Welcome to Website 101 – Starting A Website
So you want a website but don’t know where to start? Don’t feel bad, most people don’t. If you’ve already established a business, more than likely you’re receiving calls from marketing companies wanting to sell you some sort of website service. The offer probably sounds exciting, overwhelming and often expensive. This article will outline 2 main routes you can take if you’re thinking about starting a website.
POINT #1: You must purchase a domain name (example: www.ultimatewebdesigncompany.com) Choose a name that is relevant to your business. This will help you in the long run with search engine optimization (the way Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. find you). This will cost you typically anywhere from $10 – $15 per year (sometimes more depending on what you choose).
POINT #2: Building a website is much like building a house. Your website must “live” somewhere. This is called web hosting. Without web hosting, there is no place to store your files or information. So it’s important to find the right rental space for your new site. From there, you can use frameworks or web applications to build the house so to speak. You can purchase web hosting through Ultimate Web Design Company at very competitive rates. (Ask us about price matching!)
Now that we’ve gotten those two things out of the way, let’s look at the 2 main routes you can take from here:
So if building a website is like building a house then it’s important that the foundation you build on is strong, stable and secure. Doing it yourself can be a pretty cheap option if your trying to save money but there are certainly many things to take into consideration. The first one I ever did took 3-5 months and looking back I realized it looked…well….let’s just say, not so good. Here are some different options you can take if you try to do it yourself:
- Start with one of our hosting packages and use the cpanel to either access the built in site builder with over 2500 templates or install a CMS with just one click such as WordPress or Joomla and build it yourself.
- Purchase a software program such as Dreamweaver or Fireworks and build your website from scratch. This route is pretty time consuming so plan to take some online courses and block off a good chunk of time.
- There are also other CMS programs available on the internet that include your website builder, platform and hosting lumped in all together for usually less than $25 per month. You still have to do the work yourself and learn the program. Should you choose this route, you could always hire us to get the design just the way you want it if you don’t have time to learn the program.
I recently had a client who was paying over $700 a year for web hosting. I was so shocked to hear this. Then they found out that they didn’t even own their website because all of the content on the site was built using the hosting company’s software and their website was NON-TRANSFERABLE. What this meant for the client was that in order to move to a new cheaper host, they would have to completely re-do their website. Most programs with website builders are non-transferable so double check before you start the process. You don’t want to pay “rent” and throw money out the door if you don’t have to.
The do-it-yourself route can take up a lot of your time if you’re a new to this area, but if you love technology and have the time to spend and want to take the challenge then get started.
Hire a Professional
While this route is more expensive up front, it can save you a ton of headache and hassle down the road and in many cases, even a good chunk of change from having to pay someone to fix or re-do a site. I’ve been doing websites since 2009 and I’ve learned so much. While I promise you we don’t know it all nor will ever claim to, we are constantly learning and love what we do. One of the many benefits of choosing Ultimate Web Design Company to build your website, is that our clients own their websites and are completely transferable if they decide to host with another company.
We create beautiful, custom designed websites. Just like building a house, once you hire us to build your website, we’ll take the following steps to make it awesome:
- Blueprints. Basically, we’ll decide how your site should look and what functionality it needs to have.
- Foundation – We’ll lay the foundation using one of the best solid frameworks out there in our opinion. You won’t have to worry about your site becoming outdated.
- Filling the Rooms – We’ll take the content you send us and make it flow into the pages of your site. This is where it all comes together. Well written content is extremely important, especially if you want to be noticed by the search engines. If you don’t know what to write or if you don’t have any images, that’s ok. We can discuss these things in the consultation and can always provide options to help with this process. We also have a huge selection of professional stock images you can choose from and use if necessary.
If you have a low budget to start with, you may want to consider just starting out with setting up a social media page. This is a very affordable option for new businesses that are just starting out and not wanting to invest a lot of money up front. Contact us for social media set up pricing.
What About SEO?
I definitely want to hit this point as I wrap it all up. Search engine optimization is often referred to as SEO. Just because you’ve got a brand new website doesn’t mean it’s immediately going to be on the front page of Google, Bing or Yahoo. There is “on page” and “off page SEO”.
On Page SEO
A good web designer can help with the on page SEO as they build your site. This is done by optimizing titles and descriptions, using proper url structures, internal links, text formatting, making the pages load fast, sitemaps, etc. This is not something that’s included in your monthly hosting fee. You would pay for this upfront when your site is built if that was part of the proposal.
Off Page SEO and Pay Per Click
This refers to what happens outside of the boundaries of your website. Off page SEO typically includes link building and social media. If you have a lot of competition or need help pushing your website, you can consider hiring someone to help you. There are companies you can hire to do this for you. There are also companies out there who take advantage of people and charge astronomical amounts of money and produce little to no results. So be very careful before investing and locking in to contracts.
What About Maintenance?
We have clients who are independent and want to make their own updates and be in control of their website. Then there are others who never want to have to touch it. Either way is completely understandable. We offer a content maintenance plan and WordPress Maintained Hosting Packages for clients who host with us.
All businesses need a website. Period. Most people carry the internet around in either their pocket or their purse these days. Why not reach them through the palm of their hand? Our websites are built to be responsive to any screen size. We can work with most budgets and offer advice for free. Starting a website doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Contact us today for a free quote. You have nothing to lose. What are you waiting for?