In the early days of website design and hosting, a business owner would have to designate a significant amount of money to get started. It was not unusual to spend five to ten thousand dollars to have a site designed and an additional $59 per month for hosting. There was also a limit to how many pages your site would contain and an additional charge for any changes that you made to your site. That was the early days, much has changed since then and web design and hosting is more affordable than ever. You can have your site up and running within a day or so with an investment less than $500 dollars. If you use a template this cost drops significantly.
There are many options in getting a professional looking website. The first is to hire a designer and share the ideas or plans that you have for your site. The designer then takes your ideas and works with you to create the image that you would like to project to the world. In most cases the designer will have a limited amount of time to spend with you so the best approach is to have your ideas written down before meeting with the company that you hire to design your site.
When setting up your online presence consider answering the follow questions:
What do you want your site to do? Do you want new customers or to provide a service for the existing customers? Do you want to use your site to help build a database for future communication? Would you like to sell products or include a guest book or blog?
One of the best things about planning your site is all of the examples that you can find just by surfing the web. Look at sites within your industry and look at sites outside of your industry. There may be a tool or option found on an automotive website that you can use for your office supply site. Be creative, put yourself in the place of the visitors who will come to your site. Give them a good and memorable experience and a way to stay in touch with you after they leave your site.
Designers vs. Templates
A designer can give you a sleek looking one of a kind site. They will take your idea and concept and make it come alive complete with text, graphics, flash intros and more. I have seen amazing sites that draw me to them again and again just to have the experience.
I donít know much about programming or html. However, I wanted to try my hand at Front Page and design my own website for my artwork at Jordanmercedes.com. After about a month of working on the site I realized that I was spending more time trying to figure out how to use the program than I was being creative. In an instant, I decided to find a company that offered a template and use it as a base to create the site; it was the best decision I could have made. I had a new site up and running in a few days and I absolutely love how it turned out. Itís perfect for showcasing my artwork, lets me display new work and products, has a guest book for visitors to sign in a leave messages and is connected to my email address. Piece of Cake!
After looking around at several companies, I went Yahoo! Business Websites. I had an existing yahoo address, it was easy to expand the service to include the website. Since I did the design, the only upfront cost was for the monthly hosting fee of about $11. Thatís quite a change from the $39 I was paying with my previous company.
The good thing about Yahoo! Is that they also offer a design service for around $300-$400, if you donít want to spend the time working with a template. If your web hosting or design services are taking a large part of your budget, maybe itís time to do a re-design, giving yourself a fresher look with upgraded options at a fraction of the cost.