Formerly Nineke Publishing, Nineke Creative Consulting delivers digital content & marketing strategy for passionate small businesses.
To grow your business online.
You need a website for your art or business, to be taken seriously in 2021.
Doing business by DM is for scammers.
It’s time to get serious about your business. It’s time to get online. There are lots of options, but you don’t want to waste time or money running through them.
First, REGISTER YOUR DOMAIN. Domains are cheap cheap cheap and registration is good for one year. That gives you plenty time to decide exactly what you want to do with your website – and figure out how it’s going to make money.
YOUR DOMAIN is the name of your website, the website address, the www.yourbusiness.com part of it. Your domain name is different from your web hosting. You can buy them separately, or from the same company at the same time.
My recommendation for passionate small business owners with long-term vision is to self-host their website. Self-hosted means you have control over every single part of your website – front end, back-end, internal file structure, and database.
When you first get a website you may not think this is important, and you may never even see your database. But being able to get inside the database and file system is VITAL if you ever want to make your website do more. This access allows your web designer or developer to create something truly unique TO YOUR BUSINESS.
Only buy your domain and hosting together if you’re ready to sell products and services IMMEDIATELY. Otherwise, every week that your empty store is online you’re wasting your money.
Know what you want your website to achieve, and make a business model.
Your business model = product development + logistics + payment + marketing. You have to be able to answer these questions: What are you selling? How will you deliver it? How will you get paid? How will you reach new buyers over time?
Make a plan for this BEFORE you get hosting. Do this planning first. THOROUGHLY. If you sell physical products – TAKE PHOTOS BEFORE YOU SET UP YOUR WEBSITE. Decide on pricing, calculate shipping costs, cover all your business basics.
Envision your website. Look at other websites in a similar industry. Pull inspiration from Pinterest. PLAN your BRAND Aesthetic.
After you develop your business model AND have a visual for your web design, THEN buy web hosting.
If you buy your hosting before you know how you’ll deliver products, or how you want the website to look, you’ll get burnt out and frustrated in less than two months. Once you burn out on your website you’re going to be afraid to invest more money into it.
And you know that saying about scared money.
Got your business model? Know what you want to name your website? Know how you want it to look? Great!
The next step is deciding where to build your website.
If you just want a quick store that looks like every other online store, then go with Shopify. If you just want a little extra spending money and your store isn’t a serious business, try Etsy or Big Cartel.
If you’re serious about launching your business website and you want something original, something that you can expand over time – GO SELF-HOSTED, and install the WordPress software.
WordPress is a FREE software for building and managing websites. This software can be installed on any domain, or self-hosted website. You will always have to pay for domain/hosting. You don’t have to pay for WordPress software.
WordPress.com offers domain registration and hosting packages with their software pre-installed, but their hosting packages charge more for access to plug-ins. Plug-ins are additional (mostly free) software that you can add on to the FREE WordPress software on any self-hosted website.
WordPress gives website owners options. It’s a software that offers plug-ins and integrations with various major online brands.
Plug-ins are additional software that lets your website do more, without needing to know code.
Verified WordPress plug-ins like Elementor, WooCommerce, Mailchimp, YoastSEO, and even Facebook can power your website to process orders, grow your email list, and customize your website design more powerfully than most of the other website platforms. WordPress is simple to use, and customize. And with the right hosting provider, it can handle volume traffic and orders.
Squarespace and Shopify are not self-hosted. When you have a website on these services you’re restricted to their file structure and their database rules. Any design changes will be limited to what their software allows.
Squarespace offers e-commerce solutions and some software integrations but it’s not very easy to customize unless you know CSS & HTML and have LOTS OF PATIENCE.
The big names you think of first will rip you off. I’ve had to save clients from these companies before. I know they’re full of crap.
Buy your hosting at DreamHost & save more when you choose an annual plan. Plus, you’ll get one FREE domain, and free email for your website. Most other hosting companies charge extra for email, security and privacy.
DreamHost gives you privacy, security, free back-up, and one free domain with annual hosting.
DreamHost is best for brand new businesses with small budgets. The only downside is that once in a while the servers may go down. Servers keep websites running. When DreamHost servers go down, your site can be offline for days at a time.
This doesn’t happen often. But it can happen. When it happened to me, my website was down for almost seven days, until I switched to Siteground.
They guarantee backup servers, so your business never goes offline. Siteground also offers free email, security, and privacy. However, your domain won’t be free, and their hosting packages are a little pricier than DreamHost.
You can compare GoDaddy, WordPress.com, Domains.com, Namecheap, DreamHost, Blue Host, Bravenet, and Siteground on your own time. I’ve been making websites for more than 12 years and I’ve worked them all.
The cheaper hosting companies are all garbage. Remember you usually get exactly what you pay for in this life.
Stay away from Namecheap, Domains.com, and BlueHost. Your site will be slow, your contact information will public, and they’ll try to over-charge you extra for services that should be included in your plan.
GoDaddy and WordPress also charge extra for services like email, or additional software privileges. And those hosting plans aren’t even cheap to begin with!
Squarespace is more expensive than self-hosted, and is difficult to customize if you don’t know how to build websites.
Bravenet isn’t awful. But security and privacy protection cost extra.
Siteground offers 24/7 live customer chat support, reliable servers, free email, security and privacy protection (meaning your contact information isn’t public to spammers).
Regardless where you choose to host your website, make sure you read the service Terms & Conditions. Most companies will give you a discount on annual hosting for the first year.
Rates may go up, and there may be cancelation fees within a certain time frame. Make sure you’re aware of these.
Find a web designer to bring your vision to life. Obviously if you’re reading this you know where to find a web designer.
Think about what you want your website to do. Is it about selling the products? Do you want to have a blog? If you collect emails, what are you going to do with them?
Do you want site visitors to follow you on Instagram too? Don’t just throw the icon on there – embed your IG feed!
The right web designer will help you dream bigger, AND create a website that tells your business story and converts your visitors.
And anyone can start a business. But how many new businesses last after the first year? How many websites go offline because some shady web designer stopped answering emails?
You can get any old website and launch any old store. But if you’re doing what you love and bringing passion to your business then you’ll need a web designer who can match that.
Nineke Creative Consulting does more than just websites. We’re building a vision around work we believe in that we love.
Creativity is the passion on this side.