GoDaddy’s Mendel Kurland Teaches Website Creation

Last Thursday, Mendel Kurland, Local Outreach Lead at GoDaddy, and his team visited the Tippie Strategic Innovation Academy to host a website development session.  GoDaddy is the world’s largest domain name registrar and web hosting provider.  Kurland’s role is to help small businesses and individuals create straightforward, beautiful, do-it-yourself websites to develop their digital identities and their customer relationships.  Students had the opportunity to build a personal or small business website with the help of GoDaddy experts.

SI Academy students listen to Mendel Kurland discuss website design.

Websites are very powerful for businesses of all sizes, but in particular for small businesses and sole proprietors.  They help to:

  • Ensure you / your company can be found online
  • Reinforce your brand
  • Establish credibility with consumers / potential employers
  • Market you / your company
  • Expand you / your company’s reach to a wider audience

Kurland reminded us that choosing a domain name carefully is important, just like selecting the name of a company.  He mentioned some small businesses have even changed their company name based on what web addresses are available!

Before getting started building a website, there are a few things to think about:

  1. Define the goal of the website.  Do you want people to buy a product?  Call for more information? Learn about your background? Or something else?
  2. Organize content in a meaningful way.  This ensures site visitors can locate what they’re looking for.
  3. Deliver suitable content and use appropriate keywords so that customers (and search engines) can find your site.
  4. Determine if you plan to sell items on the site and if necessary, offer a way for customers to pay.

Kurland walked the class through the easy-to-use GoDaddy Website Builder.  The built-in themes and drag-and-drop functionality made the process very user-friendly.  The main components of most websites include a homepage, an “About Us” section, details on services provided by the company, reviews from past customers, and a way to contact the company or individual.  These pages can be modified or removed as necessary, and other pages specific to your business can be added.  GoDaddy also provides widgets to add to your website to connect with social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

A GoDaddy expert helps students with their websites.

First-year MBA student Julian Valencia purchased a personal domain name and started building his website in order to better explain his background to potential employers:

“I have a varied, non-traditional work path, and a website allows me to communicate my story better than a traditional resume.  I started a pedicab company in college and I did everything from the ground up: business planning, marketing, and website design.  I also started another company in South America and a non-profit organization.  A personal website can really bring the details of these stories to life.”

The last step in building a website is to promote it to anyone and everyone.  Spreading the word about your company and products through friends and family, social media, and other networking opportunities is a key part of being a successful entrepreneur.

This website design session coincided with Creative Week sponsored by the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance.  According to their website, “Creative Week is a seven-day festival of ideas, innovation and imagination in Iowa’s Creative Corridor. With 60+ events stretching across seven counties, it’s our region’s one and only opportunity to explore and celebrate together all the creative work, innovative ideas and incredible art that defines this place (and us).”

Most students in the Strategic Innovation Academy had some technical background and some even had IT experience, but very few had built their own website.  Kurland demonstrated how easy it is to develop your own personal or small business website with GoDaddy’s tools from start to finish.  Many thanks to Mendel Kurland and his team for spending the afternoon with us!  Visit to build your own website.

About Kyle Sanford

Kyle Sanford joined Tippie in 2014 as Associate Director of MBA Recruiting. Originally from Runnells, IA, Kyle is a proud alum of the University of Iowa and believes Iowa City just may be one of the greatest places on Earth.