How To Make A Simple And Effective Website
If your business or brand doesn’t have an online presence, then it doesn’t exist, which is a large pill to swallow for non-technical individuals..
As a result, you are bound to the often extreme prices of web design companies, or remote web developers. There are some website building solutions like Wordpress and Squarespace, but these sites charge a hefty membership fee for a watered down version of their service that is riddled with company branding. On top of that, there's a steep learning curve to using these platforms. How much is your time truly worth?
Don’t get me wrong, I think both Wordpress and Squarespace are absolutely wonderful for what they do. Infact I built my first version of alekseyweyman.com on the wordpress platform, before deciding to build my site from scratch. There are however, cheaper and more effective ways to create a website. Before I show you how I did it, let's look at the benefits of doing it yourself.
Benefits of Having Your Own Website
- Complete free reign over site functionality, UI, SEO, etc.
- Ability to monetize through advertising partners
- Unlimited allocation of marketing funnels
- Significantly cheaper
Building your own website opens the door to unlimited design possibilities and trust me, there are tons of ways ot get innovative here. If you’re selling shoes for example, you can design an interactive 3D model of a foot that models different footwear. Are you a music artist? Landing pages can get you more plays on Spotify/Soundcloud by capturing curious internet browsers and referring them to your stuff. Building your own website can be extremely simple, and the rewards plentiful. Check out my personal portfolio website, and imagine how useful yours could be.
Another important benefit of having your own website is the ability to generate advertising revenue. Now, if you’re like me, the idea of commoditizing your website space is akin to selling your soul to the devil-that-is-capitalism..
Okay maybe my fears aren't that extreme, but if you’re concerned about losing the integrity of your website content, then you're not alone. The great thing about having your own website is you can choose exactly where you want advertisements to appear, how large they should be, what type of content they should display, and much more. I recently had to find a new advertising solution after my website was attacked, which I wrote about here.
This particular article for example, has numerous advertisements scattered throughout, but I designed them to be as non-intrusive as possible. There are literally millions of dollars each year paid for website ads, and getting in on that money is as simple as building a website, setting up an advertising partner account, and watching the money trickle in. Though, you obviously need to have a good amount of traffic to your site before you see proper returns.
How Much Does It Cost?
Now let's get down to the nitti gritti, how much should you expect to pay to have a website? Below are the standard pricing models for Wordpress and Squarespace.
- Wordpress business level costs $25/month billed yearly. That’s $300 per year. Plus domain ($12/year) and a marketplace of purchasable plugins.
- Squarespace costs $144/year for a personal plan and $480/year for a professional plan
millennialmoderator.com costs an annual fee of $12 for the domain, and less than $1.00/month for everything else. Yes you read that right.
So.. how on earth are our costs so low?
How To Build A Website
We use AWS (Amazon Web Services) to host Millennial Moderator. Specifically, with the S3 service, which at a basic level operates much like Dropbox or Google Drive. There is a great feature within the S3 service that allows your buckets (buckets are like folders) to be read publicly and accessed by anyone online. All you have to do is set the correct permissions (allowing visitors to access your website), direct your purchased domain (that’s the $12/year) to point at the bucket and voila, you’re in business!
Now what’s inside of the bucket is where the technical expertise really comes in. The most important thing you’ll need to have in your bucket is an HTML file, which is an executable text document that defines how your website will be laid out to viewers. In addition, a CSS file defines the style of the webpage (colors, fonts, sizes, etc). If you’re not familiar with HTML, there are a lot of great resources online to get you started. I personally recommend w3schools.com.
There is obviously a learning curve involved with this method. If you’ve never used AWS, it is a fairly technical service. Don’t get me wrong, the documentation is highly thorough and walks you through every step of the process, but if you’re not tech savvy, you'll need to set aside some time to really dig through the reading material. Luckily for you, I wrote a complete guide to setting up a static website on Amazon S3, which you can read here.
Creating a website is a neccesary step in taking your business or brand to the next level. Although there is a bit more leg work involved, creating one from the ground up gives you the most freedom in customizing a site that is truly your own. While popular web design services cost a premium price, there are cheaper/far more effective solutions to building a powerful, secure and dynamic website.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy the business guides that I've written on my personal content library. Please also consider sharing this article using the social media links below.