Websites are a critical part of business today and it is quite probable that one of the first questions you are asked is “What is your website?” If the answer is “I don’t have one,” you may have lost a business opportunity. All Points Advising can help you learn what you need to know about websites and help you get it done.
First, you need a domain name. A domain name is the website address for your business, for example, www.allpointsadvising.com. There are multiple vendors who sell domain names for $12-15. You can (and should!) purchase the domain name you want for your business immediately. Trolls and bots will watch for new business registrations and buy the name, then offer to sell it to you for exorbitant cost. (Example, $950 for something that should be $12.) The DNS (Domain Name Server) is where you purchase your domain. Once purchased, you own the domain name for as long as you keep it renewed. Note, you can purchase your name from one location and host it somewhere else. Also, you do not have to host the domain immediately upon purchase. We can help you choose a vendor that will fit with your goals.
Company Email Address
Once you own a domain name you may establish an email using that domain name. For example, instead of [email protected], your email can be [email protected], which gives a much more professional first impression. One low cost and straight forward example for this is G-Suite (Google business).
Just because you own the domain does not mean you have a website. A website must be built and hosted on the web. Hosting costs can vary depending on the vendor, anywhere from $3.95/month on up. It is important to consider what the hosting site is offering you before you choose, and what is part of the cost or extra. Do they automatically do security patches and updates or are you responsible for them? Do they regularly back up your site? It is worth using a host on a higher monthly cost if things such as security updates and backups are included. Updates and backups are critical protection against ransomware, malware and crashes.
Building a Website
So how do you build a website? There are several website building platforms, but the two most popular are WordPress and SquareSpace. Both are good platforms, it just depends on what you want out of your website. (Note: there are website hosts that support each of these different platforms, so that is also something to consider when choosing your website host. Again, All Points Advising can help you figure this out.)
A WordPress site requires knowledge of coding to build. While it has templates, it also allows for customization therefore allowing for more flexibility in the look of your website. It will also likely be more expensive to have built should you choose to hire a developer. You can code your own WordPress website; there are plenty of wikis and how-to sites to offer tips and guidance, but no customer service number to call and ask for help.
SquareSpace is an example of a template platform – drag and drop. Squarespace itself does have great customer service support and is a one-stop-shop for those who want to do it themselves. The cost to hire your website built in SquareSpace or others like it (Wix, Weebly) will be less than a developer using WordPress.
The copy on your website does not need to be extensive, just informative. Think about what you need – is your website simply an informative one? Will you have an online store or class event sign up? Or will you need pages to show old and new projects? Copy should also be written with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in mind. SEO will help drive traffic to your site by using keywords search engines (Google, Bing, etc) will recognize. Don’t stress about the copy. All Points Advising can help you figure out the best information to include, the best language to use for SEO, and can either edit what you put together or do it for you.
This is where you really need to be realistic. A website should not be static. Depending on your profession and goals for the site, the content may not need to be updated regularly, but it will need to be maintained for security and any potential glitches. Are you going to be that person? Will it be someone within your organization? Or will you need to outsource?
To get an idea of immediate and ongoing costs for a website, consider the following; purchase of domain name, cost – time and money – of building the site (self or outsourced), monthly hosting fee (should include security and backup, otherwise those will be additional costs), site updating and maintenance (internal or outsourced.)
Websites are a critical tool – it is a virtual first impression of you and your business. Creating one may seem like a big project, but it can be a key part of your strategy for growth and marketing. For additional questions on what you should know and how to get a website please call or email All Points Advising.