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  • FIRST POST
    • Simon.G
    • By Simon.G 26th Feb 18, 6:53 PM
    • 54Posts
    • 8Thanks
    Simon.G
    Business Websites...
    • #1
    • 26th Feb 18, 6:53 PM
    Business Websites... 26th Feb 18 at 6:53 PM
    Business websites are more of a necessity today than they have ever been. With more and more people purchasing goods and services online it makes crucial business sense to make sure that a website for your business is a major part of your overall marketing plan.

    When looking at options however, there are only two real solutions to choose from. You can either hire a "professional" to create your website for you, or you can go down the DIY route and create it yourself.

    There are pro's and cons of both solutions of course, the decision on which route to take usually coming down to the budget at your disposal.

    So, with this in mind...

    What has been your experience with creating a website for your business and what problems have you faced?

    If you have already have a business website, what would you do differently if you could start over?

    And finally, what have you learned through either process?

    I am looking at having a website created and I am looking to gain knowledge of the pitfalls of both options so any information you can give me will be appreciated.
Page 1
    • fishybusiness
    • By fishybusiness 26th Feb 18, 10:00 PM
    • 1,197 Posts
    • 747 Thanks
    fishybusiness
    • #2
    • 26th Feb 18, 10:00 PM
    • #2
    • 26th Feb 18, 10:00 PM
    Problems

    1) Having enough insight when starting a business to know how a website should look.

    2) Choosing a suitable platform, finding reasons to spend more than the minimum, so justifying costs when funds are tight.

    3) Finding someone to trust to build it exactly as I want.

    Then realising a web designers concept of what I wanted was different to mine.

    What have a learned?

    Cheap websites seem to pull in clients looking for bargains.

    Nothing wrong with that except I wanted to earn more money than the enquiries were willing to pay.

    Be prepared to develop and change a website as a business develops - perhaps should be part of a business plan.

    Design your website to appeal directly to your target market - don't try to cover all bases.

    Re DIY websites, unless business owner is really good at web design, colour schemes and market knowledge, plus has time on their hands, give it a miss, concentrate on core business and pay a pro to build it.
    • girllikeme1
    • By girllikeme1 28th Feb 18, 9:45 AM
    • 114 Posts
    • 29 Thanks
    girllikeme1
    • #3
    • 28th Feb 18, 9:45 AM
    • #3
    • 28th Feb 18, 9:45 AM
    I have used the Mr Site takeaway package. I am just starting out and therefore trying to reduce my initial costs. When things take off I will get it done professionally but for now what I have works as a cost-effective website which does what it says on the tin.
    • Simon.G
    • By Simon.G 28th Feb 18, 10:38 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    Simon.G
    • #4
    • 28th Feb 18, 10:38 AM
    • #4
    • 28th Feb 18, 10:38 AM
    Thanks fishybusiness - exactly the type of response that I was looking for.

    Girllikeme1 - Can I ask if you got any advice before you created your site, what you saw as your options and why you eventually went with Mr Site?

    Also, can I ask what the purpose of your site is and whether you feel that the Mr Site package meets that purpose?
    • Percy1983
    • By Percy1983 8th Mar 18, 12:55 PM
    • 4,973 Posts
    • 7,820 Thanks
    Percy1983
    • #5
    • 8th Mar 18, 12:55 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Mar 18, 12:55 PM
    There is an interesting point as well most of the 'pros' are using exactly what you could do (usually wordpress and a nice theme).

    If you do plan to self build then I would avoid the site building monthly fee outfits (1and1, squarespace etc) as the costs are massive, I bought out another business and they had a site with square space which was costing more than my other 3 sites put together, so I built a new one and added it to my existing host at no additional cost.

    The main work is in the seo which can be difficult but not impossible to get right, to which the pros 'can' be better on this front.

    In short I would say find a hosting package and register you doamin with a different company, install wordpress and get building.
    Have my first business premises (+4th business) 01/11/2017
    Quit day job to run 3 businesses 08/02/2017
    Started third business 25/06/2016
    Son born 13/09/2015
    Started a second business 03/08/2013
    Officially the owner of my own business since 13/01/2012
    • FatVonD
    • By FatVonD 9th Mar 18, 6:23 AM
    • 5,119 Posts
    • 20,652 Thanks
    FatVonD
    • #6
    • 9th Mar 18, 6:23 AM
    • #6
    • 9th Mar 18, 6:23 AM
    I've used 1and1 in the past and it wasn't that easy to use (as a non techy person, even though I am a print designer), I wouldn't use them again.

    I've just built my current site using Wix which was a stroll in the park by comparison and they have some lovely templates.
    Make £25 a day in April £0/£750 (March £584, February £602, January £883.66)

    December £361.54, November £322.28, October £288.52, September £374.30, August £223.95, July £71.45, June £251.22, May£119.33, April £236.24, March £106.74, Feb £40.99, Jan £98.54) Total for 2017 - £2,495.10
    • fishybusiness
    • By fishybusiness 9th Mar 18, 8:53 AM
    • 1,197 Posts
    • 747 Thanks
    fishybusiness
    • #7
    • 9th Mar 18, 8:53 AM
    • #7
    • 9th Mar 18, 8:53 AM
    There is an interesting point as well most of the 'pros' are using exactly what you could do (usually wordpress and a nice theme).

    If you do plan to self build then I would avoid the site building monthly fee outfits (1and1, squarespace etc) as the costs are massive, I bought out another business and they had a site with square space which was costing more than my other 3 sites put together, so I built a new one and added it to my existing host at no additional cost.

    The main work is in the seo which can be difficult but not impossible to get right, to which the pros 'can' be better on this front.

    In short I would say find a hosting package and register you doamin with a different company, install wordpress and get building.
    It is interesting you say this, many a small business run on the likes of Wix etc. The biggest downside can be lack of real SEO, not the costs.

    "So I built a new one" isn't everyone's cup of tea, in fact probably most people would't do that.

    When you talk about the costs being massive, what is that in relation to? Even a couple of hundred pound a year is small money if your website is your shop window. Wordpress has become the standard, it is cheap, although you easily pay a grand for a really good web design package so it covers all bases and budgets.

    I moved ours from Wordpress to Squarespace just over a year ago and have benefitted from picking up better paying clients - that was the intention.

    Also, don't forget many of the site builder type setups allow easy addition of photo's, editing of words and style, or maybe a page add - although Wordpress can be fairly easy at a basic level, a non tech will find it more difficult and more likely to introduce errors.

    I'm saying there is a place for sitebuilders, don't knock them off their perch totally.
    • Percy1983
    • By Percy1983 9th Mar 18, 11:10 AM
    • 4,973 Posts
    • 7,820 Thanks
    Percy1983
    • #8
    • 9th Mar 18, 11:10 AM
    • #8
    • 9th Mar 18, 11:10 AM
    I wouldn't recommend wix for most things but have seen some good results.

    The sums just don' make sense for any long term investment.

    So what I would recommend is find a good host this can vary from £3.60 to £12.00 a month. Squarespace will cost £12.00 to £18.00 for similar performance.

    From there I would recommend looking at X theme (others affer similar functions) which is a one off payment of $49.00, this will give you an easy to use builder which is more powerful and flexible than squarespace but with a similar drag/drop building method.

    So costs after one year wordpress is costing £78-£179 where squarespace is £144-£216

    2 years £121-£323 to £288-£432
    3 years £165-£467 to £432-£648

    You can probably guess the gap will get wider the longer you stay.

    Now the important thing I would say is the site I replaced is actually better than the squarespace account it replaced, I mean this in usability/functionality/looks and even the previous owner agrees (So does google I will add).

    I would say squarespace has an advantage over the standard wordpress builder, but for a small outlay you can add so much functionality where squarespace is so limited.

    I will admit there is still a little more work to find a host, install wordpress (usually one click) and then install and activate X theme which can seem a little daunting to its not hard.

    As mentioned many pro designers would take a similar route where non would use squarespace which to me says a lot.
    Have my first business premises (+4th business) 01/11/2017
    Quit day job to run 3 businesses 08/02/2017
    Started third business 25/06/2016
    Son born 13/09/2015
    Started a second business 03/08/2013
    Officially the owner of my own business since 13/01/2012
    • simonjstone
    • By simonjstone 14th Mar 18, 4:30 PM
    • 130 Posts
    • 81 Thanks
    simonjstone
    • #9
    • 14th Mar 18, 4:30 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Mar 18, 4:30 PM
    So i built my own (or am currently building)
    Its hard work but I am enjoying it. interiorhack.com
    Its wordpress and woocommerce
    the hardest bit is linking it in with google analytics/search console/ adwords.
    But the absolute killer was making a decision on keywords
    • girllikeme1
    • By girllikeme1 24th Apr 18, 12:00 PM
    • 114 Posts
    • 29 Thanks
    girllikeme1
    Thanks fishybusiness - exactly the type of response that I was looking for.

    Girllikeme1 - Can I ask if you got any advice before you created your site, what you saw as your options and why you eventually went with Mr Site?

    Also, can I ask what the purpose of your site is and whether you feel that the Mr Site package meets that purpose?
    Originally posted by Simon.G
    Simon, I saw my options as (1) pay for someone else to create my website, or (2) use a package like this to create my own. I asked around on forums and Mr Site was recommended. The cost was low, and as I hadn't yet even started working let alone invoicing, I did not want to invest hundreds of pounds in having a site made for me.

    There are a few things I dislike about Mr Site. I am struggling to edit anything on the blog page. Yes I have a blog, but cannot add share/like buttons, and comments are anonymous!

    For the most part though it does what I need.
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    • timbstoke
    • By timbstoke 27th Apr 18, 1:28 PM
    • 949 Posts
    • 1,221 Thanks
    timbstoke
    It really depends what you want from your website - there's no point having one out of some belief that it's a "necessity" without knowing what you're actually getting back from it, and what you're going to do with it will dictate the approach you need to take.

    For example, if it's just going to be a single page "This is our company, here's how to get in touch" that rarely gets updated, I'd suggest spending a couple of hours playing with Wix one evening, and if you can't get a result you're happy with, getting a professional to create one is probably worth the money. On the other hand, if you're going to be constantly making changes, you'll need an approach that accommodates that - probably a Wordpress installation - in which case you'd likely want to involve a professional for the design at least.

    Of course, if you don't have a website right now, you're not really risking much by starting out cheap. There's nothing to stop you setting up a basic Wix site to start with, then getting a professional in when you understand your needs better. There's not much point paying out for a website that gets updated 5 times a week if you're the only one who ever reads it.
    • scaredofdebt
    • By scaredofdebt 27th Apr 18, 1:45 PM
    • 1,010 Posts
    • 434 Thanks
    scaredofdebt
    If it's a really simple site you need, ie one pager then people will do this for very small amounts on gig websites, I've seen people willing to do this for a fiver. Obviously have a look at their work before going ahead, check ongoing costs, who owns the site, hosting etc.
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    • nonstopsigns
    • By nonstopsigns 27th Apr 18, 11:11 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    nonstopsigns
    Using Wix, Square Space, or Shopify are the easiest in my opinion.
    • BooJewels
    • By BooJewels 28th Apr 18, 12:12 AM
    • 278 Posts
    • 207 Thanks
    BooJewels
    There are web sites and there are web sites. Do you want a single contact page so that people can find you, or are you selling on-line or publishing regular content - or one of many other formats of site. It also depends on your own personal competence and confidence with such issues. Each business will have a unique set of circumstances, so there's no one simple answer.

    I sell on-line and have a blog and gallery areas too. I'm reasonably confident in tinkering, so have done much of the work myself. I have a shopping cart for which I used one of the pre-made carts (free through my web host). As I recently upgraded to a new version and my site had got quite large, I did pay for the developer to migrate it over and make some mods I wanted and did the rest of the styling work myself, based on a free skin and the addition of several free and commercial mods.

    It's been a lot of work, but I actually enjoy doing it (I did web design commercially in the early days when it was much simpler, so I've comfortable with HTML, style sheets and tweaking code a little), plus I don't have the funds to pay a professional for more than the minimal I couldn't do myself.

    As others have mentioned, I've done sites for clients that want to update their own content, using Wordpress with a unique skin for their corporate look. For simple 'what we do and where to find us' business sites, it's a very easy format to work with and there are lots of add-ons for functionality like contact forms, maps etc. I don't have any experience of any of the site builder packages.
    • rhysadams
    • By rhysadams 1st May 18, 12:48 PM
    • 222 Posts
    • 56 Thanks
    rhysadams
    I used to use the online templates from Wix and another site. Where for me updating the site was easy and it looked good, it never worked googlewise.

    I ended up getting a local web developer to build me a custom template on wordpress with a support package at the side of it. I did everything I could myself and where I got stuck, I could make the phone calls.

    Since I have had a 'proper' website, its done know end of good in terms of Google and SEO.
    • deskhelp
    • By deskhelp 15th May 18, 11:04 AM
    • 60 Posts
    • 44 Thanks
    deskhelp
    If you decide wordpress then themeforest is good option for looking out for perfect theme and later you can decide on hosting part.
    • bikerchris
    • By bikerchris 15th May 18, 1:41 PM
    • 153 Posts
    • 106 Thanks
    bikerchris
    I have a business website which I made myself when I started out Self-Employed. I had the benefit of time (had redundancy pay to cover bills) and in a previous life I did web design (when Wordpress, etc. were in their infancy).

    Problems experienced? None really, just the boredom of fulfilling the SEO requirements.

    What I would do differently? More focus on mobile friendly, but at the time it didn't matter, whereas now SEO is affected by a non-friendly design.

    What have I learned? Good website design is dull, like it's always been!

    First thoughts should be:

    Know what it's supposed to do for you. I.e. Is it supposed to draw business or just something for existing contacts to look at.

    Based on the above, focus on what's important and balance the pretty/functional/SEO requirements.

    I can offer more, but many commenters have really good advice.

    Good luck!
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