If you’ve never had a website built before, here’s a quick rundown on what you’ll need.
1. A domain name (website address)
This is your “.com” or “.me” – there’s a lot of options out there today. When choosing a domain name, think about how you’ll be using it most. If you are going to be giving it to people over the phone or in conversation, you want it to be easy to remember and easy to spell. If instead you will mainly be advertising online you might want to consider getting a name with relevant keywords in it. .com Domain names are $15/year but newer extension like .shopping or .apartments can be more expensive.
This is where your website will live. Hosting is like office space for your website. It makes it available to anyone that types in your web address 24/7. Choosing hosting is important. Bad hosting means, slow loading websites, downtime, no backups and poor support. Good hosting means that you don’t have to worry about any of that. A basic hosting account ranges from $5 to $15/month.
What to look for:
- Support – Is support responsive and knowledgeable? Check reviews.
- Platform – Hosting offering “unlimited ______” are often too good to be true. They do have limits. Find out what they are ahead of time.
- Backups – Low cost host do not automatically back up your site. If there’s a problem with their server, your site could be lost!
- Maintenance – For WordPress consider Managed WordPress Hosting to keep your site secure.
3. A Website!
When you’re building a website the three big questions to ask are:
- Who your target audience is?
- What you want them to do on your site?
- What incentive are you giving them?
Once you have these answered you can consider:
- What type of style do you want the site to have?
- Do you have have or want a logo?
- What colors would you like to use on the site?
- What pages do you need on the site? (ex. Home, About, Contact)
- Where will you get images for the site – will you use your own photos or buy stock images?
- Who will write the copy for your site?
The cost to build a website varies greatly depending on what you are coming to the table with and what you need from your web designer. A basic site could cost anywhere from $600 to $2500.
Once the site is live on the internet, you want to make sure people can find it. You can do this various ways.
- Traditional Marketing
- Print Media
- Broadcast Media (TV, Radio)
- Direct Mail
- Internet Marketing
- On Page Search Engine Optimization
- Google My Business and directory listings
- Social Media
- Pay Per Click
I find Word of Mouth to be the most cost effective form of marketing. This involves making clients/customers happy and letting their recommendations work for you. Both the online reviews and the in person recommendations that your clients/customers give friends, family and business associates can be enormously beneficial. They give you not only a lead, but a lead with a certain level of trust in your work.