Before putting a public face to any company, a clean and complete website is an absolute must-have. Here are two preliminary pointers before we talk about the options of creating your webpage.

1.) Have a single-pointed focus. If your business encompasses many different projects or branches, break those up into separate pages, each with a very clear message. Remember that having a webpage is about creating clarity for your target market.

2.) Make your site product-centered instead of company-centered. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when creating a website is that they try to focus too much on the company personality, goals, mission, identity, etc. Customers care less about your company and more about the product or service you offer.

Getting Informed

Essentially, you must decide whether to create the website yourself or hire a professional. Before you make this decision, try to understand what you need to create the vision you have.

Everyone who is starting a business website should research the basics of web hosting, DNS operation, how to get necessary bandwidth, etc. Understanding these concepts will help you get the appropriate value for your budget. In short, there are three web hosting options available: shared servers, virtual private servers (VPS), and dedicated servers.

Most companies can get what they need from a shared server. This is the option when you simply want the world to know about the service you offer. The times you may need a VPS or dedicated server is if you are a media-sharing company, you have millions of views a month, you have an intricate ecommerce shop, etc.

The last necessity is to figure out an available domain name for your website and make sure that you register it yearly.

To Hire or DYI?

Creating your own website or the DIY version may be the best option for you. If you don’t have a huge budget but you’re already in the first stages of building a company, start here. This will help you understand all the work that goes into creating a site. It will be very challenging to achieve a professional look if you don’t have experience creating websites. Fortunately, these web-builders make it easier by lightyears.

  • SquareSpace is huge in the creative community – they offer flexibility and a ton of features.
  • Weebly is best if you are focused on the easiest, most user-friendly option.
  • WordPress is great if you want to make a highly customizable blog.
  • Strickingly is for the people who want to “conquer the world with just one page.” Strikingly is good for people who are focusing on a mobile format because the single page keeps scrolling.
  • Voog is great for bilingual site-building

The basics of these builders are simple, but can be challenging when customizing and adding useful plug-ins. Often times, you can accomplish your goal with a single landing page. For promoting a one-time event or a single campaign, consider using a landing page service like Unbounce or LeadPages.

1and1, BlueHost, and HostGator are all decent options to start researching a web host that suits you best. SquareSpace is an amazing shared server for anyone who doesn’t have the budget to hire a web developer.

website hosting

If you are going to hire someone, here’s what you’ll need in your budget:

When you are compiling a budget for your website, consider that your web developer and your web designer may be different people. They come from different skills sets and serve different purposes. Consider your web developer as an IT guy to make the site technologically smooth. The web designer will often come from a more creative background and contributes most to the aesthetic of your page. A web designer may also have graphic design skills to creation motion graphics and liven the branding aspect of your site.

After you budget for the website to be designed, you must also include monthly/yearly fees and possibly hiring an SEO professional. If you can hire a reliable team to handle both the tech and creative side, that will be the best option. Hiring separate entities will require more participation from you, since you will be responsible for keeping the all of the bases covered and allocating responsibilities. Three tips to help you succeed:

1.) Be active in the creation process and offer quick feedback and revisions. You will need to be very close with your developing team in order to get what you want, because although they can find their way through the tech realms, they can’t read your mind. One of the most important ways that you can guarantee your own satisfaction with the site is to be a part of the process yourself.

2.) The websites that get constant attention are the ones that succeed. Don’t hold the idea that once you make the site, you can wipe your hands and be done. It’s not a “one and done” type of deal, but a long-term process.

3.) When you find an awesome team and hire someone, be sure to negotiate! Negotiate not just for price, but for long-term value. If the creative company bids a higher price than you expect, consider agreeing with them. Then negotiate to include more of your needs for the same price after they are engaged with your company. Bottom line is, once you have 2 or 3k on the table, you have a point to start negotiating for up-keep services, plug-in customization, and SEO options.

What to expect when hiring someone:

For an average client with basic business needs, a good team can have a webpage running in 2 weeks, given that the client is actively participating and revising. Have an appointment with whomever you hire and clarify with them how many meetings and revision sessions they can offer.

Here’s my advice – if you can raise a budget of $2,000 or more, hire someone. Of course you can go with the cheep-o $300 version, but you will certainly get what you pay for and your web presence will always seem half finished.

If you have the budget to hire a large, reputable marketing group – do it. If you are starting from a small-business perspective, then keep your over-head lower by hiring a smaller group. There are now a ton of smaller/younger companies that come from a freelance web-development background with whom you can negotiate services that cater to your personal needs.

Initially figuring out different web hosting options can be technically challenging. That is why outsourcing this work is your best bet if you have the budget. If you need ecommerce shopping space, a blog, or extra plug-ins, your budget needs to consider the time creating these. Spending $100-$200 a month for features that help is a smart idea – compare it to hiring a human to do the equal amount of work.

Read other articles on Small Business Start-Up

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