WordPress provides an easy way to get that content velocity and to fill your web presence with content that demonstrates and illustrates your expertise and areas of interest. You can create simple pages that give background and contact information, and choose from various template theme designs many of which can be further customised by colour and uploading your own logo. And by enabling comments, RSS feeds and links to social networks, you immediately have a way to engage with your community, whether of fellow professionals or customers.

WordPress also comes in a self-installed and hosted flavour that allows you to set up your own site in your own space, and there are a variety of other CMS (content management systems) that make it easy to create more complex websites.

Maybe an artist could find use for a Flash website such as those available at Wix but for most of us, our graphics skills aren’t up to it. For an individual professional, freelancer, or small business, a WordPress website is an easy and sensible choice. It could be a long time before you need any features that WordPress can’t provide. Then when you need it, you can go to a specialist web developer and you’ll have the experience to ask for exactly what you want.

Originally published on reachfurther.com