With the popularity of social media like facebook and twitter, and the growing use of mobile devices such as tablets and smart-phones, having a website and Internet presence is becoming more important. Many business owners are sometimes overwhelmed with all the information out there and it can get confusing when people start talking about SEO and Places pages, and Facebook widgets etc, but the nice thing about the web is that you can start small and simple and then easily grow as you learn and expand.
I run into people who own small businesses every day who do not have a website and I wonder how much potential business they might be losing because of it. With so many people now using the Internet to shop and to find places to purchase things, having a web presence is more important than ever. Unfortunately, there have been many small business owners who have been ‘burned’ by unscrupulous web designers who have charged them thousands of dollars for websites that are not really worth it, but there are certainly many of dollar wise alternatives available if you do a little bit of research. For many businesses, getting even one customer from it can easily pay for the website, and having a website definitely increases your advertising exposure in one of the most cost effective ways possible.
I had one business owner that called me and asked if I could help him setup a website and he proudly told me that he had gotten his domain name himself. I asked him how much he paid for the domain and he told me that he was happy that he found the name he wanted at a bargain price of $300 (for a year). Unfortunatley, he too fell prey to a company that misled him and sadly I could have shown him where to get that same domain for @ $10 a year.
For a small simple website, you should be able to find a domain for @ $10 year, and then find hosting for it (the server that holds the website files and makes them available on the Internet) for $4 – $10 a month depending on your needs. Of course it takes a bit of research to find the best deals – and the best deals are not always the cheapest. You should always be careful of shared hosting companies that offer a lot for a little, as you may find your website on a server with hundreds of other websites and find that pages load so slowly that people usually leave your website before they even see it! There are however a number of large and reputable companies which offer good deals and good performance for a reasonable price, so a bit of beforehand investigating can certainly save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Then there is the website itself. Setting up a simple website is not that hard, nor should it be expensive. Personally I tend to stay away from those all-in-one site designers that many companies offer. The built in site designers are often slow, clunky and end up giving you a website that just looks bad. I have found that using a content management system like WordPress is often the easiest and cheapest way to get a professional and easy to manage website up in minimal time. Systems like WordPress allow you to design and edit your website without any special software and there are a ton of free themes and plugins available to help you customize your website.
I have setup many WordPress sites over the past few years for local businesses, and what I like the most about using WordPress is that the websites can be easily customized to be unique and professional, and the business owner or their employees can easily update information on the website without having to call and pay a web developer every time they want to make a simple change. The ability to control your own website is something I think is very important as I have seen far too many business owners who have websites that they hate because they have some developer that they have to call (and usually pay) every time they want to change a line of text or a picture.
At Pensacola Computers, we have helped many local Pensacola area businesses start their own websites and have a lot of insight in the local Pensacola area market with experience in both website design and local search engine placement (getting on the first page of Google search is always a plus!). We are also experts with WordPress websites and have setup a number of websites for local businesses with excellent search engine placement and front page google results. Visit us today at http://pensacolacomputers.com or call us at 850*390*4242