July 13, 2024
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July 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

A single column may not suffice to address every angle of building a website or its cost. At the Garb Consulting Group we made the move to merge with a larger web development company named Pattern Fusion a couple of years ago. After referring projects out to others we have learned a few lessons. While there are many incredible local and overseas web-development shops, you can build a simple website for yourself at low cost.

The clients who get into trouble are those who didn’t anticipate the cost or the time needed to manage a web project. Be sure you can dedicate the time that is needed to maintain your own site.

Most of the items described below are generally done by your web developer. But before you hire him or her, make sure every item you expect to see on the site is in the contract. People call us all the time complaining that they’ve paid a lot of money already, and are upset when there are additions that require additional payments. Budget your website and, most important, if you need maintenance or tweaks, make sure this is understood by the web designer.

If the person is writing “code,” make sure you have access to the code and username/passwords etc. in case you decide move away from the web group. You may have some issues getting access to your own site. This is very common.

The truth is, though, that GCG gets more calls from disgruntled clients who had their site built by volunteers, teenagers, or moonlighters than we do from clients who hired a proper web-development company. Any small business, large business, or even mom-and-pop establishment should have some sort of website. At this point if a business doesn’t have a website, it reflects poorly on the business.

The website is your front door, the first impression to your business. Keep that in mind. You may have the best product or service in the world, but if your site is done poorly this will be an immediate turn-off.

We’ve learned from our own experience that it’s enough to have a simple site that displays your mission statement, contact info, logo, and email info. It’s really irksome when you go to a site and links don’t work, info is incorrect, etc.

Websites are built on different platforms such as Joomla, WordPress, and Magenta, to name a few. Old-school builders may use HTML code. No matter what the platform, make sure you have administrative access and password. Most web shops will restrict access to prevent clients fiddling around and causing damage. Nevertheless, insist on access and get copies of the documentation for the entire website.

Step 1. Domain name/website name, aka your internet address or URL

You purchase your domain name from a registrar such as godaddy.com. Google is also getting into the game. Godaddy.com has a search box to find your domain name and see if it’s available. It’s gets a bit frustrating when you search your unique name and it’s taken by someone who you know has “parked” the URL. Parked means someone purchased your domain name and will sell it back to you at a premium. I really discourage paying these outfits money to get something that cost them $10, but as with stamps.com or SI.com (Sports Illustrated) the traffic you receive may be worth it.

Most registrars charge $10 a year. I would buy 10 years…the last thing you want is to have your domain expire. Something else you may want to do is purchase.com,.net, and.biz domain names at the same time. You can forward all the domains to your primary website. Shocking what people will do. If you can’t get a.com, pick another domain name. Most folks think.com when it comes to a website.

Step 2. Web-hosting space

Once you have your URL–you can purchase a URL and do nothing for as long as you want–you will need to acquire a web host. This will give you the ability to build a website and store files on the Internet. Web hosting can cost about $10 a month or less. After you find a hosting company you like, it should offer you 500 email addresses, web space, and some tools to build your website.

Step 3. Web Design

The most important part is the Web Design. Sites are supposed to be dynamic and have fresh content. When sites show outdated info you lose visitors. Do not assume people are patient. If the site is too hard to maneuver or carries too much data you will lose visitors. The design is really what clients are going to see. One option is to hire a proper Web group that does the design. The other option is to choose from the web tools and templates out there.

Many web-building sites like wix.com will have tools that allow you to drag and drop images and to write the content. The tools also allow you to upload your own logo and pictures. If you are just looking for a simple site this may be enough. If you have a large business and it becomes obvious that you took the cheap route out, that is something you need to think about when creating your brand. Ask yourself, who is your target audience? Will a good site increase your actual business? Can you handle the volume you will generate? Can you get free advertising?

There are pluses and minuses to each method of building your site. For a larger company, it makes sense to hire a proper web group. It really requires time and maintenance that owners are too busy to take care of themselves.

Feel free to email [email protected] with any questions you might have.

Shneur Garb is the CEO of the Garb Consulting IT Group LLC in Teaneck. Email [email protected] with comments or questions.

By Shneur Garb

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