These days, having an online presence is incredibly important. Your website is especially important, as most of the time it will be how potential customers get their first impression of you. We’ve written previously about things to ask your website developer. But what if you’re not ready for such a big commitment yet? If you just want to dip your toe in the water, here are three companies that will help you get a simple website up and running, with minimal technical knowledge required.

1. Tumblr

This is one of the simplest ways to get started. All you need to do is sign up for an account, pick a template, and away you go. Tumblr is best for blogging and putting up photos, so if your business runs along those lines (think handicrafts, bakery, restaurant, anything that is eminently photographable) then Tumblr might work for you.

Technically, Tumblr can also fall under the category of social media, but it’s less about the interaction and more about the posting of information that can then be shared. It also has some excellent themes for businesses–check out this page for a sampling of the kind of themes you can get. If you have your own domain name, Tumblr also has that option.

Tumblr is completely free, including adding your own domain name.

2. WordPress

No doubt you’ve already heard of WordPress–it’s one of the most commonly used sites. As a matter of fact, that’s what we use here at Leaders in Heels!

WordPress comes in two flavours–you can either use their hosting (which comes with a free domain name, or your can run it off your own web host and install it yourself. The latter requires you to own a domain name. On WordPress hosting, you get 3GB of storage space and unlimited bandwidth while installing it yourself will depend on the limits of your web hosting plan.

WordPress is easy to use, hugely customisable with a large range of themes and plug-ins for just about any requirement such as eCommerce or portfolios, and even easier to keep updated once set up. It’s also free in both flavours, though note that if you want to use a custom domain with WordPress hosting, there is a small annual charge of USD$13 .

3. Squarespace

There are many sites that allow you to design a website in a simple drag-and-drop function, such as Wix or Weebly. I’ve found, however, that Squarespace is one of the best out there. It’s not as well-known as the others yet, but it has the most elegant and carefully-selected website designs–one look, and it’s clearly heads and shoulders above the others. It also has the most bandwidth and storage. All its themes are responsive, meaning they will automatically change to fit smaller screens such as tablets and smartphones, a very important consideration in our mobile-driven society.

You also have extensive help videos if it seems a little overwhelming, and they also have a 24/7 support team, which is always appreciated when working late into the night–or if you live on the other side of the world from New York!

Squarespace only has paid plans, starting from USD$8 a month. You get a free custom domain for the first year, as well (but are charged at USD$20 a year afterwards, so it may be worth looking around at other domain name providers). If you want a website with a design that’s not just simple to create and edit, but also highly customisable, I’d strongly recommend giving them a go.

What online services would you recommend for someone starting a website? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Featured image: Construyendo una torre 2

We’re just over half way through the business success secrets series now. I hope you’ve been able to use the information from the previous three articles to build a solid foundation for your business based around your strengths, passions, and lifestyle. It’s now time to take the next step and let you people know you exist.

Secret #4 – Getting Your Message out Using Low Cost and Free Strategies

Without customers you have no business. Without marketing you’ll most likely have no customers. What exactly is marketing and how can you choose the right strategy for you?

Definitions of marketing vary slightly from source to source but the common theme is the promotion or advertising of products or services that encourage customers to buy. There are many different ways you can market your products to customers. Here are just a few:

  • Social Media
  • Direct mail
  • Free consultations
  • Google Adwords
  • Product reviews
  • SEO
  • Product sampling
  • Running competitions

It can be very overwhelming sometimes, especially if you’re in the start-up phase of your business. How do you know which strategy will work the best for you? What will give you the best bang for your buck?

Unfortunately there’s no magic formula that will guarantee results. The success of your marketing comes down to three things:

  1. Matching your strategy to your personality
  2. Being consistent
  3. Tracking your results

The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get your message out there. There are lots of free and low cost options available. Here are my top marketing strategies for businesses on a budget:

  • Set up a Facebook business page ( This gives you a lot of functionality that your personal profile doesn’t have. Get 10,000 Fans ( does a really good job of this and provides some great free information.
  • Get a WordPress website. This is a really low cost way to have a professional looking website that allows you to add widgets (similar to apps) to engage your customers and share information. If you’re not selling anything on your website the free version would be suitable.
  • Add your business name and website to your signature at the bottom of every email you send out.
  • Share information around the area of your expertise. You could do this by writing an eBook, an article, blog post (online web log), press release, or even commenting on someone else’s blog, Facebook page, group or forum.
  • Create a short video (1-3 minutes) addressing one of the most commonly asked question you get using your smartphone. Mention your website and post it on YouTube.

I recommend my clients focus on 3-5 strategies they’re comfortable with. Do them consistently, do them well and automate them where possible. If you can’t choose a strategy, start with the ones you like and use. The information found in your fingers and fingerprints can also guide you.

The next topic in the series will be on how to keep your business overheads down.

Leonie Hope

Leonie Hope is known as the Purpose, Passion and Profit Specialist, and founder of Inspired Life Paths. She’s also a speaker, author, and qualified NLP Coach. Leonie’s passionate about empowering entrepreneurs and business owners to create a profitable, unique and authentic business that stands out from the crowd and makes a difference. She achieves this by interpreting the information found in your fingers and fingerprints.

Top Photo: Credit