Part seven of our Behind the Scenes series examines web hosting and design options.
As a small business with very limited means, we weren't sure how we were going to be able to set up a professional website. After doing some searching on the internet, we found the site www.weebly.com, where we could set up a site for free.
We decided to invest in a domain name - that was something we didn't want to skimp on - but kept with their free service. It is a drag and drop interface, so we didn't need to worry about not having any website design or setup skills.
Now that we have been in business for several months, here is our feedback regarding using a free hosting service for your business website:
-Easy to use (no design skills needed)
- Able to add items at any time
- Able to use a paid domain name while still using the site for free
- Several templates to choose from
- Enough variety in layout options to keep it from looking too formulated
- Limited options for checkout cart
- Limited options for layout/design, especially for the background
- Their servers run very very very very slow during the busy times of day
- Sometimes, their site stops working for a few hours completely
- Slower customer service (if you had a paid acct with them, you would get faster service though)
At this stage, we are frustrated with the slowness of their site, and wish we had a more attractive layout, even after completely remodeling our website. However, we are glad that we don't have to pay a fee to have the website, nor do we have to pay someone to do our website (which would mean having to send them our new items every time we had one, paying them each time).
It's a toss up as to whether or not this has been good for our business. We are pretty sure we would have better sales if we had a slightly better looking website; but if we were paying for a website at this point, we would practically be out of business because we just don't have the sales!
What are your experiences with your business website?
Jess Buike is the owner of Java Jess Publishing. To find out more about her business, check out her store here.