A website has become a necessity rather than a luxury these days. No matter how big or small your business, it should have a solid online presence. Before dealing with any company or trying its services, a smart user commonly does a bit of research on the web with the purpose of learning more about your business, products and services. Providing people with easy-to-reach online marketing material is the key to creating and developing long-lasting relationships with new customers.
If you are providing any services or selling products, having a well built website is an indispensable component of your online marketing strategy. Even if you do not sell online, developing a business web page that would give the users a deeper insight into what you are doing will help you to generate better customer loyalty. A website works in a similar way to your business card. By having your company story, its services and objectives properly presented, you can give your potential customers more confidence as to whether or not to deal with you.
Creating a business website can be easier than you think. If you are not on a limited budget, you can ask a web design agency or an experienced web developer for help. The process of creation of a custom-made design will take some time, so you will need to arm yourself with patience before your one of a kind web project is done. Another solution is to try to develop a startup on your own. There are plenty of online services that can come in handy for that purpose. Today, we will discuss companies that provide web hosting, content management systems, online courses and stock images.
In order to make your site accessible on the web, you will need to host it with a web hosting company that has all servers connected 24/7. Depending on the type of business that you run, you can choose from Shared, VPS, Dedicated or Managed hosts.
- Shared web hosting is a preferred solution for beginners. Blogs, small businesses, online CV or portfolio websites can use this to their benefit. On a shared web hosting you will be sharing resources with other businesses like you. Memory, space and computational powers are limited. So, when your business grows with time, you will need to upgrade to one of the following options.
- With Virtual Private Server you will get an allotment of system resources and protected memory, administration tools and configuration options. This type of web host will be the best solution for medium businesses that are growing rapidly. Unlike the Shared web hosting, VPS allows you to share the server, yet maintain full control over its processing power.
- As the name implies, Dedicated web hosting is dedicated solely to your site. All the storage space, processing power and bandwidth will be under your control. Large and fast growing businesses can opt for this version.
- With Managed web hosting, you will get all the work done for you. Such hosts provide not only the server space but also support for all the configurations that you will need for your site to work.
Now let’s see what web hosting companies are known as the most trusted and popular on the web.
InMotion Hosting provides shared, dedicated and VPS hosting. The service is flexible and affordable. Depending on the plan that you choose, you will need to pay a fee starting from $4.89/mo in order to get unlimited domains, 4GB+ of available RAM, monthly premium transfers, unlimited mail accounts, etc.
WP Engine specialize in providing managed WordPress hosting. Years of experience, top-notch support, WordPress expertise and a stellar reputation make this web hosting company the preferred option of a number of online businesses. Based on your business requirements, you can choose from personal, professional, business, premium or enterprise grade plan. The plans are priced starting from $29/mo, and increase with more advanced options. The cheapest offer includes unlimited data transfer, 10GB of local storage, 24K monthly visitors, and 1 install.
BlueHost is one of the most popular hosting solutions on the web. Shared, VPS, Dedicated and WordPress hosting are on the list of their services. Plans start from $3.49/mo for those users who are only taking their first steps in web development. If you need to get more control of the server, more security and power, then get ready to pay more. 24/7 live chat is available as well.
CloudWays provide managed cloud hosting for WordPress, Magento, PrestaShop, Drupal, Joomla, and all PHP apps. The hosting is super easy and intuitive. In addition to 1-click installs, they provide automatic system updates, unlimited domains, built-in staging, email add-ons, a handy migration tool, 30 Day free trial, and 24/7 support.
Evohosting is a UK based web hoster that offers 4 hosting plans for blogs and websites of any level of complexity. WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Drupal, OpenCart or any other platform will operate at top performance on this host. Among the services that they provide we can highlight 24/7 support, 2 auto installers offering 300+ free software apps, Installatron AND Softaculous, cPanel, and so much more.
HostGator is recognized as one of the most affordable hosting service providers on the web. Shared, Dedicated and VPS hosting plans are among the services that they offer. Easy transfers from other hosts, simple and intuitive interface, 24/7 support, 45 day money back guarantee, flexible software options, smart hardware, and plenty of other smart options are included with each plan.
CMS (Content Management System)
Building a website from scratch can be a daunting task for users with little or no coding experience. As a rule, web design agencies and expert web developers help them to create an official web page for their businesses. However, as the practice shows, not all startups, small businesses or sole entrepreneurs have a large enough budget to afford the services of expensive web design companies. This is when such CMS as WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop, Magento, OpenCart, and other platforms come in handy. Basically, these are applications that allow you to manage the content of your website or Internet app in an easy way.
It is wrong to think that only blogs and small businesses can trust their online presence to a CMS. Nowadays, the industry has become so rich with different companies specializing in producing products for all the aforementioned platforms, that it is not a problem to build a corporate or eCommerce site based on WordPress, for example.
WordPress would be a great choice for beginners. Well-documented, it provides newbies with detailed instructions on how to use the platform to start a blog, portfolio or even an eCommerce site. WordPress is proud to have a very broad community of WordPress developers who produce free and premium themes, plugins, extensions, and a number of other useful products for quicker and easier site creation. Small-to-medium-sized businesses trust their web presence to this CMS. More complex web projects can also reveal their full power with the help of WordPress.
Joomla is a little bit more complicated than WordPress, but still does not require any deep programming skills in order for you to work with it on your own. Just like WP, Joomla includes a number of ready-made themes, both premium and free. Unlike WordPress, the majority of Joomla plugins and extensions are not free. If you are running a content-heavy website, then Joomla is the right solution to handle it.
PrestaShop is the industry leader in open source solutions for eCommerce. Coming loaded with plenty of handy features, it is super easy to setup and configure. The platform is available for download as two major options: a fully-hosted Prestashop cloud where you can start selling right away, and a self-hosted Prestashop that provides you with the full technical control of your online store. Prestashop stores look amazing and can be handled even without special coding skills. The variety of ready-made Prestashop themes is truly vast.
OpenCart is an open-source, multi-lingual, SEO optimized, multi-store and multi-currency eCommerce platform. It is quite simple in terms of installation. Actually, there are two ways to install it – either manually or while using a 1-click script installer. OpenCart has an impressive front-end template, but you have the freedom to choose from a rich variety of free and premium OpenCart templates that are available on the web. Unlike other platforms, OpenCart allows you to set up multiple eCommerce sites on a single install.
Magento is an open source eCommerce platform, like PrestaShop. It’s also powered with advanced options that will help you create a competitive online store. Ready-made Magento themes can be easily found via search. Magento is available in two versions – Community Edition for developers and small business owners, and Enterprise Edition tailor-made for large business projects. Magento includes smart SEO features that cannot be found in PrestaShop. The Magento community has contributed a number of modules, plugins and extensions for a variety of purposes. If you need to handle loads of data and traffic, than Magento will be the right choice for you.
After you choose the best CMS you’ll have to think about the design of your website. Of course, you can build your website from scratch, or you can hire a professional designer to do the job for you, but there is a third option that will neither take a lot of time nor money: you can use a ready-made template. Luckily, there is a huge choice of WordPress themes, Joomla templates, PrestaShop themes, OpenCart templates and other kinds of templates on the net.
Some companies specialize in the development of one specific product, like Dessign.net that release WordPress themes only, Joomlart create Joomla themes, etc. Some other companies have made a step forward and started specializing in different types of themes. The first company that comes to mind is TemplateMonster, who are offering themes for WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop, and other Content Management Systems that we mentioned earlier in this post.
When choosing a theme provider from whom you can download a free or premium website template, we highly recommend that you check for how long they have been established, do they provide support and updates for their products and do they have real customer reviews on their site, etc.
There is a wealth of resources and online courses that will provide you with extensive information on how to get started with your online project and make it a success. Below we offer for your consideration some of the most popular training solutions, with 3 free bonuses.
Treehouse is a repository of online training courses that will help you learn web design, coding and much more. The service is not free, however you can opt for a free trial in order to decide whether they provide what you are looking for. All videos are recorded by expert teachers. The whole process of learning is divided into three major steps – theory, practice and earning badges indicating your skills level.
WP Sessions provide WordPress video tutorials. Here you will find video tutorials on how to get started, work with the most popular WordPress plugins, how to write code, boost WordPress performance, boost its testing, and much more.
Coursera is a popular educational platform that provides videos not only about web design but also art, social sciences, business, etc. The library includes over 1,515 courses on different topics. They partner with the world’s leading universities and organizations. With Coursera you can study on your own schedule by watching video, taking quizzes and connecting with fellow students any time you wish.
Founded back in 1995, Lynda is a leading online learning company that provides video courses on a rich variety of topics, including software, business, technology, web design, and creative skills. They offer several subscription plans for individual, corporate, academic or governmental subscriptions. All lectures are conducted by experts in a specialized field. English, French, German and Spanish language content is uploaded for international users.
Bonus: Free Online Tutorials
- Startup Hub is a free educational resource that includes answers to the most popular questions that people ask when working on their first web project: How much money do I need to start a website? How do I choose the right CMS for my website? I Need a website for my small business. Where do I start? If you have similar questions, consider visiting StartupHub.
- Next comes a WordPress tutorial that explains how to build a WordPress site in 5 days. Created in the form of a blog post, it includes a list of links that guide users to the more detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to get started.
- Another guide that we recommend you to consider was published by Colorlib. In their tutorial they also give instructions on how to build a WordPress website in three steps.
Stock Image Libraries
No web project can go without imagery. This is especially important today, when the competition is tough and everyone tries hard to impress the audience with something really outstanding. An image can speak a thousand words. So, in order to look breathtaking, you will need to keep at hand several resources providing quality photography.
Depositphotos is a rich repository of photos that was founded back in 2009. Serving customers in about 192 countries and in 20 languages, they have a rich collection of images for multiple purposes. Photos, vectors, editorial stuff and videos are on the list of products that they offer.
BigStock are proud to have a collection of over 30 million stock photos, videos and vectors. The site is available in 20 languages. Depending on the number of images that you will need to download every month, you can choose from three different plans.
In addition to the paid images and videos, iStock provide free photo and video material every week. In order to access these, all you need to do is to sign in and join the club. As per their library, at iStock you can find photos, illustrations, videos and audios for multiple purposes.
Fotolia is a photo bank including over 48 million images. All content that is shared on the site is contributed by a community of international artists and graphic designers. If you have something to share, you can also join the club and share your creative photos and videos. The pricing plans will impress you. For example, if you are a beginner, you can opt for a pay-as-you-go plan and pay only for those images that you download.
Bonus: Free stock images can be found on:
- SplitShire offers free stock photos on multiple topics, with no copyright restrictions.
- Pexels not only shares free stock photos that you can use for any purpose, but also welcomes photographers to become part of the club and share their own work on the site.
- At Pixabay you can find over 520,000 photos, vectors and illustrations, all of which are available for free download. For the user’s convenience, the site can be translated into 16 languages.
That’s it for today. Thank you for being with us from the top to the bottom of this blog post. We hope that you have found some useful tips and pieces of advice that you can implement into your own works. Getting started in web development is easier than it seems. Self education, strong commitment to your work and patience will help you achieve success.
Traditionally, we’d like to learn about your own stories and experience of getting started with your first web project. What companies helped you the most? What resources do you still actively use? Feel free to speak up below this post.
Written by Katherine Crayon, copywriter reporting on tech news and all aspects of the web design industry. Anyone looking for more inspirational posts, tips and advice or simply the latest industry news, meet her in person on G+ and Twitter.
The post 20 Companies to Help You Start a Website in 2016 + Free Bonuses appeared first on Web Resources Depot.