Logos! Websites... Banners? Brochures? How does this work, how do I get one of these?

 

Lets start with websites! Almost everyone you know has one. Every business hoping to make a mark in their own world, to promote their business has one, or is at least thinking about it! I'm going to explain the basics in simple layman's terms.

 

Websites: There are three major cost categories involved with owning a website.

 

1. Domain Name - This is the beginning to building any site. What do you want to name your website? What is your business identity? Generally registration of a domain name will cost between $5-$15 per year, and the best/easiest place to reserve it is at www.godaddy.com. They have the simplest format to find out if the name you want is available and what extensions are available with the domain name.

 

.com - Everyone is familiar with this one! Commercial sites -seems like everyone you know has one.

.net - Short for "network" - IT companies, or businesses can use this to designate "network" sites.

.info - Used to designate an informational site.

.org - Short for "organization" and often used by non-profits.

.biz - For small businesses - and has the most available names right now.

.edu - Generally reserved for schools/colleges, educational institutions.

.us - For USA websites. .ca is Canadian, .de is German, and so on, also has widely available names.

.mobi - Used for mobile phone websites,formatted specifically for cell phones.

 

Use Godaddy's "type a name in" feature and it will tell you if it's available. If it's not, it will make suggestions! MY suggestion? Once you find a name you like, RESERVE IT. You can reserve the registration for various time periods, from 1 year to 5 years or more, and have it set to automatically renew. Even if you don't have a website name, reserving the domain is smart because once it's gone, you'd have to wait for the registrant to release it or hope the owner will sell the name to you. The domain name is then "parked" with a dummy page until a site is built and connected to the domain.

 

2. Website Hosting - This is the fee for a server to host your website. The price to host a site will vary but often ranges between $5-$25 per month for basic hosting depending on the server and what features are available. As your site becomes more complex, additional features required (such as secure pages for shopping, personal information submitted (FORMS), databases, credit card paypment, merchant accoun5s, etc.), the hosting cost will go up.

 

Godaddy has very basic hosting at $5 per, but you can expect to do ALL site maintenance yourself. If you know how, great! If not, hosting with a designer/company can help you navigate features that you want such as setting it up, maintaining email addresses, newsletters, name gathering, sign-ups, etc. would be to your benefit.

 

3. Designing Your Website - This is the biggest variable cost. Some website hosts can provide sites for you, and are template driven. This is probably the easiest (?), and cheapest way to get started. Basically you fill in the blanks. Type in your information, upload your photos and voila! Web presence! The downside?

 

Very little flexibility and cookie cutter. You're limited by their design/colors/layouts that are offered. It's a good way to get started, but when you want to change the layout, add new items, want to create something unique? More people find themselves quite hampered by the template limitations.

 

A website designer can work with you to set up a site using colors, layouts, designs, photos, etc. to create a unique identity for your business. Costs can vary based on the size of your site, it's complexity, whether it's an e-commerce site that needs secure pages to protect personal and financial information. Are you using data collection through forms? How sensitive is the information you are collecting? An email is not considered highly sensitive but a social security number IS!

 

Static IP addresses are needed to create secure pages. Since you are, in essence, reserving an address which no other company can use (and not sharing bandwidth), there are additional costs involved with creating secure pages. If you ever wondered what http/https meant, "HTTP" means "hypertext protocol", the "S" means that it's SECURE, and THAT also is the clue that tells you that your information is protected. Always look for the "S" and a lock (usually at the bottom right of a page) before submitting sensitive information.

 

So what does it cost? And the answer? I don't know, not until I have a onversation with you to determine what your needs are, your wish list, what you are trying to accomplish.

 

Do you want to have a website that will win design awards or one to make money with? There is a difference between the two! My goal is to make your site attractive and efficient to meet your needs. What helps before you meet with anyone to talk about a website is to figure out what your and/or your business needs are.

 

 

Emailmeform - A great, easy to use and customizable form generator! I found this site and was impressed enough to mention it here.

 

 

Graphic Design: So you'd like a new business card, banner, logo, posters, whatever can be printed or emailed... but what do I need to know and do first?