Building and Hosting Your Own Website

Are you starting a home-based business or internet business?

Congratulations, but the work is only just beginning! In order to be successful in today’s competitive world you must have an online presence. Website building can be the single most time-consuming chore, particularly if you also have to list thousands of products for sale.

It can be daunting asking for quotes from website businesses. Often their charges can run into the thousands, particularly as many charge over $60 an hour for their services. You can also hire a freelancer, but you should do most of your website building first. Freelance services for hire can include listing products for sale, or writing blogs.

It’s possible for you to do your own website building. There are many websites where you can use free templates. All you have to do is plug in the pertinent information for logo, business name, services offered, photographs and product descriptions. Many sites offer free basic services, then for a fee you can have your own domain name.

Templates can be for any type of website or blog. You can choose informative site templates, or templates for clinics or restaurants. There are also many templates for online stores, so you can easily add photos and product descriptions. There are even websites that offer scheduling types of services, such as would be required for room booking or car sharing.

If you choose a good site that has great customer service they can help you out if you get stuck. Often these sites also have affordable services, so if you need a special script or programming code done, it’s done as an add-on to your site. You can go as far as your knowledge will take you, then let someone else take over for the more technical aspects.

If you’re uncertain about a website provider, check the online reviews. They’ll give you a clue as to how easy their templates are to use, and whether the customer support is good too.

Another factor in choosing where to host your site is cost. You’ll find that website hosting services can vary. If you are simply hoping to host a blog, one of the more popular blogging tools such as Blogger or WordPress offers super cheap web hosting, but they also offer great flexibility, so your blog site will still look like a real site. Or, you can host your blog on one site and add a link to your own website.

You may also wish to look for other helpful features on websites that offer templates. Some sites offer free clipart so you’ll always have access to a ready source of images to add to your pages or blog. Some sites also offer free SEO marketing tools to help you get started. Email marketing tools may be offered as a simple add-on, saving you time from having to sign up for individual services.

Building and hosting your own website is going to be one of the most rewarding aspects for your internet business, but be sure you choose your website host carefully.

Custom Web Design – Bad Expense or Wise Investment

Price is one of the major factors in determining the type of web development that small business owners would choose to invest in, which is either pre-designed website template or a custom coded website. Since the price of creating a custom website ranges far and wide, from a thousand to ten thousands of dollars, businesses usually stay away from custom website developers, and would rather go for pre-designed template developed websites built on platforms like WordPress. Template developed websites are less pricier than custom built sites, however the costs saved usually make up for the lack in flexibility and capabilities.

More value

In general, custom websites may cost higher than template website designs on the average, but not all of them cost more. A lot of WordPress designers who use pre-purchased web templates charge as much or even more than the reasonably priced web developers. Actually, both custom programmers and template designers have a wide range of prices for their services. If price is a critical factor for your site, shop around to come up with the developer that offers the best quality and price. You will discover that custom web developers offer the same, or even more value than their template designing equivalent, but usually at the same or lower price.

Safe SEO

Many business owners like the idea of a DIY website platform simple because it is fast and simple. You are eager to make public your site immediately, so visitors can land on it. However, when you launch your site now, then make changes when your business expands later, this could hurt your SEO. As an example, when you change website design, web hosts and content management systems, this will affect the way your site is ranked and indexed.

Most often than not, making changes in a site results to 404s, as well as broken links. This confuses the search engines and makes your page ranking go down. If you do not know how to analyze and solve these problems by yourself, your brand will be hidden underneath search results, and may be covered by your former site. In effect, you will wind up paying double; one is for the original template to introduce your site, and another is to redesign completely once your business expands.

Robust capabilities.

Template websites are limited when it comes to structure, navigation and widget applications, while the functions of custom developed websites are only limited by the imagination and skill of the developer. In reality, majority of businesses don’t just need a website, but one with custom applications that are able to manage, analyze and display content and/or data. According to owners of large businesses, template websites do not have the functionality needed to run custom-built applications that will help their businesses and websites to run very efficiently. Website templates match their included simple widgets in terms of flexibility.

Looking for Ideas

I didn’t know exactly where to begin this project, but I didn’t let that stop me. Many people will avoid working on a project because they don’t know where to begin. When I’m in that situation, I just impulsively begin anywhere. I know that if I pick a bad spot to begin, I’ll figure it out quickly, and I can change course. The important thing is to get into the flow of action and stay there. Don’t avoid or delay action just because you don’t know what to do next. Quite often the correct actions only become visible when you’re in motion, even if you’re headed in the wrong direction. Overcoming inertia is critical. A project or an idea will die if you sit still and ponder it too long.

I figured that a reasonable place to start would be to look at other websites, especially popular ones in my field, to get some ideas. Maybe I’d find parts of sites that I liked that I could semi-model as I redesigned my own site.

That turned out to be mostly a waste of time, at least in terms of how I thought it would be helpful. Maybe I’m just picky, but I didn’t see much out there that appealed to me when I deliberately tried to find things I liked. What I mostly saw was lots of clutter, fluff, advertising, confusing interfaces, and unnecessary complexity. I saw a lot of modern bells and whistles that were far beyond what I had on my old website, but I felt that many of them detracted from usability. As a visitor to a new website, what does parallax scrolling do for me? It just makes the site look more complicated than it needs to be. It was cool to see the first few times when it became possible – Ooh! How do they do that? – but after that it’s mostly just annoying.

On the other hand, I could say that this turned out to be a good way to begin since I gained a lot of inspiration for what not to do. By seeing so many things I didn’t like, I could at least rule them out. This also helped me refine my design philosophy. I realized that I wanted a site that showed a high degree of respect for the readers and that was straightforward, honest, and clear.

I never found a single site that inspired me. I saw some really creative designs, but none seemed appropriate for my own site.

Oddly, it was only much later, when I stopped trying to deliberately look for inspired ideas elsewhere, that I would occasionally stumble upon a website that had some design aspect I really liked.

Tips To Design A Perfect Contact Us Page For Your Website

Needless to say, the design of your website attracts visitors and contact us page helps them to get connected with you. It increases your conversion rate and easily builds trust between you and your customer. However, sometimes people never give proper attention to it, which in result de-motivate the customers and they drop out their idea to do business with you. So, do you have a perfect contact us page? Don’t know what elements to include? Here are some simple tips that help you to design it in a manner that satisfy the demand of your clients.

Provide a Complete Physical Address: One of the most important things your contact us page must have is the complete detail of your physical address. It may help to build the trust among clients that your business is not a bluff but have an actual presence, where they can even visit personally, if they have any doubt, before start working with you.

Include All The Details: Make sure the contact us page on your website must include all the details like name of contact person, mobile number, fax number, postal address, email id etc. This may help your customer to easily make a contact without facing any problem.

Don’t Forget To Include Social Media Links: No doubt, social media has the power to change the world and getting connected with the customer over these platforms make a huge difference in your professional relationships. Therefore, you should create your presence on different social media platforms because it helps to target a wider audience and don’t forget to include their link on your contact us page, so, that they can easily reach you.

Include A Map To Provide Directions: If your office situated at a place that can be tough for a customer to find, so, you should include a map on your contact us page. This may give the complete direction to your clients so they can easily reach you without any inconvenience.

Include An Enquiry Form: Last but not the least important things your contact us page must have is an enquiry form. It is quite convenient for a customer to tell your requirements. Make sure the enquiry forms you include ask only what is necessary than the past, present and future of the customer, otherwise, it may disappoint them and they get frustrated and leave your website immediately.

All above points will help your customer to easily reach you. It may put a very firstly and lastly impression on their mind and therefore, you should give proper attention to it. So, what are you waiting for? Design a well-functioned contact us page with keeping in mind all the above elements.

10 Essential Website Update Hacks to Help Boost Sales

When was the last time you updated your website?

It saddens me to say that I have many clients who have all but abandoned their website once it was launched. They either get too busy to think about it or worse, don’t realize how important it is to the success of their business.

Remember your website is out there promoting you and your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long. So if you’re one of those people that never gave your website a second thought once it went live, then please keep reading.

First of all, your business website is not a static brochure.

It should be a living, breathing document that is an accurate reflection of your business. But it’s easy to get caught up in the daily activities of running your business and forget to review your website regularly.

If you can’t remember the last time you did a website update, let’s just say you are overdue.

Here are some of the top things you need to do to update on your website to keep it running smoothly and ensuring you are not sending your visitors to your competitors:

1) Broken Link Check. If you have any kind of hyperlinks on your website, there are bound to be some that are broken. Broken Link Check is a free service that reviews your site to notify you of broken links that need fixing.

2) Customize Your 404 Page. Speaking of broken links, if you have a link to a page on your own site that no longer exists, it will direct visitors to what’s called a 404 page.

This page is created as a default page whether you use WordPress or some other means to build your site. And it looks ugly so it’s important to customize this page and make good use of it.

You can have your webmaster ensure it matches the look and feel of your website and put a custom message on there, directing people back to your home page, show how to connect with you on social media, and offer an opt-in freebie to capture the lead.

3) Fix Typos. Nothing looks more unprofessional than having typos on your web page. Often they are hard to spot yourself because we read what we think it should say instead of what is actually there.

Typosaurus is a great free tool to help you spot those pesky spelling errors and get them fixed ASAP before you turn off any more visitors. Those first impressions are powerful and count towards whether someone will buy from you or not.

4) Improve Navigation. Keeping website navigation simple and intuitive is important. You want customers to find all the most important information without having to hunt around and look for it.

Keep it simple: Use clear wording that your visitors will understand. And consider drop down menus to keep like pages grouped together and organized.

5) Ensure Mobile Responsiveness. If your website is not designed to display well on smart phones and smaller screens, it’s costing you traffic and valuable leads.

Many potential customers do their searching on their devices in between appointments, while watching TV, and pretty much all the time. We are often asked to convert older websites into being mobile friendly (or it is often time for a whole new look and feel) so the same could be done for your site too.

If you haven’t checked and ensured your website is mobile friendly yet, put it at the top of your to do list! Every day you don’t, it’s costing you sales.

6) Update the Staff Page. Turnover happens so it’s important to regularly review your staff page. Check to see if you need to add new hire, remove old ones, and update bios and headshots.

7) Correct Contact Info. Make sure your address, email, phone, and fax numbers are up to date. The last thing you want is a potential client trying to reach you and are getting a wrong number!

Add a link to your business on Google Maps too so people can find your business easily.

8) Add Social Links. Place social media icons that click to your business channels prominently on the home page so prospects can connect with you that way.

Also be sure to put social sharing links on your blog so people can quickly and easily share your blog content with their social media followers.

9) Update the Look and Feel. Has your ideal target market or brand image changed since you last updated your website? Or perhaps it’s time for a fresh new look that is more up to date?

I encounter many websites that look old and deserted. The immediate impression I get is that the business is either shut down or they don’t care about the professional impression they are giving their visitors.

So if your website was built more than 3 or 4 years ago, the chances are good that it’s time for a new, fresh look that positions your business in a better light.

10) Copywriting Update. It’s important to review the content on your website. Is it too long? Is it truly compelling? Does it have proper calls to action? Is it really reflective of your brand message?

The text and images on your site are extremely important when trying to convert website visitors into paying customers.

It might be time to hire someone to take a look at the copywriting on your site and ensure it’s giving the right message to the right people.

Susan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

5 Important Reasons Why You Should Build a Mobile Friendly Website

In the Middle East alone, around 528 million people have a mobile phone, and this number is expected to rise 39% by 2015. Nowadays, 94% of mobile owners in the MENA region use their smartphones to surf the internet. Therefore, now is the time to create a responsive design to have a mobile friendly website. If you are still suspicious about this decision, here is how a mobile version helps your website and business:

A mobile friendly website makes a website more accessible.

Mobile users access the internet whenever they want, and wherever they are. The main reason they browse the internet from their mobile phones, is the instant need and the inaccessibility of a desktop computer. A website that is not mobile friendly can push the visitors to abandon and look for another more convenient to navigate. For this reason, websites are developing responsive designs, to be accessible at any moment and with any device (smartphones, tablets).

A responsive design improves a website’s user experience.

When a website is browsed from a mobile or tablet, it switches from a horizontal layout to a vertical format causing a different display of text and images. Responsive web design (RWD) manipulates the site to properly fit the screen of the device used rather than maintaining the same structure and shrinking the images and text sizes. As a result, this automatic adaptation improves the user experience by providing a more convenient navigation and an easier way of exploring the website.

A responsive web design is cost effective.

Before the introduction of RWD, website owners used to create several versions of the same site to accustom to different sizes. This doubles and even triples the tasks as the content updates and source codes are done separately for each version. A responsive web design can adjust to all screen sizes for a single source code for your site, and a single content management system. In addition, one responsive website means one access to the analytics. Google analytics tools report insights of the different devices used to navigate the website.

A mobile friendly website increases sales.

While online buying is growing remarkably, more and more shoppers are using their mobile phones to purchase goods online. In 2013, 10% of the region’s online purchases were made via mobile, and this percentage is expected to reach 20% by 2015. Therefore, it would be a smart strategy for e-commerce websites to expand to mobile with a responsive design. This upgrade will, as mentioned before, improve the user experience, creating higher opportunities for completing an online sale.

A mobile optimized site empowers Google ranking.

In the MENA, around 96% of Internet users search on Google whenever they are looking for something. For this reason, all websites work hard on their SEO to appear in first results of Google search to get good exposure. A crucial step in optimizing a website is to create a responsive web design because, in general, Google detects if a website is mobile friendly and favors it when displaying results for searches made through mobiles devices. This is especially the case when the query is related to local services.

In conclusion, responsive web design improves a mobile site’s performance and user experience across many devices and screens. And as seen and foreseen, the mobile internet penetration is on the rise so establish your mobile friendly website and gain a competitive advantage.

Eweev is a SEO company that will help your website rank high on search engines. In addition to search engine optimization, Eweev provides the following web services: Web design, web development, mobile apps and website, online marketing, search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing (SMM).