Why have many a client come to me after going down the 'free' website route?
Here are some of the reasons I have heard:
- They realised that the annual fees they were being charged were over the top and that they should not be paying more than €40 hosting plus €7 for their .com or €27 for the .ie URL, per annum.
- Their website was not being found by the search engines and what's the point of that?
- The functionality on offer for the free version was so basic that they could not portray their products or services effectively.
- They could not grow the website to reflect what was happening offline in the company.
- The free period was only for one year and the after-sales service was non-existant.
- Their website was 'down' a lot of the time or took forever to load.
- The email package included was very limiting.
- They realised that a well designed site has the means to grow with the company and when it is found by search engines, for each service or product, it pays for itself many times over.
- Many of the free pieces of functionality on offer, like Google places registration, are free anyway.
What should you be paying for a website?
- The only annual fees should be for hosting the website and renewing the domain name (the URL, e.g. www.YourWebsiteName.com), as described above.
- You should not be charged to update your website content yourself.
- There is a cost to design and build a website and this fee largely depends on whether you choose a template website design or if you want a bespoke design.
- If you choose to expand the functionality of the website, post build, to include an online shop for eCommerce, to make the website mobile friendly, or simply add more sections or other functionality, this extra work would have fees associated with it and the amount depends on the extent of the work requested.
Can you move your website to a new provider?
- The domain name can certainly be moved, as that is yours, even if the company hosting your free website registered it for you. The existing company must sign this over to you and the new website hosting company will register it for you.
- You will find that the actual website cannot be moved if built using proprietary in-house systems. What you can do is copy all the text you created and make offline documents from them. These can then be used for the new website. You can also save all your photos to your computor and use these on the new website.
What should your experience be like?
I should stop there, as this is the reaction Two Fat Fingers gets from our clients and it should be yours too. Actually, there is one other thing our clients experience:
How do you go about getting a website built for you?
- Look at other websites to help you decide what you want for yours; from what you don't like to the functionality and look and feel that you do like.
- Categorise the areas of information you want displayed - this will be similar to the company structure. It helps identify how big the site will be, whether everything is included and earmarks areas of future growth. Site architecture (the structure of the pages and the content sections) is important for search engine optimisation (SEO) and your website designer should help you organise these effectively for both SEO and usability purposes.
- Think about how you want to integrate your online experience into the realm of social media. This is an important area to get right and depends on the nature of the business. For example, if you have a product, Facebook is a great way to showcase it in the form of images, polls, discussions. Twitter is great for discussions, promotions, vouchers. Youtube is very powerful if you can video the product in action or explain its workings. In addition to choosing which social media to use, how far do you want it integrated into the website?
- Now that you have a base to work from, look for website designers that can give you what you want. Look at working examples of their designs and see what others have to say about them on these same social media sites. Be aware of what you think and feel when moving around their websites. How long does it take you to find what you want on the website? Do you like the online experience?
- Have a meeting to see if you gel with them. Do they really understand what you want? Find out what is included in their design package. Can they give you what you want; now and the for the future of your website?
If you would like to meet with Two Fat Fingers to discuss your website design, please get in touch.