When you start-up a business you tend to have quite a few initial costs at a time when your income might be quite limited. You want to get your name and your business out there but most small businesses would struggle to finance a marketing/advertising campaign when they first get going. Also if you’ve started up in business and you have only a small amount of capital you don’t want to blow it all at once.
What’s the best website route to go down if any?
Nowadays there are dozens and dozens of options for creating websites and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. A lot of companies start out operating with just social media pages but I would advise getting your website set up as early as possible as it takes time to build ranking and traffic. When I started in business back in 2011, website’s were expensive. You generally had to invest a fair bit with a designer or have a lot of know how yourself. Saying that, I set up my first website on WordPress myself and that’s a very viable option for most people today. They have pay monthly options and will help you through most of it or you can do it yourself and keep costs to a minimum, usually just the cost of a theme.
It takes time for a website to get ranked on Google and start getting traffic
Your website doesn’t just get “out there” the minute it goes live sadly, that used to be the case in the early days of website, because there were fewer websites. These days in most industry areas the competition is massive so you actually have to market it. That’s really what SEO is, marketing your website. Once of the most important criteria for a website to rank well with Google is longevity. A long established website will do better than a new one generally, unless everything is thrown at a new website in terms of SEO etc, but even then it will have a period where Google will rank it poorly because it’s new. So, the earlier you get your website going the better.
Monthly payment versus upfront payment for a website
It may seem the cheapest option to go for the monthly payments though a company who will design your site and create it for you. Remember that this often includes only the most basic SEO if any, and they may not even create a site map, set up analytics and some other essentials. But if you add up the monthly costs, which often include add-ons for emails, SEO and security, you could find yourself paying a massive amount more over five years, than you would have done getting a designer/developer to do it for you with everything you need. So make sure you research costs well and don’t just think of it as a monthly payment but what it will cost you over two or three years and what you’d pay for a properly designed website on WordPress or a similar platform. Often the latter works out much much cheaper and gives you more flexibility. As you’ll have a website for a long time £25 a month over 10 years could work out quite expensive!
A website doesn’t have to be expensive
It doesn’t have to be expensive to set up a website and remember a website is always a work in progress. Google works on the premise that a site should be constantly updated to stay up there in the rankings so you can start with something really quite basic and then keep improving it until it’s perfect. This way you improve your ranking and keep Google looking your way at the same time.
Think SEO WHEN you build your website not AFTER!
Before you consider a website you should think very carefully about how you are going to set it up in terms of copy and keywords, title , meta and alt tags and of course who you are going to promote your products to. This is what SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is all about. It’s simply making your site visible to the search engines so customers can find you. Most people create the website and think about this after, which is really missing a massive trick as nobody is going to find the website until the SEO is at least half decent.
Website designers rarely do the SEO for you, it’s not their field
Some designers when commissioned to create a website will take this into consideration and have a reasonable amount of knowledge about it, but don’t assume they all do when you commission someone to design a website for you. The amount of times I ask a client if they have had their site optimised and they say “Oh I’m sure the guy that designed it would have done that”. A web designer is more often than not a web designer and only does the basics of SEO. Some offer SEO as a subsidiary service or as part of the package but you do need to check whether you are getting this and not just assume that you are. If it’s not included in the service then you need to consult an SEO expert preferably before you get your website designed and they can work in conjunction with your designer.
Would you print leaflets and expect them to deliver themselves
Setting up a website without a thought for SEO is a bit like printing a pile of leaflets and leaving them on your sideboard. Nobody is really going to see your website any more than they will see your leaflets.
You do have to market a website and SEO is the most effective way of marketing your website.
Even if you can’t afford an all singing and dancing beautifully designed website, you could create something yourself on a platform like WordPress (very SEO friendly and easy to use) and do a crash course on Yoast and learn the essentials for optimisation. Then later when you’ve got a bit of money, you can get advice from a developer on improving the look/function and and SEO provider on how to make the most of the SEO. of course it’s a bit different if you’re looking at an Ecommerce site but that’s another story.
We work with a lot of small businesses who have done this and are very happy to polish up a website for small businesses and even to do it over a period of time so as to stagger the costs.
If you require further information on web design or SEO for new or existing business then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.