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November 13, 2018

Hello World! We’re Shire Digital Solutions. You Might Not Need Us.

Shire Digital Solutions Logo

Hello World! As the title says, we’re Shire Digital Solutions and you might not need us. I’ll explain what I mean, but first, a little background.

I’m Nicholas Fuller. I’ve been programming for over 10 years having gotten my start learning to make video games. Since 2012 I shifted my focus to website and business development. In mid 2016 I founded my second tech business, Shire Digital Solutions, and ever since we’ve been really busy! It takes some work to get a new business off the ground and we’ve been growing rapidly. We’ve been so focused on our clients, we’ve had no time to do work for ourselves! But that’s changing now.

From now on, we will regularly be publishing blog posts (and soon a podcast!) focused on helping entrepreneurs & small to medium business owners that don’t know where to start with digital marketing.

A lot of our work is in creating websites for small businesses, especially mental health therapists with private practices. (We also create custom web applications, but I’ll talk about that more in a future blog.) As we blog, we’ll use therapists as the example much of the time, but the ideas we present are relevant for any business. If you’re ever unsure of how to apply our advice to your business, just ask! Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you with advice for you!

But before all that, I want to stress the point I made in the title – you might not need me. That’s right. You might not need the services of Shire Digital Solutions at all.

The truth is for most small businesses, a lot of your digital marketing needs, including the website, can probably be handled by yourself with a little bit of online research and time.

Want to learn “how to make Facebook ads”? Try Googling that. You’ll see results from Facebook themselves, from other reputable names like Hubspot, Hootsuite, and Entrepreneur.com, and you’ll also see an array of Youtube videos on the topic. Youtube alone has tons of tutorials for just about everything you might want to do.

If you’re thinking about putting together a website for your small business, there’s tons of ways to build it on your own. A few of the most popular options I see are WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace.

WordPress is great if you’re an experienced web developer – it powers a large percentage of all the sites on the internet. We often use wordpress for sites we make at Shire Digital Solutions; it provides a lot of options and control if you know what you’re doing. That said, I really wouldn’t recommend wordpress for someone that hasn’t done web development before. There’s a lot of aspects that go into creating, launching, and maintaining a wordpress website.

Wix & SquareSpace are other popular options. Both Wix and SquareSpace are website builder applications that require no programming knowledge or previous web development experience. Both services can handle all the of the technical nitty gritty like hosting, maintenance, and domain registration for you.

Of the two, I like SquareSpace. (So much so that we sometimes use it to build sites for clients.) It’s extremely easy to use and the final product is always of high quality – the sites function well on both mobile and desktop, they look beautiful, and they’re well optimized for Search Engines.

For a bit more information, we put together this chart that compares these 3 options.

Wix SquareSpace WordPress
Overall Review Wix is fine, but I think they have you start with more of a blank slate. So the results aren’t always as good as they could be. SquareSpace has you start with their templates, which look great from the very beginning and quick learning curve. WordPress is more customizable, but CSS/HTML code dominant with longer learning curve.
Best For Small to Mid-size business. No need for dedicated tech person for maintenance. Small to Mid-size business. No need for dedicated tech person for maintenance. Any size business with dedicated tech person for maintenance.
Coding Skills None to Intermediate None to Intermediate Intermediate to Advanced
Themes Industry Specific and Blank Templates Sleek Modern Templates Design Flexibility Templates
Mobile Friendly Yes Yes Yes
Hosting You are locked in with their internal Hosting. You are locked in with their internal Hosting. You have more control, but need an outside Hosting Account.
Blogging Yes, but pay for upgrade blogging options. Yup! Blogging is built right in. Yes, blogging built into system at no extra cost. Need Hosting Service to handle blogging.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) No advanced features, need outside platform of Google plug-ins and apps. Provides best practices without plug-ins. Automatic features and plug-ins available.
Domain Name Free the first year subscription Free with annual website subscription Purchase separately
Analytics Yes – Free (automatic with Premium Plan) Yes – Free (automatic) Google Analytics – Free (must be configured)
AND THE WINNER IS… WINNER!!!
A great choice for anyone building their own site.

 

Seriously, creating your own website, especially with SquareSpace, is easier than you might think.

 If you’re thinking of doing this, I encourage you to give it a try! There’s a 14 day free trial which is plenty of time to play around with it and see what you think. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about where to start, just google “building a website on SquareSpace.” You’ll find results directly from SquareSpace, educational resources from places like udemy, and tons of Youtube videos. And no, this is not some kind of paid promotion, I just like their service and think it can be helpful for many people.

So. I’ve spent this whole blog post saying you might not need us, but when should you work with us? Well, if you give it a try and you think it sucks, we can help. If your business is already busy enough that you don’t have the time to either create or update your website, we can help. Or if you feel more comfortable leaving this work in the hands of professionals you can trust, we can help. Just send us a message from our contact form (link to form on homepage) and we’ll talk about how we can best work together.

Are you ready to get started on your site? Still not sure where to get started? Have some other specific questions? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you and we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. Just leave a comment below. 🙂

 

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