Most business owners haven’t got a clue what is involved with setting up an online business – so their first step is to contact someone to build a website for them.
The trouble is that “website” is a VERY generic term which has no exact meaning.
The result could be something that is affordable and well suited to your business – or an expensive disaster that does not meet the needs of you or your clients.
The most important thing to remember is that your website is NOT a monument to you, or your web designers skills. A primary consideration should be to think about what a visitor is looking for when they arrive at your website, and then making it easy for them to find it.
A Website is not a specific “thing”
Just like Like a jigsaw puzzle is made up of many pieces.
And a chain is made up of many loops of metal.
Each of these parts is a totally separate item, chosen by your developer from lots of possible options. The choices made in selecting these options will determine how effectively your website promotes your business – and how reliably it functions. If appropriate choices are made for you – that’s great.
In some cases, web developers may make bad choices. Perhaps because they don’t know any better. Or perhaps because they earn a commission for recommending a certain product.
Poor choices can damage your business. To maintain control, you need to know about the choices that are being made for you. The main “parts” that make up your internet business are:
- Your Domain Registrar – who issues your domain name. You MUST obtain the login details to your domain name control panel, or you will not have control of your internet business.
- Your Domain Name: If you are in business, you need your own domain name. It is your unique address on the internet. Each country issues their own domain names, with the USA’s .com domains being the most popular. Prices for domain names vary greatly, so it pays to shop around.
After you purchase your domain name, it needs to be connected to your –
- Your Web Host. Your web host sells you space on a computer that is permanently connected to the internet. There are tens of thousands of web hosts, and they vary greatly in price, reliability, and level of support that they provide. The files that make up your website are put onto the disk space provided by the web host, where they become visible on the internet.
- Your Email system: Your web host generally provides the email services for your domain name. However, many businesses are now using companies such as Google or Microsoft to handle their email traffic.
- Website Files: These make up your website. You can make your website yourself from HTML files, have it created by a web developer, or use a database application like WordPress. There are many different options.
- It’s important that your site is created appropriately for the type and size of your business, and for the way you want it to operate.
Chances are you DON’T need a site that costs many thousands of dollars.
For example, this website runs on the popular WordPress platform, with an inexpensive template. It took about 4 hours to set up, and can be easily expanded to handle anything I will want to do in the future.
Some General Advice:
- If you’re a small business owner just starting off on the internet, a basic WordPress based site costing a few hundred dollars is probably all you need at first. This can be easily expanded and enhanced as your needs grow.
If you do not have someone to do this for you. I can recommend web developers who can set up a website for you for around $500. This basic site can then be inexpensively expanded and enhanced as required.
- Think about what you want a website to do for you. Selling items from your website is pretty straightforward these days, and if you only have a few items to sell, the costs of setting up a sales page is minimal. However, if you have a large number of items to sell, you could be looking at thousands of dollars plus the time of setting up all the items in your online store.
- It’s pretty cost effective for you to get someone to set up your website for you initially, and then you make changes and updates yourself so that you’re not waiting on someone else to do this for you. If you can use a word processor, you can probably update your website yourself.