Creating your own website is both cheap and easy these days, and is a great way to boost business. Instead of reaching only customers local to your shop, you can attract an far wider audience with a web presence. Customers who would otherwise have no idea your business exists will find your services or goods and if they like what they see, they'll spend their money with you rather than your competitors.
Of course, it isn't only businesses that need websites. You might run a club which could benefit from a website to give up-to-date information on how to join, as well as a place for members to read the latest news and interact with each other. Alternatively, you may want to create a website to give people all the information they need about a big event such as a wedding: locations of the church and reception, directions, nearby hotels, a guest book to sign and more.
However, if you want your own personal domain name such as www.pcadvisor.co.uk rather than www.pcadvisor.wordpress.com, you'll need to spend a little money per month. This will also give you the benefit of more space to store your website, an email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org, higher bandwidth limits (so more people can visit your site) and no unwanted adverts on your pages.
If you plan to sell products on your site, it pays to choose the right package as some are much better than others. Some are suitable for only a few items, while others are built for importing huge product catalogues. If you're selling on a small scale, it's sensible to use PayPal or Google Checkout as this saves money on a merchant bank account, and you won't even have to pay a visit to your bank.
Here, we'll show you how to create a website from scratch using Jimdo's Pro package, which costs £5 per month. It's ideal for novices as it's very easy to use. We'll also explain how to list items for sale and how to ensure your site appears in search results so people will actually find it. You should be able to build a simple site in under half an hour, so there's really no excuse not to give it a try.
How to create a website with Jimdo
1. Browse to Jimdo's website and you'll see prominent boxes for choosing a free website name and entering your email address. As it's a free website, the domain will end with .jimdo.com. If you'd prefer something more personalised, and don't want adverts to be shown automatically on your site, you'll need to sign up for a Pro or Business account.
2. Here, we're going to sign up for a Pro account where we'll be able to choose our own custom web address with a .com domain. The £5 per month fee includes one web address with the following top-level domains: .com, .info, .org, .net, .biz, and .de. Unfortunately, .co.uk domains cost £15 extra, but you can always transfer a domain you already own.
3. Click Pricing in the menu at the top, then More Information at the bottom of the Pro column. Enter your desired website name into the box and you'll see if it's available or not. Tick the boxes to accept the terms and conditions and click Next. You'll be given the choice of upgrading an existing free site, or starting a new one.
4. Choose an option and click Order. You can then fill out your name and address details and whether to pay for one or two years up front. If you choose the latter, you'll save £10. The Pro package comes with 5GB of space for your site, plus a 10GB email account.
5. Once your order is processed, you'll be sent an email with a temporary password and domain name with .jimdo.com at the end. This is simply until you formally register the domain name. Click the link to visit your temporary site and log in with the password.
6. Start by changing this password to prevent anyone logging in and altering your site. You'll find the option if you click the gear icon on the right-hand side, then scroll down to the Login section and click Password. There are many other settings in this control panel, most of which are self explanatory.
7. Your next job is to register and activate your domain name. Click on Domains, which you'll find at the top of the Settings window. Click the Register link and enter your details. Make sure there are no errors in the domain name as this is your last chance to change it before it's activated. The process can take up to 24 hours.
8. Currently, your website is full of placeholders, so you'll need to change this to the text and images you want to use. The beauty of Jimdo is that you can simply click on an element and edit it in place. There are no separate editing and viewing modes - what you see is what you get.
9. To get a feel for how this works, hover your pointer over the header of the site and click Edit Header. A series of tabs display the various options for picking a different photo, adjusting the side of the header and altering the title wording or adding a company logo. Click Close to finish.
10. It's already looking better, but you can change the template for a completely different look. Click the top icon (Layout) in the floating menu at the top right and click Jimdo Pro to see the premium templates. You can preview how a layout will look by clicking on it. If you don't like it, just click Cancel.
11. Now, click on the main page title and change it to something more appropriate. You can choose three heading styles, and you'll also see controls on the left to move the element up or down the page and a + button which is for adding a new page element. Click Save to update the page with your changes.
12. Click on the first paragraph and a full text box will open, giving you control over the font colour, alignment and options to add links to other pages or other websites. As this element includes an image, there's a second tab where you can edit the image as well. Notice that arrows appear when you hover your mouse over the elements. This allows you to drag them to another place on the page.
13. Once you're finished with the home page, you can tackle your site's navigation. Hover your pointer over the navigation bar (its location will vary depending on the template you chose) and click Edit Navigation. A tree view of the pages on your site will appear. Click the dustbin icon to remove a page, and + to add a page.
14. It's standard practice to have a 'contact us' page, so even if you only have one page besides the home page, make it this one. There will be one by default: to edit it, click on the in the navigation bar, and then edit the elements as you did for the home page.