web designers http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5922/all en-US Building A Business Website Is Cheaper And Easier Than Ever http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-ever <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-ever" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-eas...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-ever" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004591261Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20111018/FREE/111019886/google-goes-searching-for-michigan-small-businesses">recent study</a>, 63 percent of small businesses don't have a website. If yours is one of them, you're missing out on one of the easiest, cheapest, and most effective ways to expand your business and increase your income.</p> <p>I built my first business <a target="_blank" href="http://web.archive.org/web/19980710071601/http:/www.barnstorming.com/">website in 1997</a>. Over the next 10 years, it went from generating a few hundred dollars a month to hundreds of thousands a year. I also built a website to sell a database of venture capital sources &mdash; a companion site to a book I co-authored on the topic. That site produced $40,000 a year in sales with no action required on my part except to answer an occasional email.</p> <p><strong>It's Not As Difficult or As Expensive As You May Think</strong></p> <p>You may be more familiar with traditional Yellow Pages or newspaper marketing, and consider an online presence a huge unknown. Or perhaps you recognize the value of a website but worry it will be too expensive or too hard to maintain?</p> <p>Twenty years after the Internet opened for business, what works and what doesn't is no longer a mystery. And the skills and technology required to develop a site are widely available and cost less than you might think.</p> <p><strong>What Does it Take to Get Online?</strong></p> <p>One-stop shops, such as <a target="_blank" href="http://bordesdesign.com/index.html">Bordes Design</a>, can quickly set you up to do business online. Or you can do it yourself if you have the time and skill. Either way, you need a few basics.</p> <p><b>1. A Web Address or URL</b></p> <p>Just as every company has a name, every website has a domain name &mdash; a web address or URL. Usually your URL will be the same as your company name, or a variation, but you might decide to use something descriptive for your online presence. Or you might discover your name is already in use by someone else and have to find another.</p> <p>Wile E. Coyote's favorite mail order supplier, Acme Corporation, might want to use something more descriptive such as jetpoweredrollerskates.com. On the other hand, Acme is so famous anyone looking for dehydrated boulders or earthquake pills would think first of acme.com so they might do best to stick with that. Or they could have both and make one forward to the other.</p> <p>Whatever you do, use a name that ends with .com. If you use something like wizbang.<i>biz</i>, people will assume you're wizbang.<i>com</i> and end up at your competitor's site most of the time. You can check on the availability of a URL at places like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp">Network Solutions</a>.</p> <p><b>2. A Web Host or ISP</b></p> <p>The collection of programs, files, and pictures that are used to create your website have to &quot;live&quot; in a computer someplace. That means once you have a URL you need an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Such companies have rooms full of computers, called server farms, where they host websites.</p> <p>These days ISPs are eager to find anything that will differentiate themselves from their competition. So most offer a web address registration service along with web hosting, and a surprising array of free software to help you make your site a success.</p> <p>While all that's convenient, what you want in a web host is reliability and good customer support. It can be hugely in expensive If your server goes down, say, right in the middle of holiday buying rush and you can't reach anyone to fix it.</p> <p><b>3. A Website</b></p> <p>If you know something about computers and enjoy tinkering, you can build a website on your own. <a target="_blank" href="http://wordpress.org/">Wordpress</a>, for example, can be installed by your ISP for free and then you simply configure the site using the built in templates. Or you could develop a site from scratch with a program such as <a target="_blank" href="http://www.adobe.com/products/dreamweaver.html">DreamWeaver</a> from Adobe.</p> <p>If you don't have the computer knowledge, the inclination, or the time to build a site yourself, you can hire a developer to do it for you. We did this when we recently renovated our web sites. But buyer beware. Website development is a combination of art and science. There are good artists and there are bad ones. There are good computer scientists and there are bad ones. And there are outright scammers who are neither artists or scientists, just thieves.</p> <p>One way to find someone to develop a site for you is to use a freelancer from <a target="_blank" href="http://upwork.com/">upwork.com</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://vworker.com/">vworker.com</a>, or similar sites. You describe what you want, people bid on the job, and you <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/10-tips-for-landing-the-right-freelancer-1">select the provider you feel will do the best job</a> for you at the right price.</p> <p>The best part of using one of the freelance job boards is you can see how other people have graded the work of the providers, so you aren&rsquo;t hiring the proverbial pig in a poke. Plus the job boards help you properly document the contractor relationship and ensure that you get what you pay for.</p> <p><b>4. Content</b></p> <p>A website can be made up of static pages with fixed content that you rarely change. It can be blog that continually offers new content. Or it can be both.</p> <p>If you have a good website structure to begin with, keeping your website fresh and making minor changes is easy. So, unlike Yellow Pages ads or brochures, you can change product offerings, phone numbers, special offers, and other content as frequently as you like.</p> <p>Obviously, a website developer won&rsquo;t know anything about your business, your brand, your message, or your personal preferences, so you&rsquo;ll have to provide that. However, you can use print ads, brochures, speeches, and even personal photographs to give them what they need.</p> <p><strong>OK Already, How Much and How Long?</strong></p> <p>We recently had two sites built for us by <a target="_blank" href="https://www.elance.com/s/hivista/">HivistaSoft</a> through Upwork.com: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.google.com/ig?hl=en">Undress4Success.com</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://teleworkresearchnetwork.com/">TeleworkResearchNetwork.com</a>. The work cost us $600 for each site, they were up and running in a couple of weeks, and we can easily maintain them ourselves. To host them, we pay $7.95 a month to <a target="_blank" href="http://dreamhost.com/">DreamHost</a> (for as many sites as we care to put online), plus $9.95 a year for each web address.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re computer savvy and decide to got it on your own, sign up for a web address and hosting, install Wordpress, pick a template, and start adding pages, pictures, and blog posts. You can probably be online in a couple hours and fully functioning in a week of spare time. Another of our websites, <a target="_blank" href="http://findingmoneyadvice.com/">FindingMoneyAdvice.com</a>, is an example of a home-built Wordpress site. It doesn&rsquo;t have the glitz of our new sites, but it does have solid content and a built in shopping cart. It took me two days to do it, mostly editing all the text.</p> <p>But keep in mind that having a website is just the first step in creating an online business. If you build it, they won&rsquo;t necessarily come&mdash;there are millions of websites. So marketing your site is important. Here are some tips on how to do that:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/7-deadly-assumptions-of-online-marketing-success-1">7 Deadly Assumptions of Online Marketing Success</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/10-free-tools-that-can-help-your-site-rank-above-the-rest-1">10 Free Tools that Can Help Your Site Rank Above the Rest</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/5-step-process-for-dominating-your-local-search-landscape--1-2">5 Step Process for Dominating Your Local Search Landscape</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/5-search-engine-marketing-trends-that-impact-your-business-1">5 Search Engine Marketing Trends That Impact Your Business</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/3-not-so-obvious-things-your-blog-needs-1">3 Not-So-Obvious Things Your Blog Needs</a></li> </ul> <p>So are you going to build a site? If you aren&rsquo;t, why not? Let us know in comments!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-ever">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business website frugal websites marketing online advertising small business web designers website Sun, 13 Nov 2011 01:11:48 +0000 Tom Harnish 781130 at http://www.wisebread.com Overwhelmed trying to find good help? Three easy steps to qualifying a professional http://www.wisebread.com/overwhelmed-trying-to-find-good-help-three-easy-steps-to-qualifying-a-professional <p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/womanonphone.jpg" alt="woman on phone overwhelmed" title="woman on phone overwhelmed" width="355" height="236" align="top" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">Ever wonder how to make a call to a professional that helps you figure out how the pro does business and get a fair (though not rock-bottom) price while building rapport with your pro and not alienating someone who could help you with quality service (who could save you lots of money and grief in the meantime)?</span><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana"> You may be hiring a building contractor, website designer, childcare provider, or CPA -- this guide gives you a great way to start the qualification process. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">I’ve provided business writing services for over 10 years and fielded lots of inquiries. Here’s a guide to <em>not</em> asking annoying questions but still get the information you need: <span> </span></span><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana"> </span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">1.</span></strong></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">What you might have said before reading this three-easy-steps guide: </span></em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">How much is an XYZ project (e.g., kitchen remodel or website)? </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">What the pro hears: </span></em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">Price is my only concern. I know absolutely nothing about purchasing this service, haven’t bothered to do any research, and you will spend lots of times educating me and selling me on your price.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">What you should say instead (with or without having done research): </span></em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">Can you tell me about your service and your pricing? </span><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana"> </span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">2.</span></strong></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">What you might have said before: </span></em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">This will be an easy project.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">What the pro hears: </span></em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">I want you to do this project right away as you can easily work it in to your schedule because it’s so simple. (Or, I’m high maintenance but I think I’m low maintenance.)</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">What you should say instead: </span></em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">Can I tell you about my project?</span><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana"> </span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">3.</span></strong></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">What you might have said before: </span></em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">I already have a lot done.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">What the pro will hear: </span></em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">Not only will you have to do the work you normally do, you’ll have to fix what I did wrong. Still, I’m expecting a lower price since I’ve saved you time. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">What you should say instead: </span></em><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">Will it help any if I have already done X (selected my cabinets or designed the navigation)?</span><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana"> </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana">Note: If you get irritation instead of cooperation, you haven’t found a pro and need to make another call.</span></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/overwhelmed-trying-to-find-good-help-three-easy-steps-to-qualifying-a-professional">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-moving-scams">How to Avoid Moving Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties">6 Brands With the Best Warranties</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-idea-for-papa-murphy-s-make-the-pizzas-in-order">Great idea for Papa Murphy’s – make the pizzas in order.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/netspend-the-story-of-the-visa-debit-card-we-did-not-apply-for">netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">8 Vile Craigslist Scams to Watch Out For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs contractors estimates hiring professionals quality workmanship web designers Sun, 03 Jun 2007 18:28:16 +0000 Julie Rains 698 at http://www.wisebread.com