One of the questions almost asked daily on this blog is How to Start Your Website? There are so many options and many business don’t have the time or motivation to research and find out how its all done. There is the problem in the last sentence. A Website can make or break a business and there have never been more people buying things online than there is now.
There are millions if not billions of relevant websites around the world and it has been said that Google only lists about 5% of the content available to be listed. This is massive and if your website is in the 95% that aren’t even listed how are customers going to find you and your business. A website is a huge commitment and I must say that without the appropriate focus on the process there is little use even having a website. I don’t mean to be critical but it is so frustrating when clients can’t even get good quality images and information to the designer.
I often suggest that we take some images, of cause at professional photography rates, and the comments are often we cant afford that and anyway its not that important. It is important and I subscribe to the philosophy that a good image tells 300 word and an excellent image tells 1000 words. So my advice to you is to take your business website seriously and you will be amazed at the potential results. Over time a good designer/programmer/search engine marketer can increase a good business’s potential 100% and sometimes much more, but it takes time and commitment. Google is pretty smart and always remember ‘quality content is king’. I’ve mentioned this in other posts and won’t dwell on it now so of to the basics.
Aged Domain For Your Website
The first thing to do is have a plan and determine how to start your website. Knowledge at this stage will give you a lot of power when selecting an appropriate website designer. You will need an aged domain – what’s this you say? Its a domain that has been listed on google for more than a couple of years. New domains can sometimes get reasonable listings but its far less likely than an aged domain. The older the better but which ever domain you purchase it must have a history of products relating to your business. It is dangerous to have a domain that was used to sell motorcycles and now to sell flowers. There are a number of options for purchasing aged domains but its not in the scope of this post. Remember that the domain is the first thing the internet surfer see’s so be careful when selecting.
Hosting there Hosting here!
There are so many companies that provide hosting and some are bad and some are good. This is one product that doesn’t relate to the philosophy of you get what you pay for – sometimes the cheap ones are the best in this space. The best way to find out about good and bad is to research reviews on the internet. I use GoDaddy and have found them to be pretty good but they have had their problems too. If you want your website designer, who really knows How to Start Your Website, to take charge of the creation then they will probably provide a good choice in hosting.
There are lots of features provided by most companies like databases, storage space, bandwidth and much more so do the research and you will be happy with the result. Remember that your provider should have their servers in the country you are operating your website. Eg. If your in Australia don’t have a hosting company with its servers in the USA. There is a difference in speed and it can be quite substantial depending on the data travelling in and out..
Web Designers can help you start your website
Web designers vary in abilities and again the key is research. A guide I have found useful is to use companies that have an office in a shopping center with a few staff. Not to many staff because they can become a little impersonal and if my business needs a website I want to be their priority. Home businesses are also ok but be sure you have a look at their work to ensure its high quality. I’v e found those that work from home make you feel that your project is very important but “beware” that the specific skills aren’t lacking in relation to the web designer. There are numerous work form home plans in magazine and on the internet and those that take them up, probably have the best of intentions, but have not completed some of the more important courses relating to web design.
THere is a whole lot more to a website than just putting it together and in this space you probably get what you pay for. It takes me a week working on one website to get everything happening from design, domains, hosting, email accounts, pinging urls, general SEO and setting up a blog on and off site – just to name a few.
The elephant in the room ‘Price’!
How often do do you say when searching for web based products and services “what a rip off”. You may be wondering how to start your website and know how costs can get pretty high and what you get for your money can vary substantially. If you’re really serious about starting a website or you have one that doesn’t seem to be doing anything but sit there, then start doing some research. You are reading this blog and on the right track (in my opinion lol). Spending less than $1500 on a designer is probably not going to achieve the goals you have set and I should say here that “a website project without goals/objectives is doomed to fail”. Don’t worry it’s not all bad, failing forward fast tends to show you the right path and provides an excellent learning experience.
As a guide, if I was putting together an information website for a client with lots of unique images and some great content then my overheads would be around $1000 and it would take about a week for around $3000. Wow you say – $4000 for an information website? Like i mentioned there is so many things to think about and working 40 hours (working week) to build the website is going to give an excellent start but you ‘the client’ needs to be totally committed to improving the function of the website over time.
Content is King and updates to content on a daily, weekly basis can be the difference between success and failure. Some clients have put me on the payroll for 6 months at one day per week ($600) to ensure things proceed in a positive manner, and here’s me bragging again,we have had some pretty impressive results. My skills are by no means top of the range, but they do include some formal study in design, programming and ecommerce. Ask your designer what experience/qualifications he/she has and make sure what they tell you is believable.
Advice on how to start an ecommerce website doesn’t change much from the above information but there are a few complexities that need to be managed well i.e payment gateways etc. Setup can be a nightmare for the ill prepared so again some research is in order. Once an ecommerce is up and running the marketing doesn’t change a whole lot from the information website.
One ‘bad’ thing i’ve found clients tend to do is copy and paste info from manufacturer’s websites, this is a big ‘no no’. I know that it can take heaps of time to right new info about each product but in the long run it will be worth it. Video with unique content is also a great marketing tool. It doesn’t take much to set up a little studio and produce some consistently good videos. You can allow others to embed these videos via Youtube or the like and this will increase a thing call link juice to your website.
There will be more to come shortly