A website is one of the most important assets your company could ever have. It will help your business become accessible on the Internet, reach target customers, do online transactions, and build good and lasting customer relationships.
Nowadays, business owners can have a website completed quickly and affordably. A lot of website developers and designers out there are offering cheap websites (as low as 5,000 Pesos) that can be done in 2 to 3 days. But should you grab those bargain websites for your business?
I understand that for small business owners like us, cost is a serious issue. However, to make a wise business decision, we should not only consider the cost of our investment, but most importantly, the return of investment.
A website is one of the greatest investments you can invest for your business. So before hiring a website developer or starting to build your website, here are some quick tips you should know first.
1. Set a budget that’s right for your business.
Know the exact needs of your business. Are you going to sell products and accept payment online? If yes, then you need to have a highly secured e-commerce website which can cost as high as 100,000 pesos to build. If your business only needs a website to showcase your business on the Internet, then your website development cost may be lower.
Many web developers that offer cheap websites (priced P5,000 – P10,000) only provide websites that have limited pages and low-performance web hosting server. Hence, before jumping into them, ask yourself first, will they give you what your business really needs?
2. Hire a developer you can trust.
Do not entrust the creation and maintenance of your website to someone who will disappear without a trace after getting your money. Before hiring a website developer or designer, do a background check first. Know the people who are behind the website development company. Do not be fooled by how they appear on the Internet or how great their website is. It’s easy to create a professional and attractive website these days.
If possible, meet the developer personally to get to know each other better. Remember that website development is not only a one-week or a one-month engagement. Your website needs someone who will always be there to help you and take care of your website in a longer term.
3. Choose a web hosting that fits your website.
Many developers offer one year web hosting as a free-of-charge add-on to their website development packages. Usually, those packages are only shared hosting with lower performance, reliability and security. They cannot store larger files and accommodate higher volume of traffic. And since they are shared rather than dedicated hosting, they are more vulnerable to security threats.
So if you are expecting your website to receive a lot of traffic and host secure data, ask your developer if the web hosting package they are offering can meet your specific requirements. It’s also important to have a dedicated IP (Internet Protocol) address rather than have an IP that is shared by hundreds of other webmasters, who might be using your IP for spamming and other unethical activities.
4. Get full access and control of your domain name and website.
There’s always a possibility that your developer will leave you without the proper turnover of your digital assets, such as your domain name and web hosting. To prevent losing your precious website and disrupting your business operation, make sure that you have access to your domain name and web hosting (CPANEL) accounts. Thus, always ask the latest username and password to your domain name, web hosting, and other important accounts.
5. Have an admin-friendly CMS.
Today’s websites are already built with CMS or content management systems like WordPress. They are easy to manage that even people who are not tech-savvy can use them. They can also be automatically upgraded to the latest versions unlike other custom-built websites. Hence, if you like to manage your own website and easily update its contents, consider using admin-friendly CMS.
6. Invest in SSL certificate.
SSL (secure sockets layer) is a standard security technology used to manage server authentication and encryption of information between a server and a client. It enables your website to use an “https” rather than a regular “http” URL address. For example, if your domain name is “mycompanyname.com”, an SSL will enable your website to use the secured URL address “https://mycompanyname.com” rather than the usual “http://mycompanyname.com”.
For e-commerce websites, an SSL certificate is a must to validate the authenticity your company and to encrypt sensitive data that customers provide to you, such as their credit card numbers.
For non e-commerce websites, an SSL certificate can also help your business gain more trust since it validates the authenticity of your company. Besides, Google also encourages all websites to use SSL to improve their rankings on search engine results.
There are 3 types of SSL certificates, namely, domain validation, organization validation, and extended validation. If your website is not an e-commerce site, you can choose an SSL to validate your domain name or organization, which are cheaper from an extended validation.
Depending on the SSL brands, the following are the usual price ranges of SSL certificates per year:
• SSL for domain validation P500 – P5,000
• SSL for organization validation P2,000 – P30,000
• SSL for extended validation – P5,000 – P50,000
To learn more about using SSL or HTTPS, read this article from Wikipedia. Don’t forget to discuss it with your website developer.
7. Make it mobile responsive.
Most Internet users today are already accessing websites thru their smart phones and other mobile devices. Hence, having a mobile responsive website is a must for your business. A mobile responsive website will ensure that your website will be friendly to all kinds of users, whether they are using a desktop, tablet or a smart phone.
8. Hire an SEO consultant
Not all web developers know SEO or search engine optimization. And not all who know SEO are SEO specialists. If you wish your website and its pages to have higher visibility and rankings on search engine results pages, make sure that your website structure will be cohesive to your SEO strategy.
An effective SEO strategy ensures that your website will gain more relevant traffic from search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing. It also helps your brand avoid penalties from Google. So before building your website, hire first an SEO consultant to give you some expert’s advice to make sure that your website will be built according to the best SEO practices and standards.
Again, your website is one of the most important digital assets your business could ever have. It is the foundation or the mother ship of your online marketing campaigns. Therefore, do not compromise its quality and usefulness. Go for the website that will not only satisfy your pocket, but most importantly will make your users or customers happy.