Having a website is fundamental to running your business in the digital age. Most consumers shop on their smart phones and look for businesses using social media and search engines such as google. If you want to feature in their search, the first thing you need is a website.

The reality is, getting a website for your business can be a costly process. We are often asked questions we don’t know the answer to and we are left at the mercy of our web designer and the result is that we quite often don’t end up with what we want.

In this blog, I wanted to demystify some of the jargon that goes along with a website to help you make the right decision when you get your website created or re-branded.

Here are some of the fundamentals you will need to get started.

Domain

This is the name that allows your website to be found on the internet. A domain must be purchased and this can be done by yourself or your web designer. It is a good idea to purchase it yourself as you will then own it moving forward. The cost of purchasing your domain varies from $10 – $50 per annum. There are often options to purchase it for 2 or more years and this can be more cost effective. A reputable company to purchase domains through in Australia is www.ventraip.com.au You can also search to see if the domain you want is currently available.

Hosting 

You will need your website to be hosted. This simply means that your website needs somewhere to live on the internet and hosting will place it there for you. The cost of hosting can vary greatly. Again, you can arrange this yourself or your web designer can do it for you. Hosting costs are often bundled in with other monthly costs. The cost can vary according to a number of factors including traffic volume to the website, the size of the website and the functions it needs to perform.

Ongoing costs

Your web designer may also quote you other monthly fees. These can cover some essential services, which can include maintaining your website database. All this means is that if your Content Management System (CMS) or any of the plug-ins (tools on your websites that perform certain functions) on your website are upgraded (and this happens frequently), you are paying a fee to ensure these upgrades have not impacted the functionality of your website ie they do not break links or stop pages functioning.

SEO

Many packages include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO is all about getting your website to rank when people use search engines such as google. This can be an ongoing, monthly type cost and the prices can vary widely. If you choose to purchase this type of product, be sure to ask a lot of questions so that you are certain you understand what you are paying for.

CMS

A Content Management System or CMS is the way in which your website is managed. There are 3 main CMS – these are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. You should ensure your web designer uses one of these 3. If they use their own bespoke CMS, it can be hard for you to make changes yourself and this means, you will need to pay them every time you want to make a change to your website. Using their bespoke CMS also makes it hard for you to use another web designer in the future.

Email

Once you have a domain, you should consider getting your email set up so that people can email your business. Having your email set up correctly allows you to look professional. You can have an email exchange set up that will allow you to not only have multiple email addresses managed in the one location, but also have shared calendars and contacts that can operate from various devices including smart phones and tablets.

The website

When it comes to creating your website, your web designer should work closely with you to understand what your requirements are. They should provide you with a briefing or scope type document that clearly lays out what you are paying for, what extra costs you may incur as well as a timeline for completion. You will often need to sign a contract of engagement as well. Be sure to ask plenty of questions so that you thoroughly understand what you are paying for. Do not be afraid to keep asking until you feel confident.

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