I get all involved in the latest news about search algorithm changes or the latest toolset for SEO and I forget that some of my clients are just starting out and don’t even know what questions to ask about a website for their business. So here is a list of what needs to be done to get your “great idea” online.
First thing is the domain name. You have to buy it from a domain name registrar, like GoDaddy, Register.com, A2 or several dozen others. Some of the sellers also offer hosting but you don’t have to buy the name from your host. In fact I recommend you don’t. You will change hosts sometime in the future…either their service will “go to pot” or they will jack the price on you…you will want to change. If you have you domain name registered separately it is easy to change. I recommend and use Register.com .
On any registrar you will find a bar where you type in the name you would like to have and it will tell you if it is available. There are a growing number of TLDs (Top Level Domains) i.e. com, net, us, org, etc. My opinion is that you always get the .com if possible. It is nice if the domain name and your company name are the same but not mandatory. Always remember…shorter is better. If the right name is available…set up an account and buy it. Most cost less than $20 per year. Be careful, one thing they are all good at is trying to upsell you. Just buy the name….keep saying no to everything else. Same with hosting.
This is the company who furnishes the disc space that holds the files making up your website. This is a service paid for by the month or the year. If you are just starting a website with no traffic, then it is just a choice of service and reliability. I manage many clients on GoDaddy, some on A2 and some on SiteGround. My current choice is Siteground.com . Their basic “shared hosting” service starts at $4.99 month. That means there are a lot of other websites hosted on the same server as yours. If a host overloads a server then the speed on the hosted sites degrades. Some budget host really load them up. Also only buy a hosting plan that includes a free SSL Certificate. Some like GoDaddy will sell you $4.99 hosting and then you have to buy SSL for $100. Have someone like me walk you thru which service.
This is the actual set of files that make up what you want displayed on the internet. You can do it yourself, hire someone like me or go to a full agency. Depending on your needs and budget. If you have the skills and the time…have at it. Hard to mess up something when it doesn’t exist yet. A full agency will work with you to brand the site and normally employ some really talented people who they pay and therefore there is a certain amount of overhead (offices, equipment, advertising) that they charge to each job making for a more expensive product…in some instances this is the route to take.
In some circumstances a free-lance guy like myself can make sense. While I can only work on a limited number of clients at a time, each client gets my full attention. I will help you define and articulate your business plan, product or service offering and translate it into a website. You will tell me what you like and who your competitors are. I will research that information and develop an online offering. At that time I will quote a budget. When we agree on the budget I will bill for 50% and start the work. I will put up a “coming soon” page including contact information. The site will be built on my server with you being able to see the progress after an initial startup period.
Most small to medium websites will take 4 to 6 weeks to launch. Some of that time is waiting on you to provide the information, photos or other requests I make of you. But there will be a day when we are “ready to go”. At that time I bill for the other 50% and once paid I move it to your server and you are live. I will do normal plugin updates and security checks and maintain a backup for 6 months. This is a guarantee of my work. From the launch date on you will receive my discounted rate for all work performed. Billed by the hour for time actually spent. You become a “preferred customer”. I watch my email nights and weekends and respond as quickly as I can.
SEO – Social Media – Other Marketing
I tell my clients that when you get to this point…after launching a well designed website….it is like printing an expensive brochure. If you do nothing else…it is like taking a copy and laying it in the middle of the freeway…hoping someone will pick it up and read it. You have to market your business and your website. You can do guerilla marketing yourself. I think you should. Google it. You will find articles with titles like “75 Ways to Guerilla Market Your Product.” This is a normal and productive way most entrepreneurs use to help make their business successful.
You can rely on an agency to do this on your behalf. They will offer you a package of time each month where they will do things like link-building, on-page SEO and offpage SEO. They will also manage a Ad-Words account for you …for a fee. Again, some businesses this makes sense and is the best solution.
As a life long marketing person…I can help you look at the different social media offerings, SEO opportunities and other work some do to make the website be a better salesperson. I can help you build a strategy with a set of tactics to carry out that strategy. You can then task me or someone else on a specific tactic while carrying out some yourself.
Let Me Know How I Can Help
Fill out the contact me form here and I will respond in a day or less. We can set up a phone call or Zoom meeting. I will gather up the information I need to build the initial budget. Then we can by phone, Zoom or in person go over the proposal and you can make a decision. I guarantee that even if I am not a good fit for your project…you will know more about running your business online than you did.