One important aspect of running a successful business is maintaining a functional, attractive, and modern website. But that's often easier said than done, especially when you're focused on the day to day tasks of running your business. The good news is that there are many options available to help you create a polished website, or upgrade your existing one. The best option for you will depend on a number of factors:
- How much time you want to invest, both upfront and on an ongoing basis.
- Your budget.
- Your "must-have" features (appointment scheduling? blog?).
- How much technical expertise you and your staff members currently have (or how much you would be willing to learn).
Today, there are many options that can help you easily create a polished website for your business, without requiring any previous web development experience. For example, you can:
- Hire a web designer/developer to build one for you from scratch.
- Find a company that specializes in creating industry-specific websites, such as the chiropractic website services.
- Use a service like Wix, WordPress, or Squarespace to build the website on your own, with easy-to-use templates.
In this article, we will explore the third option by walking through the steps of creating a website on Wix for our hypothetical dental clinic, Brite Ideas Dental.
How much does a Wix domain cost?
Depending on your needs, you can create a website on Wix for free, or for up to $25/month, with the most popular package being $14/month.
If you're willing to have Wix ads on your site, and have your URL contain "wixsite", you can make your site for free. Here's an example from http://integrativewell.wixsite.com/wellness/dr-llop. Note the 'wixsite' in the url, and the Wix ads in the screenshot.
If you don't want to have any Wix ads on your site, and want to have your own domain name (without the wixsite in the url), then you'll have to upgrade to one of the premium plans. The most popular premium plan costs $14/month, but if you're looking to save some money and are just trying to get your feet wet with your website, then you can get by with the $10/month package which just has less bandwidth and storage. So, if you don't want to have ads and want to use your own domain name, then the cost of building your site for the first year will be about $120-$168. If you add additional modules, such as Wix Bookings, then this will cost a bit more. Note that the premium packages include a free domain for the first year. Beyond that, you'll have to renew the domain, which costs an additional $10-$15 per year.
We recommend that most businesses pay for a premium plan, since it makes your website look more polished without having the Wix ads, and since it makes it easier for people to remember your site's URL without 'wixsite' in it -- briteideasdental.com is much easier to remember than briteideas.wixsite.com/dental. So for most businesses, the cost of building their website on Wix is about $120-$168 for the first year.
Now that we've decided we want to have our own domain name, we'll talk about how to purchase a domain.
How to buy a domain name
Let's say we want to buy a domain name for our hypothetical dental clinic, Brite Ideas Dental. First, we have to make sure that this domain is actually available for purchase. There are many domain registrars you can use to purchase your domain, such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, and 1&1.
A quick search on GoDaddy shows us that it's available. It costs 2.99 for the first year and $14.99 for the second year, if you register for a 2-year subscription.
Now it's time to comparison shop. 1&1 is running an offer for new customers: $0.99 for the first year, and $14.99 for each year thereafter.
On Namecheap, the same domain costs a straight $10.69 a year.
Just to be sure, let's check what it would cost to buy the domain name through Wix: the lowest price is $12.95/year for three years, making it more expensive, on average, than any other option we've seen thus far. We don't think anyone should buy a domain name through Wix, especially because it costs more than Namecheap, and many Wix premium plans include a free domain name as part of the plan.
Overall, it looks like Namecheap is the most economical option, especially if you want to keep your domain name for longer than two years. Namecheap allows you to set up auto-renew on your domain (as long as you don't mind storing your payment method in your account), and allows you to lock in the $10.69/year price for up to 10 years by buying a multi-year subscription upfront.
Creating the Wix Site
Thankfully, you don't have to know anything about graphic design to create a professional, polished website. All you have to do is choose from Wix's library of templates. Whether you're a yoga instructor, food blogger, or physical therapist, you'll find a template to match your needs.
To get started, sign up for a free Wix account by entering your email address and creating a password.
Wix will ask you what type of editor you prefer to use to create your website -- we'll choose the drag and drop editor since it looks like it's easier to use.
If we search for dental, we can see that one template is actually called "Dentist." Let's try using that one for our fictional dental practice, Brite Ideas Dental. You can see what the template looks like here.
As you can see, the template already looks pretty professional. All we have to do is customize the template with the name of our practice, uploading our own images, and filling in the details -- like the "About Us" section, and location and contact information.
With just a few clicks, we were able to customize the name of the site and change the font. Note that you can see Wix ads along the top and bottom of the website shown in the screenshot above. This is a good example of what Wix's ads will look like on your site if you choose the free or most basic premium plan.
Since all the building blocks of a typical dental website were already included in the template, it makes it very easy for you to get up and running, without worrying about planning the flow of the website, or sketching out its various sections. You can simply start filling in details about what services you offer, some background on your staff, and adding other resources and information (for ideas, check out our guide for tips about creating content for your website).
Connecting the Domain
The final piece of the puzzle is to connect the domain we purchased to the Wix site that we created. This will make it so that when we go to briteideasdental.com, then our Wix site will show up. To do this, we simply login to Wix, and on the left hand side, search for "Connect your Domain." This will lead you through a series of simple steps in order to connect your domain to your Wix site. Once you complete this, you'll be able to see your site on the domain you purchased.
Now it's your turn to Wix it up
Wix's templates make it easy to set up a professional-grade website in just a few minutes. One potential downside is that this also makes them very popular, so you will have to put some time and creative energy into making your website look different from everyone else's. Thankfully, editing fonts/header styles, uploading your own images, and changing the look and feel of various sections is very intuitive and straightforward.
Wix is a very flexible option that can grow to accommodate your business's changing needs. We suggest trying it out on an experimental basis, and seeing if you like the user interface. Then, if you want to add premium features like online scheduling, ecommerce/retail, or email marketing, you can simply upgrade your Wix plan.