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Do you think having an expensive website is good for a business?

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I do understand that the platform is a free one, and that if I wanted to go it alone I could do so an pay less than I am currently for hosting.

 

However as I am completely new to this, have never built a site before, I needed and still do need support building my site. The site was launched a month ago which is why it s not on the top pages of google, as I am sure you know this does not happen over night!

 

The people I am with have not only shown me how to use the admin system of opencart, they have done all the design work for me to my requirements, which I wouldnt have been able to do. They have set up my email, they have given me valuable advise and been on hand as and when I needed a question answering, even evenings and weekends.

 

Seo is again all new to me and I undertand there are tools to help, but as I want to learn it I am entering keywords, descriptions, seo urls etc myself after leasrning bit by bit from easysite.

 

They are a fantastic company who I will be with for a long long time.

 

I guess if you have some background knowledge and are happy to go it alone then you can do also. But I am more than happy to pay slightly more for the support package.

 

I also looked into places like vistaprint and create who are £10 plus a month and have less features and from what I hear alot less support.

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If your just interested in text formatting maybe you should get a developer to set up a site for you using Wordpress. If you don't want any e-commerce or advanced features then it's probably your best bet. I use it for my blog and find that the text is easy to format. There are also plenty of templates to choose from. I use one that can be customised so I could match it to my main website. You can also create a fixed home page and create extra pages, you don't need to use it as blog.

 

I suspect it would be cheaper to get a developer to set up a Wordpress site for you in the long run. The Vistaprint site would cost you £107.64 a year for the most expensive option. You might want to get some quotes from some web design companies to find out if it would be cheaper.

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I built my own website by buying a package from 123-reg.co.uk, I'd never done it before and found it very easy to do. The support from 123 is great also. The hardest bit really was getting it in the search engines under something different than the company name, as people need to know your company name to google you and well if they knew that, then generally they'd already know your website one would think. So I found having an eBay shop and blogging on blogger.com helped loads. Dont pay for the google Adwords, you can end up with huge £300 bills every month (this has happened to quite alot of people I know). My site is easy to navigate and is full ecommerce, costs me £18.99 a quarter - bargin!

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If you get something off the shelf then you get what everybody else gets. In a lot of cases that is fine. But if you then want to do something special, like a loyalty scheme, or link in with another service (facebook, twitter, mailchimp, a helpdesk) and the off-the-shelf version doesn't have that feature then you may have to start again. However the off the shelf stuff may have some features that effectively tie you in should you want to change platform.

 

Also some off the shelf solutions would end up more expensive over 5 years than a custom built site as the hosting for the off the shelf stuff is harder. Also, if you are one customer of 10,000 and you have a problem you aren't going to get the customer service of a company that has maybe only 100 customers.

 

There are technical things you would want to know about, like SEO, and how many domains are on the server hosting your site.

 

Taking one of the links from above love2print.co.uk I popped their IP address (178.18.116.47) into this tool:

 

http://www.domaintools.com/research/reverse-ip/

 

And I discovered that love2print.co.uk shares it's server with 284 other websites. If one of those other 284 websites is hacked into, or is a resource hog, then love2print.co.uk is affected. I have seen servers which host over 1000 domains.

 

Also if security is a big deal, then you will want to research about any security break ins on the platform of your choice. Wordpress is good insofar as you will be able to find out about all the problems it has had over the years, other off-the-shelf solutions may simply cover up any problems as the website owner and the off-the-shelf provider both have an interest in keeping such information to themselves.

 

Obviously some of these issues are important for some companies and less so for others, if you are a startup and want to get going with the minimum of outlay then you are going to need to go down the cheapest route while you get your business established. If however you are going to be investing thousands in setting up your business and you will be using your website to sell goods then you probably need to invest more heavily on the website side of things.

 

Web designers and developers are paid well for their work. £500 is probably no more than two or three days work around here. Having said that you may well find a new business who needs the work and can offer some very good prices.

 

I hope some of that helps.

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A professional looking website certainly reflects well on a customer.However, I once bought a car new from a website which was pretty poor looking. The reason i did that was because the new car was the least price compared to all the fancy websites selling the same thing. the only thing the poor looking website did was make me triple check the validity of the business behind it before i gave them 12k cash. But the thing i took away was that maybe they were cheaper because they hadnt spent so much on their website? Was it safer? Kind of - because it made me triple check - i didnt take it forf granted.

 

But, times have moved on, the bar is setm, and your customers expect a good web experience.

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I built my own website by buying a package from 123-reg.co.uk, I'd never done it before and found it very easy to do. The support from 123 is great also. The hardest bit really was getting it in the search engines under something different than the company name, as people need to know your company name to google you and well if they knew that, then generally they'd already know your website one would think. So I found having an eBay shop and blogging on blogger.com helped loads. Dont pay for the google Adwords, you can end up with huge £300 bills every month (this has happened to quite alot of people I know). My site is easy to navigate and is full ecommerce, costs me £18.99 a quarter - bargin!

 

It's upto the customer how Mich they pay to Google, if they haven't done their homework I can imagine it getting out of hand. £300? I pay a tenth of that and people searching for my services see me either at the top or usually the top 2 or 3 of the first page.

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It's upto the customer how Mich they pay to Google, if they haven't done their homework I can imagine it getting out of hand. £300? I pay a tenth of that and people searching for my services see me either at the top or usually the top 2 or 3 of the first page.

 

Agreed, I paid nothing and I was top within a month for the 2 main searches.

 

Whether that was because it isnt a very searched phrase is another story :hihi::hihi:

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I hate to put a dampener on people, but you need to be careful when searching for your own company on google. If you regularly visit your own website and search for it in google, it will realise that, for you, you are usually looking for your site.

 

Often your site appears higher for you than it does for others because of this. Check you've logged out when searching.

 

Logged in for a particular term I'm #10, logged out, #51

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I find the best thing to do is go into private browsing mode. Even logged out I have seen erroneous search results.

 

Firefox: Tools> Start Private Browsing

Chrome: Tool Icon> New Incognito Window

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I've run a web development company for nearly 10 years now, and know that as with any industry, 'expensive' doesn't guarantee value for money. If you are going to invest in a third party to deal with your site, you have to ensure you are getting a good return on your investment.

 

I've seen all sorts of clients in my time - some simply want to concentrate on running their business, so are happy to pay a lot of money to have a company deal with the site for them. Some want to retain a level of day-to-day control, so we'll make sure they have a good content management system in place.

 

If you want to deal with it all yourself, that's fine if you feel you have the skills and time to dedicate to it. Using a DIY hosted solution is always an option, but you'll normally have to accept being somewhat confined in what you can and cannot do within the limits of the system you are using.

 

Also in the case of these hosted DIY services or anything provided by a third party, make sure you know what your options are should you find (for example) the hosting unreliable, or you are generally unhappy with the service. Can you take your site away with you? Who owns the design? Who owns the 'site' as a whole? What about the actual content and product database - will you be provided with an export of this, or is it simply a case of being switched off, end of story? Can you walk away with everything you need for your new developer to quickly recreate your site, or do you have to start completely from scratch? What happens if the service provider goes under?

 

TBH, there's plenty of great free and commercial scripts out there that can get the job done, but there are a lot of skills you'll need to learn - design, coding, copywriting, hosting, site admin, SEO, marketing, dealing with web enquiries and customer problems, browser testing, usability, accessibility, legal issues and requirements, web traffic analysis etc etc.

 

For me, I think it's all about getting the marketing nailed and then working on your conversion process once people come to the site. Sites do not need to be gorgeous, but they need to do very specific tasks well - i.e. customers need to find what they want quickly and easily, and your desired conversion 'goals' need to be achieved (i.e making a sale, getting them to contact you with an enquiry, sign up to newsletter etc).

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Content is king. Then, in order of importance, the next most important things for a website are:

content

content

content

and

content

 

Expensive doesn't guarantee you results - useful information and giving people what they want is important.

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What do fellow small businesses think?

 

Is paying to have a professional money well spent in your opinion?

 

Did you have an expensive website and did it increase your business or not make much difference, What are your thoughts on this?

 

Professional websites dont have to be expensive, becareful who you choose, professional built sites often perform better in the search engines, and are faster to download / use.

 

I wouldn't try to build a house myself i would get a professional building contractor to do it... :)

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