By April 22, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

7 Steps to Create your Small Business Website

7 Steps to Create your Small Business Website

2. Choose your Web Content Management Software

Based on what you want to do with your website, you have several choices in software. Many of them are even free (open source) with minimal costs for various add-ons. You would probably be surprised at how many websites you visit use one of these solutions, either stock or customized, including large, well known brands.

E-commerce

If your primary purpose is e-commerce, particularly for products, you should select software which is specifically designed for e-commerce. However, if e-commerce is only a small part of your website’s purpose, you can get free or low-cost add-ons that work with the most popular free content management software discussed below, including Joomla! and WordPress.

For examples of free e-commerce application, visit the following solutions:

Virtuemart

Magenta

oscommerce

OpenCart

 Joomla!

Joomla! is a free content management software that gives you a great deal of flexibility, however as with all similar software, your website will be limited in how it's structured.

While to a pure web developer, this is a constraint they may not like, the templates available for Joomla! that affect their visual appearance and functionality are extensive and it is likely you will find one that meets your needs. For live examples of Joomla! Websites, visit the Joomla!  Community Showcase

In addition to templates, there are thousands of add-ins which give you a great deal of functionality for your website with no programming and very little effort. While many are free, some of the better ones will cost you from $20 $200 or so. In some cases the free version doesn't have as many features as the paid version, so be sure to carefully review the features available. If you want to browse the add-ins, visit Joomla!’s Extensions Directory.

As a content management system, the idea of Joomla! is to avoid needing to code a website from scratch. It also lets you easily make changes and updates going forward, something you or someone who works for you could even do with just a little assistance on occasion from a web developer.

While it is possible and relatively easy to install and set up Joomla! yourself, it will be time consuming particularly if this is the first time you’ve done it. At the very least, consider finding a web developer with experience in Joomla! who can do it for you.

WordPress

Similar to Joomla!, WordPress is an easy-to-use content management system. It also uses templates to give it different looks and add-ins to provide you with additional functionality.

A key difference with WordPress is that its core design is as a blog. While you can use it just like Joomla! with regular webpages, it’s main homepage or even a specific page you select can be set up as an easy-to-use blog with all the typical features you see in the ones you might read today.

You can also get many add-ins for WordPress that add functionality, just like Joomla! That includes e-commerce, social media, picture galleries, memberships, podcasts, videos, newsletters and much more. You can browse many of the WordPress add-ins at their Plugin Directory or do a Google search for the functions you want – you will probably be surprised at what is available.

Like Joomla!, you may want to consider hiring a web developer to do the initial set-up for you at a minimum.

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