Monday, March 23, 2009

The Economy and Your Website

Do you have a small business? Are you trying to start a business? Well in this current economy, the whole proposition can be made easier by making sure you have a website -- one that establishes your presence on the web, one that can be found in the search engines.

Compared to what other advertising and marketing costs, websites can be remarkably cheap. For example, I've been trying to come up with packages for people who are truly struggling to find a way to get online with a minimal amount of money -- and one of the cheapest ones I could come up with is my E-Business Card site, a concept I came up with about 10 years ago while building up the city website of a small coastal town.

The E-Business Card site is $199 to set up and $4 a month. It's a single-page site, which features your basic services, contact information, logo and 2-3 pictures of product or store. The cost includes your domain for the first year, and every year after that, your domain is just $15 per year.

Compare that to advertising in your local paper. The last time I tried to place an ad in the local paper, they wanted to charge me $299 a MONTH.

So if you're looking for a way to get exposure quickly and inexpensively, the E-Business Card site is the way to go.

Now, we all know everyone's cutting corners and looking to trim costs. Most people that know me, even just a little, know I charge some of the lowest fees in the business. They generally appreciate that little aspect of me that pretty much assures I'll never get rich.

When a website is built, there is always the initial build -- the setup fee. This is the most expenisve part of your website, but at WitzEnd Consulting we try to make this easier to handle in this uncertain economy. You need just 50% down to start the site and the remainder in 30 days, billed easily to your credit card.

Here it is, in a nutshell: the average custom website costs anywhere from $1500 to $3000, depending on content. (we're assuming no "membership sites", anything with databases, flash, etc). A template site, about half that. (and you update it yourself)

The hosting of the website is the second cheapest part of the whole website. (only the domain itself is cheaper). The economy hosting at WitzEnd Consulting is $90 a year (we will let you know when estimating your site, what type of hosting you will need).

Recurring costs for a website are always a) hosting, b) domain renewal, and c) updates done by your web designer. Even with a template site, where the client does the majority of the updates themselves, a web designer can help you out by making some of the "hard stuff" like emailable forms and flash enhancements. You control how much you spend; any good web designer will tell you in advance what the charge would be and wait for you to approve the charge before the work is done.

Moral of the story; the build of the site is your biggest investment. Talk to your web designer if you have questions or need help. If we don't know you're confused or are having trouble updating, we can't help you. And we want your website to be a positive experience.

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