Imagine this scenario…
You wake up in the morning with a great moneymaking idea. All you need is a website and some traffic and you’re onto a surefire winner.
You switch on your computer and tap away at the keyboard for a couple of hours. Lunchtime arrives, and you’ve already got yourself a great looking website.
Another 10 minutes is spent choosing a domain name and signing up for a hosting account.
Just before you take a break to eat your lunch, you press the “publish” button and your brand-new website is live on the Internet, ready for business.
How great would that be?
From idea to reality in less than four hours.
This may sound too good to be true, but for many people it’s far from a dream. It is happening every day of the week, all around the globe.
“But…” I can hear you saying “… I’m just not technically minded.”
Before you let that put you off, let me introduce you to Sarah, a 79-year-old lady who recently posted the following message on the XSitePro Messageboard:
“At 79 years of age I was beginning to despair. Webmasters are young, highly intelligent, creative, irresponsible, indispensable human beings to people like me, who, 29 years into retirement, enjoys owning websites and receiving cheques every month. Fortunately, a week ago, I found this software, bought it, and have already built 15, or so, of my sites. Absolutely, stunningly, astonishingly brilliant for someone who does not even know what code looks like.”
Isn’t that amazing?
Now, if Sarah’s story hasn’t inspired you to get going, let me debunk four common myths that put many people off building their own websites.
Myth #1 – You need to be a designer.
Definitely not true!
Most great website “designers” are not designers at all – they’re just good at copying what works. They take a look at what other successful websites are doing and then use a similar layout, the same fonts, etc. In other words, they don’t reinvent the wheel, they leverage what has been proved to work.
If you can look at other websites in your chosen niche you can do exactly the same.
Myth #2 – You need years of training.
Building websites doesn’t require the learned mind of a lawyer or doctor. It doesn’t need you to be as hands-on practical as a plumber or electrician, either. You don’t need to go to college for four years to learn the requisite skills to build a website. You don’t even need to go part-time.
Any person of reasonable intelligence can learn to build great looking websites in less than a week, if they have the desire and a willingness to learn a new skill.
Myth #3 – You need to outsource the site’s creation.
There are two important points to remember when it comes to outsourcing.
First, it is very easy to be taken advantage of when you’re outsourcing something you know absolutely nothing about. I can’t count the number of times that people have told me they’d paid several hundred dollars (sometimes even thousands) for a five-page website that shouldn’t have taken more than a couple of hours to build. And that just seems like too high an hourly rate to me.
Second, even if you do choose to outsource your website building, in the long run it is essential for you to have the skills necessary to make minor updates yourself. Otherwise you’ll end up paying out each and every time you need to change anything. Lots of people who outsource forget this, and then begrudge having to keep spending money every time they want to make a change.
It reminds me of an age-old Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
And with the skills so readily accessible, for such a small investment of time and money, it seems crazy to tackle your website creation and management in any other way than by learning to do it yourself.
Myth #4 – You need to be technically inclined.
This is probably the number one reason why many people are scared to build their own websites. But don’t let it put you off. Remember, if 79-year-old Sarah can master building websites, you can too!
Agreed, some people are more technically inclined than others. But if you can follow basic instructions, you can build your own websites – and that’s a fact. Yes, it may take a little practice. But it is a wonderful new skill to acquire, and it is one that you will have for the rest of your life.
My hope is that now that I’ve busted those four common myths, you’ll have the confidence to take a big step forward and grab yourself a big chunk of that virtual real estate in the increasingly online world in which we live.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention… one of the most important reasons why building a website is a great skill to learn is that it’s FUN too! Just imagine how exciting it would be to be able to build a site for your son’s Little League team… or a site about the sponsored walk you’re about to embark upon… or a site about the history of your family… or about your favorite hobby.
Building websites isn’t just about business, it’s a life skill that will benefit you in oh so many ways.
[Ed. Note: Online marketing expert Paul Smithson is the creator of the XSitePro website-building software.]