I was asked to give a presentation on websites to small business owners at a program in Washington, D.C.    As I spoke to some of the small business owners during breaks and lunch, I would ask if they had a website, and they often looked at me horrified.  Technology today has made such progress that it really is easy to create a website.  One reason why I was so happy to do this presentation was to remove the apprehension of building a website.

I want to share with you what I presented to the audience.  AT&T Website Solutions is the product that I manage.  With one of our website plans it takes only 3 steps to create a website.  Some providers take many more steps because their task breakdown for creating the site is overly complex. Small businesses don’t have extra time to spend setting up a website – they have to focus their energy on delivering value to their customers and growing the business. That’s why a simple 3-step website setup approach makes sense.

If you’re ready, here are the three steps:

1) Pick your template. There are thousands of fabulous templates with lots of categories and industries. There are also plenty of generic templates, so you can customize one to suit you. When you pick one, add your Business Name and an optional Tagline.

2) Select the pages you want to include in your website.  You can choose typical pages including Home Page, Product Page, Contact Us or About Us pages.  You have the option to name your own page if you need something special.  My recommendation here is to start with two or three pages and add more pages after you publish your website.  You can always add more pages later.  If you choose too many pages to start with then you set yourself up to get that overwhelming feeling.

3) Create your website.  Add content, images, forms, widgets whatever you like. If you have marketing brochures or other information about your business, you can copy and paste it those into your website.  This is the most time-consuming portion of building your website, which is why I suggest in step 2 to start with only a few pages.  Focusing on a few pages will show you how easy it is, which makes for a low-stress experience.  Instead you will feel so sure of yourself that you will be able to tackle creating additional future pages with ease!

I understand, too that once you launch your website there are many tools available within your plan to support your website.  There are marketing tools to help you increase your search engine visibility.  There are Web analytics tools to see how your website is performing.  Some website plans include a mobile Web page component to optimize your smartphone visitor’s experience.  Our website plans include marketing, analytics and mobile optimized page tools plus other features.  Again, if you take some time every few nights to familiarize yourself with these tools, then you won’t feel overwhelmed with having to learn everything at once.

I’d love to know what challenges you see for creating your own website — or was it easy?  Are there any website tools that you love or don’t understand how to use?