Imagine this- you’re a start-up business, or a long time bricks and mortar business, and you’ve been thinking about getting a website for a while now. One weekend at a barbecue, one of your nephews tells you all about the advantages of being online, having a website, hosting, domains, shopping carts, and cookies. It is all confusing, but his enthusiasm is such that you finally think to yourself- yes, I want a website.
You’ve opened your shop on a Monday morning, had the beginning of the week rush, and it is near lunchtime, so you take five minutes out to think some more about having a website. Your first thought- how much is it going to cost?
Your nephew said many things to you, about how it won’t cost that much to get a website. You can get one for free, through Wix! You have a look, it seems fine and dandy, but you’ve been around long enough to know that nothing in life is free. So what next? What did he say? Hosting?
You have a look at some prices, and get a range of them, some less than $150 a year, others up to $300. Why the difference in prices? Further reading gives you some information about backing up in the cloud, security, help desk open 24 hours a day. Why would you need to call them at 3am, you ask yourself.
Another thing your spritely young nephew said was a domain name. You have a look at that, and research your store’s domain name, and find no one owns it. You can get a .com.au, .org. .net. .com. You can even get .melbourne. Do you need all of them? So much information!
Two hours has passed since you started your research, and so far you’re overwhelmed, not sure where to spend money, how much is it going to cost, and how much you need to spend. But do you realise, that you’ve already spent 2 hours of your time, which at an hourly rate of say, $100 is $200. You’ve spent, around $200 on your website already, and you haven’t put anything online yet.
I have spoken to a lot of people who have spent far more hours than just two hours, umming and ahh’ing over their website. They hear things like- Wix is free, and want that. But then they don’t understand how something for free upfront, can cost them further down the line. How saving money by only buying one domain, could cost them a lot of money later, if someone ‘squats on your domain’, or builds a dummy site, to rip off your customers. This does happen.
The true cost of building a website is both a dollar amount, how much coin it will cost you and your business, plus the opportunity costs. Money saved now, may be used later, tenfold. Don’t invest in great security? Pay a lot of money to an IT consultant, to clean your computers and beef up your cyber security.
Done your website research?
Let’s look at your nephew again. He is a wiz when it comes to things online. Well, compared to you he is. You know his dad gets him to help him all the time with his internet. And your nephew says he can build you a website, not a problem. He’ll do it for you for $500. Your minimal research on how much it would cost to get a professional to do it seems to indicate that this is a bargain!
Already, I can hear a few of you wincing and grumbling about how this is a bad idea. But lets run with this. Do you have a logo? Sure. But it is an image your nephew can use? Not a problem, he grabs some of your pamphlets, scans it and cuts out the logo with MS Paint. He also scans a few images of you, takes some shots inside your store using his smart phone. Not a problem.
Time passes. Your website is no-where to be seen. You ring your nephew, but his phone is off. According to social media he is studying a lot, and also going out a lot. And he has some killer new shoes. But your website has not appeared.
Five weeks after you handed over the hefty sum of $500, and registered a domain, just the one, as nephew says you only need a .com.au version, and you’ve registered for 24 months hosting at around another couple of hundred dollars, you still don’t have a website. How much potential business have you lost, online through not having a website? Can you measure that? How frustrated have you been at your nephew, who is family, that nothing has been done?
Finally, after pushing him, and knowing that it is mid-semester break, he puts up a website for you. He uses Wix, as it is easy and looks great. Well, it looks okay to you. The logo looks a bit fuzzy, apparently that happens when you blow up a low resolution picture. And the photos are a bit dull, and blurry. Compared to your competition, your site looks quite drab, and amateur. But he is family, and at least you’re online, right?
What about those free websites?
Remember an earlier article I wrote about the pitfalls of having a WIX website for SEO purposes? Here is a link to remind you. So, you paid $500 for a website to be made, and it is now doing nothing for you online. Google doesn’t like it because of it hiding behind the WIX name. It is a lot more complicated than that, I’m sure your nephew would know. Else, you can read the article and find out more.
So now you have this $500 website, hosted on a free space, because your nephew didn’t know how to upload it onto your domain, and it was like 2 months late. It ‘cost’ you less than $700, but do you think it is worth to you?
Yes, there are some good website opportunities out there at the $500 mark. Hard to find, perhaps speaking with some students who want to fill their portfolio for future work, or hitting up e-lancer you may find a website around this price. But understand you’re going to get what you paid for, and then the worth of the site may be way less, or more, than you expect.
Want some simple tips?
- Get yourself a domain. Find online some answers to what FTP is, how to host, how to build a website using WordPress. In fact, I have some guides on my website which can help with that.
- Undertake research and look at what designs you like, look at competitors both in Australia and overseas for inspiration.
- Find some GOOD imagery. Your smart phone might look great, but how is the lighting? Is there a bit of a blur? Does composition of each shot look kind of the same? Try pixabay.com for free high quality royalty free images.
- Get involved with the process. Understand what your website is about. Understand what you can do to add to it, but not break it. Changing colours and such, is possible, but don’t be surprised if there is a designer out there somewhere, crying on the inside.
Yes, I build websites, in WordPress. Yes, I can show you how you can add blogs, and add content, to YOUR website, without breaking it. I can even help you write blogs, if you’re not too sure how to go about that. I also host your website, so it is all in the one location.
What you get through Vent2Me is a website which will be worth more to you than the coin you pay. It will be specially designed for you, it will be functional and accessible, and fantastic. It will be yours.
Julia Taine, Executive Director of Vent2Me, is a marketing problem solver and mentor. A mover and a shaker, Julia sees a niche in an industry, and takes it, by making it her own. Julia started Vent2Me, because people she knew were struggling with their online presence and their digital strategies. Julia knew she could help these people, and so here she is today.