Build A FREE Website with Weebly
Before you invest any money into a website or domain, get started for FREE to build it! Let's review Weebly today as I know it the best. Wix is very similar for designing but does not offer a free version anymore.
First Step - Create An Account
Weebly is now with Square, so there's a funny two-step log-in process. Create an account by going to www.weebly.com. IF you're prompted to create an account with Square, you'll be redirected to that - just use the SAME user and password to make your life easier.
Decide On A Name
Consider the website address you will ultimately want with the .com, .org, or .edu (dot whatever). You will see a page to begin testing names to see what is available for a domain name (your website's name). See what's close. Think more broadly than what you arrived thinking your address would be. This can take a bit of time. When you see a name that suits you, select it! If you're building a FREE website, your initial website address will be the name you wish, plus dot-weebly-dot-com (.weebly.com). Once you purchase a domain name, the dot-weebly-dot-com will go away, but for now - we're just focused on building for free.
Select A Template Design
Play with a few options that resonate with you in color and style. Future marketing and image branding ideas will be key. This can be changed if needed, all of your content will be reformatted to fit the new design, but this can get wonky. Try to get this right the first time if you can. If you don't feel you have an eye for style, find a friend who may give you additional eyes. There are no great options to change the general color or text style of the templates. We ARE talking FREE templates here.
You're going to want to have a rough idea how many pages you'll want on your website. Select a template with a similar number of tabs at the top. If you go beyond the template's preset tabs, they'll begin layering within the available tabs as "drop-down" menu options.
Weebly's free templates are fairly limited in style, yet can still be quite flexible to work with. While Wix does not have a free option, their least expensive option ($16/month) has a larger base of templates to select from. The price is ultimately similar to what you'll pay for Weebly's professional version, making either service a good option.
Time to Play!
Weebly and Wix are both drag-and-drop styles. Click a design element noted on the sidebar, hold and drag to where you'd like to add it. Click on an element in the template to edit it or upload your own images. You'll see blue lines in the design pane as you move elements (text, images) indicating if you want an element over or under the line. The fonts are pre-sets of the original design elements. You can make the font larger or smaller, maybe mix upper and lower case, but it depends on the template. You will likely want to remove some elements from website pages to make the design your own. I try to build web pages from the top down and leave some elements lower on the page should I decide they may be useful on other pages to move them as I progress through multiple pages.
Time for Additional Eyes!
This is where you may wish to hire an editor or ask a few friends to take a look at your website to be sure it says or does what you want. Are they able to get from your Home page to your Contact or Call to Action page? Do things make sense? Do links work? Is the design style pleasing and comforting, not jarring?
Ready to Release to the World!
You can simply share your beautiful free website as your website! The address will be a bit unique, but not impossible to live with. Or you pay $20 for a domain name to drop the .weebly.com. If you decide to also get a professional website, the domain name may be free for the first year - that's a plus! Get the smallest professional website you need to do business. If you have no likelihood of taking orders or sales through your website, take that into account in your purchase. What features do you need? You can always upgrade later! There is a bit of a price drop by purchasing for the year in advance rather than monthly.
Have you created your own website? Which service did you use and how did it go? If you'd like a hand with your website or even someone to simply create one for you, Let's Chat! I love to build, edit, and maintain websites!
3 Year Goal Setting - Lessons from Perennials
Apparently this is common knowledge for gardeners, but it was news to me! A life coach of mine, Stephanie O'Dea, introduced me to the concept of applying it to goal setting. "Long range goals" have all sorts of philosophies. We all want a bit of reach without asking our crystal balls to see too far in the future. Three years seems reasonable.
This is where we plant seeds. Develop your action plan, marketing plan, and strategies. Get pieces of your business into place - dream up that website, get your feet wet in social media, make your lists of plans, and invest in some education. This is your heavy investing year.
This is the year your efforts begin to take hold. You complete that certificate you were working on. You've tweaked your website to perfection. You've fumbled and learned some social media tricks along the way. Maybe you've gotten that email list going to send news to subscribers. The business cards are getting handed out regularly. You're attending networking events to meet those who need your services. You're making connections. You're figuring out what works and what doesn't as you have your first few customers! The roots are getting stronger.
You're finally in your glory and blossoming! All of that hard work you put into creating your business is finally paying off! You've got some regular clients, you have routines to keep your marketing plan rolling for more customers, you have a handle on how best to do the administrative tasks, and you're showing a profit. Your calendar is filling and you're patting yourself on the back - you've made it! It only gets better from here!
These Things Take Time
So let's take a lesson from our plants - growth and success don't happen overnight or all at once. Remember "Rome wasn't built in a day"? Take your time. Plan on your new business taking time! You're learning as you go. It takes time to make connections and network, to find your tribe. Three years is a good long term plan reference - not too short, not too long.
Where are you in your growth cycle and business plans?
I'd be honored to assist you at the start of your business (website and marketing) or end of your project (editing and proofreading) as we Read. Write. Engage. Let's chat!
Ways to Refresh & Renew Your Energy
Ah, glorious summer! One of the best excuses to take a break, hit the open road, and find a change of scenery. For those of us in the desert, we head north for pine trees and double digits! As I've just returned from a few days away, the total break is still fresh in my mind.
Leave the Work at Home
Seriously. The world will not end. You can do it! Cemeteries are full of indispensable people. You need a break. You deserve a break! You will thank yourself for it later.
#1 Way to Avoid Burnout
Taking time away from your usual routine is critical for your mental health. Our brains need a rest and a change. You'll be more clear headed and with fresh ideas if you truly take a break. Some go on a total device/electronics break to be able to truly disconnect from the daily grind. Out of office messages on email are a godsend! Folks can leave you a message knowing when you'll be back. If you're a business owner, you should have someone who can cover for you with truly critical matters. Everyone needs a back-up - this is the time to use it.
Burnout is Tough
We've all been there at various times and to various levels. Regular breaks can lessen the depth of burnout when it hits. In extreme cases, burnout can last for months to even a year! It can even lead to depression, substance abuse, and suicide. Let's not do that.
The Solution is Simple
Self-care is critical on a daily basis - more than 1-2 times a year and a vacation. But do schedule those truly away holidays to fully recharge! It gets the ideas flowing when you disconnect from work.
Options on the Daily:
What are your go-to methods to avoid burnout? Love to hear your solutions!
H/T to Tara Whitaker's recent inspiring podcast!
My special talent is using template based web hosting servers. I've gotten rather proficient with them over the years! I'll share my Top 3.
I've worked with Weebly websites for years. It is truly the easiest and most intuitive to use in my book.
This service is very similar to Weebly.
This group bought Weebly yet maintains two separate design platforms - Weebly and Squarespace.
What website builder have you considered or worked with? Leave a comment to share your experiences!