Recently I've been hearing a lot of stories about website woes. The world of websites is still a scary place for a lot of people, especially small business people. Many have bravely taken the plunge and tried in vain to navigate their way through the murky waters of hosting, domain names, registration, SEO and going online. Unfortunately some have fallen victim to a few ruthless and greedy web developers out there and in the process have ended up with a website that they can't control, don't understand and are paying ridiculous on-going fees for, well - I'm not sure what for!
Think of your website as you would your car. Imagine if your car registration and insurance was managed by your mechanic, and when it came time to renew, he charged you an extra fee for registering and insuring your car, plus a monthly fee to file your paperwork in his office. You can manage to put the fuel in regularly and wash your car, keep the oil and water and tyres all healthy, but then when you need specialist work done, you pay your mechanic even more on top of his monthly fee... does this make sense? Why would you do that when it's so easy to pay and file those bills yourself? It's the same with a website and domain name...
With the advent of free web development programs like WordPress, there's no longer any reason to be paying for anything other than hosting and the occasional complicated update or amendment that needs to be done by someone who specialises in that area. Don't be mislead, I am a firm believer in engaging a professional and experienced person for the job, whatever that may be, because we can't all be good at everything. Outsourcing is awesome, and I'm the first to put my hand up and tell you that I do have a web guy to look after the tricky bits that I don't have the time or patience for. He's honest, trustworthy and doesn't charge me an arm and a leg to do stuff.
When I first wanted a website, and even though I'd previously built and designed websites as part of my job, I knew that it wasn't my strength and I knew that building websites was one thing that caused me grief and stress. So I engaged a web developer to do it for me. I designed my site, because I love doing that and that's what I do, then I gave the artwork to the web people and they made it all go live. Brilliant! It cost me a decent amount to set it up but I'd decided to do it properly and make sure it was exactly what I wanted. I was paying $69 per month for hosting and small changes when needed, but I could add, change and edit most of it myself. Perfect, but it was still costing me $69 per month...
Then I started to hear about WordPress. Friends and colleagues told me that I could create my own site easily with WordPress for nothing! Wow! And it's true, yes it is, but I still didn't want to spend my time building my site. So I did some research, talked to lots of people who had WordPress sites, and found a brilliant web developer who was willing to take me on. We now work together and make beautiful websites for our clients from design all the way through to making it live online.
Here are some of the benefits of a WordPress site:
- No monthly fees, it's free!
- No-one has a hold over you, not even a web developer if you engaged one. Because WordPress is free, you have complete control. It's yours forever.
- You can engage anyone you choose to do development work on your site, it doesn't have to be the same person that you started with.
- You can choose to build the entire site yourself if you want to. Lots of people build and manage their own site completely and are very good at it. If that's something that you want to do, go for it!
- You can update, add, move, change, remove and delete any pages, text, images, or plug-ins that you want, anytime.
- It's easy to connect your facebook and twitter accounts to your website as well as setting up a newsletter facility.
- You get to choose who you host your site with. You do need to pay for this on a monthly basis, however it can be as little as $10 per month. Think of hosting as renting space on the internet for your site (like a shop space, but much cheaper).
- When in doubt there are millions of help sources for WordPress, through the WordPress community, google and youtube. There's always an answer, you just have to ask!
Don't get your web developer to buy your domain name, do that yourself. Like registering your car, you know you own it and you can renew it when it falls due again without taking the risk that it might be in someone else's name. You'll need an ABN if you want a domain name ending in com.au, otherwise registration is easy.
So, if you're paying a web developer too much, do some research and look at WordPress. It's getting better every day and there are thousands of people out there who love to develop widgets and plug-ins to use and they're all fr*e! Sharing the love!
If you'd like some simple steps to help you buy your domain name, register your business name and plan your website, subscribe today and receive my little e-book, it's fr*e too!
Have you had a website experience that you'd like to share? Please leave your comments below and have a happy day!