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Building a Website - one Self Starter's tale
by Startacus Admin
Alex Bell is a law graduate and writer on a quest to create the prettiest accessories and gifts boutique in the world. Tickle & Pink was created out of a desire for fun, different things that you won’t find anywhere else, with a focus on standing out from the crowd and being unique (and supporting ethical businesses as much as possible). In this, her first post for Startacus, Alex shares some words of wisdom on building her first website...
When I first had the idea of starting my online boutique, Tickle and Pink, I knew it would only work if I could find some way of keeping the cost of creating the website down. I wanted to have a go at building it myself but, like most people, I felt quite intimidated by the prospect. There is a wealth of information out there about building websites, and much of it is contradictory.
The first article I read said that in order to create a decent website you had to spend at least £5,000, otherwise it would look amateurish or wouldn’t be functional. This scared me a bit because, for a boutique in particular, a nice looking site is a must and there was clearly going to be no point building the site myself if it turned out to be crap. At around the same time I also read a chapter in a book that said if you wanted your website to look good and to work then you really did need to get a professional to build it for you. And this was a book about how to start a business with no money! I thought that surely if even they were saying that you couldn’t design and build a website yourself then it had to be true.
But you don’t know for sure unless you try so I had a look at some free website builders. The first one was so complicated that I couldn’t even get a sample page put together. Others wanted you to sign up to paying hundreds of pounds a month. But then I found Weebly.
Their set-up was by far the easiest to navigate and understand. Their WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) drag-and-drop editor made it very easy for someone like me, with only limited knowledge and understanding, to put together a nice looking site fairly quickly. It was all quite intuitive but whenever I came across something that I wasn’t sure about, Weebly have a very good Support section with articles and video tutorials that helps you to better understand what you can do and how to do it. And on the one or two occasions when I got really stuck and just couldn’t quite work something out on my own, I emailed Weebly’s support team and they always came back to me promptly with an email that answered my question.
There is also a Weebly iPhone app so that you can easily manage your site on the go, and Weebly websites are automatically optimised for viewing with a mobile phone (quite important for an e-commerce site since many sales now come from portable devices).
I know Weebly have been criticised for not having enough choice of design templates, and perhaps that’s fair, but I wanted the look of my site to be totally unique so it was always my intention to commission my wallpaper and headers elsewhere, and you can find lots of social media icons online for free.
For various reasons (to be explored in a future blog post!) I chose not to use Weebly’s own e-commerce elements but to go with a third party shopping cart instead, which integrated easily into my Weebly site. I chose to upgrade from a completely free Weebly plan to Weebly Starter (for $49 a year) so that I could customise the footer, but that was the only thing I paid out for – there were no hidden costs – and this seems extremely good value given what I originally thought I might have to pay for a functioning e-commerce website.
Perhaps there are other website builders out there that might be a little more fancy than Weebly, or have a greater choice of design templates, but for my purposes I found it a great way of building a website from scratch with very little technical know-how. My experience with them has been nothing but positive and I’m really happy with the way my site has turned out: Go see for yourself - Tickle and Pink !
Curious to find out some more about Tickle and Pink? Here's all the social media links where you can do just that:
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