Published on March 16th, 2012 | by Tom Wake2
How to set up a simple website in 20 seconds
Getting you get up and running with your own website (or improving your existing site) by increasing traffic and adding different revenue streams is something I really want to help you achieve this year.
I’ll be covering a lot of different strategies over the coming weeks and months to help you do this.
Today, to ease you in gently, I want to introduce you to a very simple and free tool that you can use to get online almost instantly. This is perfect if you’re a complete technophobe (there’s absolutely no shame in that), or if you want to quickly get some important information online without the hassle of downloading fussy bits software or learning boring code.
It’s called CheckThis and you can use it to create attractive one page websites for a variety of different uses in just seconds.
Let me guide you through the basics.
You’re given 4 options or templates: Tell, Sell, Ask and Invite.
Each of these could be used for several different purposes from conducting a quick poll to organising a flash sale. Let’s run through each of the sections.
Tell – If you run a small business you could use this to let people know about a deal you’re running or services you’re currently offering. For example if you had a catering business you could create a weekly menu in an easy to read one page format. Or you could use this to create an online flyer letting people know a little bit about your business with a picture and a ‘where to find us’ map.
And it doesn’t have to be about business. To give you an example I’ve used it to invite you to a fictional wedding.
Sell – This lets you create simple order pages (again it takes just seconds). You can attach a picture of the item you’re selling, give a short description and then enter your email address. It could be a piece of artwork, an old pair of trainers, an eBook, anything. It links up with PayPal so you don’t even need a merchant account. If you don’t want to link with PayPal you can enter instructions letting people know how to pay you.
Ask – This is genius. There are a million different survey sites out there that let you create polls, but I love the personal look and feel you can give to this. Moreover, it’s free! Simply add your question (and the possible answers) and then customise the background and add text and images to make it your own. You can add more questions by clicking the green + button, clicking “apps” and then choosing poll.
Check out my example poll (feel free to answer it!)
Invite – Again this is pretty self explanatory. You can use this to invite people to a specific event – a business launch, a birthday party or an anniversary for example. It even includes a poll so that people can click to confirm whether or not they are coming to give you an idea of numbers. Once again there are a variety of add on options – including a map feature.
I rustled up a couple of examples (the fictional wedding and the example poll to show you just how easy it is. The poll honestly took me 20 seconds to create and publish – there was no faffing whatsoever. The wedding invite took a couple minutes simply because I wanted to get the dress code just right.
Additional features which make this an incredibly useful little tool PLUS a couple of things to bear in mind…
1. It’s social and makes spreading the word easy: Perhaps the best ‘inbuilt’ feature is that for every page you create, ‘comments’, ‘like this’ and ‘share’ buttons are automatically added for you. You don’t have to do any coding here at all, nada.
2. You can do a few basic customisations to make it your own: When editing you’ll see a little grey paintbrush and cog icon on the top right of the screen. The paintbrush allows you to change the background for your page and even add your own (it lets you choose a picture file from your computer and then uploads it for you). The cog or ‘settings’ button allows you to give the page an expiration date – or you can choose to keep it up forever. With a splash of creativity you can make some seriously impressive looking pages. I came across this flash sale page recently:
Not bad for a FREE webpage generator that costs zilch to run.
With that said there are a couple of things worth bearing in mind…
3. Make sure you log in so that you don’t lose your work: You can ‘guest publish’ but it’s worth registering with CheckThis so that you can save and edit your page or pages later. This is a free and straightforward process – all you have to do is link with your Twitter, Facebook or Google account.
4. These kinds of pages are a great short term solution: The only downside I can see is that you can’t use a custom domain (i.e. your own website address). That means you’re not really driving people to your brand address. On the plus side you’re not paying a penny for hosting, registration, maintenance so it’s a small gripe.
As long as you’re aware of it’s limitations this is an extremely nifty and well thought out tool. This definitely gets a big ‘thumbs up’.
You can see 6 more great examples of one page sites created using the CheckThis platform here.