If you’re setting up a website, for business or otherwise, there are quite a few options available to you. For me, they boil down to two. If it’s a small site with just one page, or a handful of pages, which is never likely to expand much, I just create the HTML pages on their own. There are many great templates that can be used, and that’s how I’ve created sites for family and friends like this and this.
Modifying HTML/CSS templates is not for the faint-hearted though: some knowledge of these markup and stylesheet languages is necessary to get the sites to look right.
For any site which is bigger than this – or if you have no intention of learning code – you’ll need a content management system (CMS). The ‘Site Builder’ apps which come with many web hosts, or integrated hosting and site building services such as Wix and Squarespace, can be slightly easier to use, but they’re very restrictive and they make it hard to move to something else in the future. They’re also a bit suspect when it comes to SEO. You probably won’t want to look any further than the go-to CMS, WordPress, which has something like 60% of the market. Indeed, it’s now claimed to power over a third of all the websites in the world.
There are thousands of WordPress templates out there, and it’s possible to get going straight away, but if you want your site to look just the way you want it to, you’ll need to learn quite a lot. Getting help from an experienced WordPress designer will probably be a better approach, but you’ll be left with a site that can be modified and improved by almost anyone, so you won’t be tied to that designer for life. And for almost anything you’ll subsequently want to do, there’ll be how-to guides online.
It’s the open nature of WordPress that makes it so appealing. The software is free, and there are so many people who know how to modify and maintain it that your installation will be pretty well future-proof. In addition, the ability to maintain a WordPress site is becoming a standard business skill, so it’s a wise choice for businesses where more than one person is likely to be involved in running the website. Note the difference between ‘hosted’ and ‘self-hosted’ WordPress though.