Everyone needs a digital face to their business. More now than ever, customers are searching for services and goods online. So, you need to have an online presence to make your sales. As most know, that is where your website comes into play.
While there is a wide range of options when it comes to building your website, I am going to be focusing more on the DIY route. If you need any additional guidance* along the way, we provide consultation services.
Note: Reach out if you want us to build the website for you or if you would like a consultation.
*Make sure to check out another free post linked below (with steps included) for setting up an HTML website on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Options For Developing Your Website
With a plethora of options available you can hit the ground running right away on your idea. You can:
- Hire a freelancer
- Hire a company
- Do it yourself
Under each of these routes there are a variety of options, but today we are going to focus on the “Do it yourself” option where you can:
- Use a drop and drag website builder
- Modify a pre-existing website template
- Splice together existing components from different themes
- Create your website from scratch
Another consideration is around hosting costs from any of the above options. I talk about this in a little more detail towards the end of this guide.
Using A Drop & Drag Website Builder
You can choose from options such as Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, Elementor (WordPress theme), or Weebly. This is great for getting started quickly. Some issues we have seen are related to speed, load times, higher fees for site security certificates (SSL), and other add-ons that end up making the cost worth exploring your other options.
This is still a fast and relatively inexpensive option for getting a presence online quickly. Most businesses end up migrating to a different platform sooner or later as their business matures. You want to make sure you do not lose out on business from a poor-looking website.
Modifying A Website Template
Now there are loads of free templates available that you can use today. There are also a plethora of hosting providers to choose from to get your customized template up and running.
Free Website Templates & Themes
While there are some good options for free templates most of them are not going to be as good as a paid version. However, if you are on a tight budget or find a free template that works for you then this can be a great option.
You do want to make sure to check that all of the features are in fact free. A lot of free template authors allow you to pay for upgrades. It is good to see what all of these add up to if you need to use them as they can add up to be more than just paying for a complete template.
Paid Website Templates & Themes
You have lots of options here for finding paid templates. Just search on google “website templates”. You can obviously get much more granular here in relation to the industry such as “attorney website templates”. You can also type in something relating to the type of website such as “attorney HTML templates” or “attorney WordPress theme”.
This option is used by most developers since it saves time on development and you can just modify the template to a customer’s or your own preference. The cost savings are passed onto the client instead of having to spend tens or hundreds of hours to get to the base of the template you could have purchased for $50-70.
Splicing Together Different Templates & Themes
This can be done with a mix of paid or free software options.
You may have found a template that has almost everything you need, but it’s missing the perfect contact form. After searching on CodeCanyon or another platform you find the contact form that goes perfectly with the main website template. So, what do you do? You add the contact form and associated scripts to your template and put it together. This is again saving time from having to create a new contact form from scratch and just bringing it down to integration.
Just remember that not all things integrate well together, so this is something you should look into or get a software consultation.
Creating Your Website From Scratch
This route is the cheapest way to go, but it is also the most time-consuming. Outside of this being the cheapest option this also offers you the most flexibility since you are building it from the ground up.
Even when creating a website from scratch you are more than likely going to choose an existing web stack, framework, or plugins.
There are lots of options for creating websites such as HTML, PHP, Node.js, C#, and the list goes on. Most go with either the best language of choice or most often the language they are most familiar with.
Hosting Your Website On Amazon Web Services
I will briefly cover HTML or WordPress (PHP) website hosting options on Amazon Web Services.
Hosting Your HTML Website On AWS
You really don’t need a backend server for processing. You just need to be able to read/write files on a server. So, you can either go with a server with a trusted hosting provider or go “serverless” in the cloud.
How Creating Your Website On S3 Saves You Money
To save on costs, we are going to go serverless on Amazon Web Services, utilizing S3, Amazon Certificate Manager (ACM) & CloudFront. Instead of paying 10-40 dollars or more per month, you could be paying pennies.
How To Improve S3 Load Time & Caching With CloudFront
By using ACM we get a free SSL certificate from Amazon that we can attach to our CloudFront instance (content delivery). This gives an additional trust signal for our website by having the SSL and the CloudFront service speeds up the delivery and caching of our content.
This is a post that I wrote a little while back covering the steps for setting up your HTML website on AWS.
Hosting A WordPress Site On AWS
This is going to be a more expensive option than creating a static or serverless website.
How Creating A WordPress Site Saves You Time
However, updating the website and adding new content is much easier with this option. This is the reason that a lot of blogs are written on WordPress. You can just add a new post in the graphical user interface (GUI), click post, or schedule a time, and you’re done.
Most Cost-Effective Way To Host A WordPress Site On AWS
You can choose from EC2 servers or choose LightSail which also uses EC2 servers (I believe the previous generation from the current normally?) for much cheaper. We’re talking about running a server on LightSail for as low as $5 a month and you get 750 hours free on AWS’ Free Tier (they have an option for $3.50/mo, but I wouldn’t put my website on one of those – your choice there though).
Note: Make sure to grab a static IP and attach it to your instance. In the event, your server reboots your IP will change unless if you set a static IP. If your IP changes your website will go down because of the DNS record you made pointing to the old IP when you set up your domain to point to your server.
Help Set Up My Website On AWS
Do you need assistance in setting up your website on AWS or want a consultation to discuss your options? We can help at any stage of the process and have helped launch hundreds of websites.
Make sure to sign up for your AWS account with 12 months of the free tier if you don’t have one already.
Speak with an award-winning web design team today to get started.