Sunday 15 January 2023

Anyone can make a small business website in 2 hours (free PDF eBook)

Help - my kitchen ceiling is leaking!

I recently hired a plumber because there was water dripping from my kitchen ceiling and I couldn't find the source!

So I used Google to search for a local emergency plumber (it was a Saturday!) and I found four in my area that had websites. So I went to their websites to check them out and then called all of them at around 8 a.m. on the Saturday morning but my messages went to their answerphone service and no one has called me back since.

Then, via Google and FaceBook, I found a local plumber (Adrian) who seemed to do emergency callouts but he had no website, only a FaceBook page and a few good reviews. So I took a chance and called him and he was great! He came round in about an hour and quickly traced the source of the leak to a split flexible coupling on the basin cold tap which had been seeping into the ceiling for some time and could have burst at any minute (I will need to replace some ceiling plaster board now though!). 

So, I have found a great new plumber that I will definitely use again in the future. Unfortunately, he did not have a business card for me to pin on my noticeboard so I will have to jot down his number somewhere.

My point is that I called four others before I called him, mainly because I didn't know enough about him just from his FaceBook listing. If he had a small website, I would have called him first because I would know he was not just an amateur plumber advertising on FaceBook and perhaps looking to rip desperate people off when they had an emergency.

He did tell me that he gets most of his work via recommendation and he is always pretty busy.

However, all small businesses that just rely on local advertising, word of mouth and social media for new customers should at least have some business cards printed and a small website. The problem is they don't know how to make a simple website and they often don't have the time to learn either and so they are faced with hiring a professional to make and maintain a website and are naturally reticent about the costs involved.

Even though domestic plumbing jobs and emergency call-outs can help pay the bills, plumbing jobs for letting agencies, landlords and businesses are often more lucrative but it is difficult to get these types of jobs without a nice web site.

The only downside is that if 'Adrian the plumber' gets too busy, he won't be able available for me!

How to make your own website

As you may know, I have changed my two websites and over so that they are now hosted by Hostinger and I have been very happy with their service, support and pricing.

So I looked at what options my plumber Adrian had in order to make his own website (perhaps with my help) and I found that Hostinger now have a new Site Builder hosting service called Zyro. The charges are very reasonable too!

Next I watched a few YouTube videos on Zyro and then I tried it for myself. No knowledge of WordPress or coding is required. If you go through their page, you can actually design, build and modify your own site first before needing to part with any money whatsoever!

You can add more web pages, change the pictures and text and then preview the site to see how others will see it. Then, if you want to go ahead and publish it, you can decide on a domain name for your site and pay for the hosting plan. You also have 30 days in which you can cancel the plan, if you decide you don't want it after all (a sort of trial period).

When I tried it, I found that I could make a site within just a few minutes and I estimated that it would take me about two hours to edit the text and images on the six pages that I thought a small business might require on a web site (e.g. home page, services, pricing, contact me, about, FAQ). I could also have added a gallery page and perhaps a T&Cs page and a customer reference page too.

I have written a few notes on the process and made them into a very small eBook which is free if you are interested in using Zyro to make a small website - it includes links to some Zyro YouTube videos too. It does not tell you how to use Zyro in detail (watch the YT videos for that) but just gives you some idea on which domains and plans to pick, etc.

Most important: Always check the renewal price for your chosen plan and your chosen domain name because you will hopefully have the site for many years.

Easy, cheap and no WordPress to learn!

Note that you could make your own site for a little less using Hostinger's cheapest WordPress plan for approx. $60 a year (renewal price inc. domain), but you would need to learn how to use WordPress which most tradespeople don't have the time to do!

Zyro is slightly more expensive than the cheapest WordPress plan at approx. $90 a year (depending on what plan you choose and the annual domain cost) but it is still a lot cheaper than the others such as Wix, HostGator, 123, etc. 

Hostinger clearly display the start price and the renewal price. With many other host providers, the renewal price (after the first year) can be three or four times greater than the starter 'special offer' price. So beware!

Many of these companies do their best to hide their renewal prices, it seems! HostGator for instance, can tempt you with an initial special offer fee of just $35 for the first year, but the renewal price is $120 for the following years plus domain renewal - that information is well hidden when you first sign up! They offer you the first years domain for free, but when you renew it after a year, you might find out that the domain you have chosen will cost you $50 a year extra, so always look at the domain renewal price too before you pick your domain name.

If you want anything more than just a simple website however or more than one site, you should consider getting a WordPress site. My eBook 'How to make $1000 a month from the Internet' includes some notes and details on setting up a WordPress site which you may also find useful.

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