Business website

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  • PhoenixFlames 1 Oct 2008 21:35:50 8,899 posts
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    I would like to start a small business, just for some extra income really, not to replace my real job.

    I don't know how to build websites, nothing complicated anyway. Would it be OK to use blog software, such as WordPress?Or would this be too unprofessional even if I had my own URL?

    I see a website as the main marketing tool of what I want to do, what do you guys think?

    PSN - phoenix1flames

  • Deleted user 1 October 2008 21:39:58
    Depends entirely on what it is the business will be doing and how the website will work. On the whole I can't see how a Wordpress blog is going to be a suitable basis for a business website, but then I don't really know much about Wordpress to be honest.
  • PhoenixFlames 1 Oct 2008 21:42:42 8,899 posts
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    I think with WordPress you actually have a front end website and WordPress is kind of the CMS so it may well work. It seems fully customisable, although I'll have to look in to what level of code knowledge I will need.

    The site will just be a few pages explaining what I do, contact info etc. Nothing involving checkouts or selling physical items.

    PSN - phoenix1flames

  • Deleted user 1 October 2008 21:44:02
    Ah right, thought it was much more limited to daily blog posting type content. Sounds like it might well be all you need then!
  • PhoenixFlames 1 Oct 2008 21:50:35 8,899 posts
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    FeZZ wrote:
    You're selling fleshlights right ?

    You got me!

    PSN - phoenix1flames

  • burns 1 Oct 2008 22:01:03 1,138 posts
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    It wouldn't take a lot of learning to build a basic HTML site with few pages.
  • corimi 1 Oct 2008 22:19:51 1,311 posts
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    Yeah you can get quite far using WordPress as a basis. Technically, you'll need to learn how to use FTP, install new templates and possibly make graphical tweaks. Some good template examples here. Google has plenty more :)

    Of course, the best idea would be to use one of these as a basis, rather than just lifting wholesale, changing key graphics as a minimum so they communicate what you do.

    I'd advise that you spend some time thinking about your brand and if you can (and aren't a designer yourself) work with a designer and tailor the site around your business rather than just finding a cool template to fit your content into.

    My 50p :)
  • techierob 2 Oct 2008 08:04:34 336 posts
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    a website's the easy part. I'd be more concerned about getting VAT registered, filling tax returns, keeping business expenses and managing my accounts.

    Also, I'd avoid wysiwyg html apps like the plague. Web pages that have been lovingly hand-rolled are far better imo. Just make sure to keep the interface as clean and simple as possible and make sure that the content is accurate and interesting.
  • Xerx3s 2 Oct 2008 09:14:46 23,944 posts
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    As someone who makes a part of his living with web software, I definitely would advise you to go to a professional company. A small, simple company site could be done for as little as 300 to 500 euro which is a forgettable figure for a healthy company.

    You have to remember, these days the website is THE primary or one of the primary communication and information lines to clients. What would you think the reaction would be of a potential client that comes to your site but sees something less than professional?

    Some clients don't care about looks, others do, is it worth a risk?
  • monkeyspasm 2 Oct 2008 09:14:56 2,773 posts
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    Learn HTML and CSS - I recommend 'Learning Web Design' by Jennifer Niederst Robbins and 'CSS - The Definitive Guide' by Eric Meyer.

    You'll be able to optimise the pages for search engines much more easily if you've written them yourself, and (X)HTML is really easy. WYSIWYG software typically kicks out non-compliant code as well as creating tons of code bloat. I rewrote our websites myself in XHTML and CSS in a few weeks (this is learning from scratch), they look far 'cleaner' now and have about 1/10th of the code!

    Also, SEO-wise, we are seeing real benefits due to proper optimisation which we just couldn't do with web authoring packages.

    Having said that, Dreamweaver seems to kick out good, clean code and you have the option of writing the HTML or using the WYSIWYG window (or both), but it's expensive. Best option is to learn yourself. Be prepared to spend some time on CSS to get your layout right though.

    Failing that, try Joomla. I don't use it myself but a mate of mine uses it for his work website and says it's really useful. Wordpress isn't really a CMS.
  • Deleted user 2 October 2008 09:17:19
    Xerx3s wrote:
    As someone who makes a part of his living with web software, I definitely would advise you to go to a professional company. A small, simple company site could be done for as little as 300 to 500 euro which is a forgettable figure for a healthy company.

    You have to remember, these days the website is THE primary or one of the primary communication and information lines to clients. What would you think the reaction would be of a potential client that comes to your site but sees something less than professional?

    Some clients don't care about looks, others do, is it worth a risk?
    Really? That little? Not been my experience of asking around here if anyone could fix up my site, which I ended up doing myself. Admittedly it's led to loooooong hours sat in front of Coda and BBEdit etc, with Dan Cederholm's books spread out in front of me and about 20 different browser tabs open on HTML and CSS forums and coding sites, and it's still not exactly where I want it.

    But at least it hasn't cost me any cold hard cash... ;)
  • monkeyspasm 2 Oct 2008 09:19:46 2,773 posts
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    Yeah, a site of 1-3 pages can be had for between 50-100 these days, search on Google for 'cheap website'

    Not sure about quality, mind!

    edit - mainly it seems to be students halfway through degrees etc trying to gain experience.

    I knocked up a holiday site (only 1 page) for my boss's mate for 50 but that was a definite favour!
  • Deleted user 2 October 2008 09:21:18
    I'm much more satisfied with doing it myself in my spare time, to be honest. All I really miss is having a pro designer give me their opinion on the actual layout etc, and how cool simple things can be achieved with very little code. However, Dan's books are great for that sort of inspiration.
  • DaM 2 Oct 2008 09:53:42 12,897 posts
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    Have a look for free web templates, or free CSS templates - there are 1000's out there, most of them dross, but have a good look, there are a few nice ones here. I used the Choice one for one of my sites, the punters seem to like it. You just fill in your own content.

    Probably helps if you have some basic html knowledge though, I would read up on that.

    Once you get going and make some money, you can pay someone (there are a few people on here who should be able to help you).

  • LeoliansBro 2 Oct 2008 09:54:57 43,227 posts
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    Open an eBay shop.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • Xerx3s 2 Oct 2008 10:06:16 23,944 posts
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    MrED209 wrote:
    I'm much more satisfied with doing it myself in my spare time, to be honest. All I really miss is having a pro designer give me their opinion on the actual layout etc, and how cool simple things can be achieved with very little code. However, Dan's books are great for that sort of inspiration.

    This forum is FULL with (wouldbe) designers. Make something and pitch it on this forum. I'm pretty sure that you would have atleast 10 tips within an hour.

    My first tip would be, see what the competition in the branch has. You usually see a pattern in the type of sites that they use and it usually is for a reason.
  • Xerx3s 2 Oct 2008 10:09:11 23,944 posts
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    If you want coding help:

    All client side things: w3schools.com, while they don't have a very uptodate and detailed db, it's good and clear enough to learn js, ajax, css, xhtml, etc.

    all serverside things: php.net, The only thing that you will EVER need.

    Design inspiration: mezzoblue.com/zengarden/alldesigns/, it's usually useless but some designs have nice elements worth considering.

    Free photo material: sxc.hu, it's an awesome place if you are looking for photo's and images without paying royalties.
  • Jos 2 Oct 2008 10:20:11 709 posts
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    Depends on what your business is. But the build it and they will come philosophy is not a good one. SEO or not.

    The simple website creation tools that some hosts provide might be ample if you are not going for a creative/visual or technology company.

    Don't try and learn web site making yourself for the sake of your business - spend the time actually doing your business. If you fancy learning it as a hobby then fine but don't tie your business success to it.

    Same with everything else - get cashflow and worry about everything else after.

    Now how to generate cashflow? Harder, but a pretty website won't do it on it's own.

    Go on the businesslink website - there are a ton of articles on how to start up.
  • Charroux 2 Oct 2008 13:15:57 792 posts
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    Wordpress is a great CMS for a small site (or a blog site, obvously).

    Joomla would be complete overkill for a small 10-page site, in addition to the fact that it's absolutely horrible to use.

    Like others have said, you can get a really good little site made professionally for around 200-300. It might look like plenty of other sites out there, but that really isn't a bad thing. And at least it'd look professional.
  • Stormflood 2 Oct 2008 13:26:24 2,263 posts
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    This is a wordpress business site: http://www.redflymarketing.com/
  • Xerx3s 2 Oct 2008 13:31:39 23,944 posts
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    Jos wrote:
    Depends on what your business is. But the build it and they will come philosophy is not a good one. SEO or not.

    The simple website creation tools that some hosts provide might be ample if you are not going for a creative/visual or technology company.

    Don't try and learn web site making yourself for the sake of your business - spend the time actually doing your business. If you fancy learning it as a hobby then fine but don't tie your business success to it.

    Same with everything else - get cashflow and worry about everything else after.

    Now how to generate cashflow? Harder, but a pretty website won't do it on it's own.

    Go on the businesslink website - there are a ton of articles on how to start up.

    This. It's one skill to make a site. It's another to make a site that actually shows up in searches.
  • PhoenixFlames 2 Oct 2008 13:53:36 8,899 posts
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    Thanks for the advice everyone. Very useful. I know a bit of HTML, I use it in my job to update our website. I think Wordpress, my own URL and a bit of tweaking with an existing CSS file will be the way to go. Free (apart from buying a domian/hosting) and a bit of fun too.

    Tax eh? /runs

    PSN - phoenix1flames

  • DaM 29 Dec 2008 11:35:17 12,897 posts
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    Hey PF, where's the website for us to appraise then?!
  • PhoenixFlames 29 Dec 2008 12:00:12 8,899 posts
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    DaM wrote:
    Hey PF, where's the website for us to appraise then?!

    lol! Not happened yet I'm afraid, but I have convinced work to pay for a 3 month Open University CSS/XHTML course though!

    Watch this space!

    PSN - phoenix1flames

  • Deleted user 25 November 2010 10:47:24
    Post deleted
  • DaM 14 Dec 2010 10:50:21 12,897 posts
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    /still watching space

    (I didn't bump it!)
  • binky Moderator 17 Jul 2012 10:38:03 9,431 posts
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    ** SUPER BUMP **

    Morning all.
    I've been tasked with looking at ways to improve our company website, and am currently in a position where I could carry on with our current suppliers who use Drupal as the platform, or get shot and start again (taking the content with me).

    It's my opinion (having researched it a bit) that Drupal is pretty rubbish compared to alternatives such as joomla. There is a lot less support/community for Drupal for instance.

    Recently though, I've noticed Wordpress being pushed a lot to look after SME websites. Powerful CMS and very handy for SEO.

    Is there anyone here that looks after company websites? Thoughts very welcome.
  • sport 17 Jul 2012 10:53:27 12,538 posts
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    Everyone will have their favourites, but I honestly prefer Wordpress over Joomla or any other template type CMS - just so much easier to manage and develop for (if you need to).

    Thousands of plugins and tons of support. And damn easy to customize yout themes if you know a bit of html/css.
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