Is having a website for your small business really worth your time, money, and effort? Do people really find website's informative about a business?
Before we answer that question, let's start with an interesting statistic -
'Cost' is said to be the main reason why 30% of small business owners haven't invested in a website. (Source)
That's quite an alarming figure, so before I get started on the cost of creating and managing a website for your small business, let's first talk about the cost of NOT having a website, at all.
To cut a long story short, and without sounding too repetitive, the simple fact of the matter is this -
Without a website, the majority of people will never find your business.
Let me explain. Yep, you've guessed it, here comes that statistic again -
A jaw-dropping 97% of folks searched online for a local business?
Do you know what this means?
It means if you don't have a website for your business, 97% of the folks searching for your products and services online will never find you. Ever!
Think about that for one single moment... 97%.
Do you care at all? I'm sure you do, it's your business and who doesn't care about getting more customers? Unless, of course, you don't want people to find your business online, then carry on regardless.
So, as we discussed, the cost is the main issue why many small business owners haven't taken the time to create a website.
The true cost of creating and managing a small business website broken down
Now, let's get real.
Let's break down the cost of creating, building, and managing a small business website.
We'll cover everything from getting a domain name, seeking out web hosting, designing your site, creating content for your site, doing marketing and promotion, and all the rest of it.
Oh, and for the sake of it, we'll keep costs to an absolute minimum, OK?
Let's get started.
1. Domain name and web hosting
Let's start with the basic essentials. In order to create and manage a website, you'll need to register a domain name and purchase some web hosting.
The domain name is your website's address. For example, www.mywebsite.com
Hosting is basically a little bit of space on the web where your website will live. Think of it as renting some land.
How much does a domain name and web hosting cost?
Well, that depends on where you purchase these services from, in all honesty.
A new domain name should only cost around $15 per year. Website hosting, however, can vary from provider to provider. The cost of hosting can range from just $3 per month up to $50 per month.
For a brand new website, however, you shouldn't have to pay extortionate amounts each month. You will not need much in the way of resources, so paying anything from $5 to $15 per month is good.
Remember, though, seeking out cheap web hosting, although will save you money in the long run, is not a great strategy, especially if you are thinking about taking your business online and growing it.
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2. Building and styling your website
The next phase of creating your small business website is actually putting together the pages of your site, and styling it to match your brand.
For this, I have two suggestions for you -
- You learn how to do it yourself.
- You hire a freelance web designer to help you.
If you go for the DIY option, you save yourself some money, obviously.
If you're building your site with WordPress, you can use a premium theme like Genesis, along with a simple drag-and-drop page builder tool like Thrive Architect to help you design and style your content.
If you go down the route of hiring a freelance web designer, just make sure you do your research first, and that the designer you want to work with, has a clear understanding of your design and business goals.
3. Adding web copy and content to your site
Now, this part shouldn't really cost you any money, really, because, for the most part, you can create and add content to your site yourself.
You can hire a freelance writer, by all means, if you need some well-written copy to help you attract your ideal customers, of course.
Check out my good friend David Hartshorne from Azahar Media for professional web copywriting and content editing services.
If you have chosen to include a blog with your small business website, which I highly recommend, you can write and publish timely blog posts to help educate, motivate, and inspire people about your business, products, and services, and hopefully, turn a few of them into paying customers.
4. Optimizing your website for local search (SEO)
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and again, you shouldn't need to spend a great deal of money doing SEO, because you can pretty much do all of it on your own without paying a single penny.
Trust me, you don't need to be an SEO specialist to learn how to get your customers to find your business in the search engines.
If you have built your website with WordPress, I recommend installing the SEO by Yoast plugin, it's free. You can then make a few tweaks, optimize your content for your targeted keywords and phrases, and you should be good to go.
Getting onto page 1 of Google, however, takes a little bit of time and patience, and depending on who your competitors are in your line of business, you should at least see some results after a few months.
I recommend that you list your business in Google My Business as well to help improve local search rankings.
5. Marketing and promotion
Finally, once your site is up and ready for your customers to see, you can begin doing a little marketing and promotion.
Once again, you do not need to create an entire budget for this. There are a lot of things you can do for free, such as -
- Create a Facebook page for your business.
- Create a YouTube channel and create a few videos about your business.
- Create an Instagram account and start promoting visual content to build a following.
- Collect email addresses using an email marketing too like Thrive Leads and MailChimp.
- Advertise your website and business using Google AdWords, only if you really feel the need to.
It's a wrap!
So, there you have it. As you can see, actually creating and setting up a website doesn't cost a great deal, especially when you can do most of it yourself.
If you start right now, today, within six months, your small business website could be driving you more customers to your business than you could have ever imagined.
Don't let your competitors steal all of your business and leave you with nothing, get your website up and running today.
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