When you’re already paying for rent, advertising, and every other expense that goes along with running a business, the thought of paying for all the bells and whistles that go along with having a website can seem painful. But a website is a necessity for businesses both large and small. What’s a business owner to do?
There are ways that you can minimize the costs that go along with building and maintaining a website, while still getting the results you want — more clients, more sales, and more awareness of your business.
- Learn the content management system. When your web designer is putting together your site in the first place, make sure that they use a content management system. For fairly simple sites, WordPress is a great option (this site is built on WordPress). For more complex sites, we typically use Drupal. As long as you can spend a little time learning how to use that system, you can make updates to the content of your site (like adding new products) without asking your web designer to handle it.
- Shop around for your domain name and SSL certificates. There can be some dramatic differences in the prices of registering a domain name between different companies, making it crucial that you look at more than one domain registrar. There can be similar differences with SSL certificates. Similar products from companies like Verisign, Entrust and GoDaddy vary dramatically in cost. It’s important to look at exactly what you get for your money before making up your mind on hosting. Some cut-rate hosting providers don’t give you what you need, despite their low prices and big promises.
- Create a consistent style. It’s easier to maintain a website where every page looks similar than one with lots of differences. It also makes it easier to roll out social media accounts, mini-sites, HTML newsletters and every other aspect of your online presence — and the consistency will help your customers recognize your website and other efforts immediately.
- “Future proof” your website. While there seem to be constant changes to what technologies and strategies are used for websites, taking as many steps to make sure that your website can be easily updated is important. That can include, but isn’t limited to, avoiding website builders and templates that you can’t be sure have kept up with the times, making sure that your web designer is using the most up-to-date techniques and choosing content management systems that can be easily updated.
- Make arrangements to back up your website. Our hosting plans include daily off-site backups, but if your host doesn’t, make sure you have a backup copy of your site. Recovering a website after a problem can be an expensive (not to mention unexpected) process, sometimes requiring you to go back and have the site rebuilt from scratch.
You don’t need to become a web expert to make sure you get the most out of your website and there are some options that make the ongoing costs of maintaining a website much lower than in the past.