Again, this may sound obvious but its true. Yes, you can have a web presence without one then but unless you have hundreds of thousands of Twitter, Facebook, or youtube followers, if you do not have a web presence really, is this article of use to you? Your web presence could be in the form of a social network profile or business page, a blog or community profile, and so forth but if you want to really take advantage of the power of the internet then you need your own website and one that you have full content control of.
This chapter will be a brief look at getting a website set up and what to look for. There are hundreds of thousands of companies out there offering you web design. In fact, almost everyone who has set up their own website at some point seems to think they are an expert and can make a living out of it. So how can you tell the bad from the good? Is it just cost?
Cost can be an indicator but it is also easy to waste money. The more talented and experienced the designer and developer the more their websites tend to cost and you could be talking thousands of pounds. If you have this kind of budget great get a well recommended and experienced designer and get the site you really want. If you don’t have this kind of budget though do not feel down heartened. You can get a very decent website design set up for you by a freelancer from around £250-£500.
However, if you are not a technophobe and fancy having a go at it yourself you can even get a website on a shoestring. In fact, if you are flat broke you can get a website for free. You will have to do all the work on it and learn how to design and develop it yourself and of course, you will need the two crucial factors; being able to get on the internet; a computer and an internet connection. But there are lots of website hosting companies out there that provide predesigned web templates where you only have to add the content.
If you are looking to design a website or even if you are looking to get one designed for you I recommend you do some research and buy or borrow a book that is specifically designed to explain the process or find a website that does the same and make sure you know what you are after before you set out trying to get it.
You can learn to design sites yourself. If you have the ability you may be able to learn how to program a website from scratch. There is very little need to do this though as you can get off-shelf web design packages for very reasonable prices. As well as off the shelf and Microsoft offer a piece of software called FrontPage there are also other packages such as DreamWeaver both of these though require you to learn some basic programming but there are plenty of online tutorials that can teach you how to use these. But some of them off-the-shelf web design packages need little or no programming knowledge at all.
If you don’t like the sound of any of these then by no means don’t be disheartened. Most web hosting sites also offer content management systems built-in with lots of well-designed website templates to choose from.
There are other aspects of having your own website that you need to know about from hosting to domain names. If you are new to websites this will mean nothing and unfortunately this is where we do need to use some jargon but we will try and keep it as simple as possible.
The first is hosting what is it and what are you hosting? Well hosting is the place or space where your website is held on the internet. This is your webspace. Think of it as the place where your website is held on the internet. When buying shop around and if you can try and get a company close to you to host your site so if you do have problems or issues you can quickly get answers. You should be able to get decent hosting from around £55 a year. Compare packages and get the best value for money. For example, I have websites that have free hosting where I have carried out all the design and programming work and offered SEO services to the web hosting company, some I pay around £6 a month for that provide basic website templates that suit my needs and others that are slightly more complicated like the social networks I run I am paying anywhere between £25-£40 a month.
The next element to consider is the domain name. What is it? Well if your website is hosted in one place how do you get people to find it? You name this home your domain, hence domain name. A domain name is a short name that you give to your website that will make it easier for people to find your website and for you to market.
For example the place where your site is hosted could just be a series of numbers or letters that no one would be able to remember but if you have a domain name such as www.yourname.com people can type this in and quickly find your website. This can also be known as your URL which we will have to go into in a little bit more detail at a later point.
Again, with domain names shop around you can get them for as little as £2.99 but some companies will try and charge you up to £80 for them so it is worth doing your homework.
I think that is all we need to say to start with about getting your own website. If you have any needs or questions there is plenty of free information on the internet. There are even free tutorials if you need any help or advice feel free to contact me and I will give you all the help and advice I can time allowing, please bear in mind though I am an internet marketer and not a web designer. I can design them but my knowledge is limited compared to some of those wiz kids out there. On this point also I am an internet marketing professional and have expert knowledge in this area and not web design in the same vain web designers tend not to be experts in internet marketing, though I dare say there may be a few that are. I only say this because in my dealings with web design companies on behalf of my clients I quite often at first get faced with a bit of hostility from the web design companies because they first off think that I am trying to take their customer, which I am not and secondly they think that I am being critical of their work which again I am not (most of the time there are some shockingly bad designers out there).
A lot of web designers have read one or two articles on internet marketing or offer a very basic service in this area and so their knowledge in this area may be lacking, just as mine is in the area of web design. So when you read this book and you tell your web designer that you want this that and the other you may at first meet some negativity or doubt, don’t worry this is normal and I face it every day almost and this is the very reason why I design my own sites, I am not the best but I know what I want and how to get it.
Unfortunately, in today’s market there are a lot of people who claim themselves to be digital marketing specialists when in fact they are technologists, SEO engineers, web designers, or digital curators. I am not saying this to slate the work of are technologists, SEO engineers, web designers or digital curators but to state there are differences. Important differences. And it is important for those working in these areas to realise and accept these differences. Not to be limited by them but to either specialise or widen their knowledge base.
Remember though this part of your business should be fun. The design and setup is going to be your face to the world, your storefront so get it how you want it and present yourself in the way that you want to be seen to reflect your companies personality.
This is probably the most fun part of the business for me and is why and how I realised I had an interest in marketing. I became more interested and had more success in the marketing of my websites and business interests than I did, at the time, in making money out of them through smart business interest and commercial savvy. Of course over time recognising this as an area not to be limited by to learn I became more commercially and business-minded to the point of being put in charge of accounts and business units worth millions.
Website design and marketing setup basics
In this section, we will discuss the following
o Design Basics / Usability
o Mobile Friendly
o Onsite Optimisation
o Website Analytics
Websites and the website design are ever-changing. Becoming more user-friendly, mobile-friendly and intuitive to our wants and needs as consumers. There are clear leading players in the field such as Amazon, but we can’t all be Amazon, at least not yet, and most of us do not have our budget or resource.
So, what as a small or medium-sized business owner can we do to ensure success in this field? How can we get a user-friendly website that doesn’t cost the earth?
Want more? More articles on digital marketing, SEO, and search engine marketing are below. Maybe some SEO hacking advice coming soon