Saturday, April 21, 2007

How to Put Up Your Business' Website at Almost No Cost

In the last 6 years I have been in the online advertising industry I always get asked, “How much does it cost to put your business online?”

Back in the late 90s very few businesses put up websites. The main contention about going online was cost, but aside from that the complexities - the too techie-lingo, the system requirements threw off business owners. Exporters/manufacturers back then were hesitant to put photos of their products online because they were scared that their designs would get plagiarized. All of these issues still holds true today.

Before I went to work full time for the internet industry my Mom and I dabbled in exporting furniture and houseware. My Dad, ever the forward thinker, insisted on putting up a website. We didn’t have the budget to outsource it, so I was challenged to put one up for free. My IT friends all told me that there was a way to do this. Do the web pages myself and then upload it in a free webhost. I then bought a copy of Dreamweaver and bugged one of my friends to teach me how to navigate it. He was such a sweetie coz I managed to upload our company’s website in no time. That was in 1999. Eighty percent of our revenues came from online inquiries. And guess what, the only cost to us was the monthly charges of Philonline.

Things were much more difficult to do 8 years ago. And I could say that it’s now very, very easy to put your business online today.

So how does one do it? (Disclaimer: I’m no web designer/developer, this is a do-it-yourself guide for non-techie business owners/freelancers).

(1) Determine the content of your website.

List down all the things you want to be found in your website. (Yes, include even the mundane things). Just list everything first, you can always cut down later.

Then organize. Think outline. Remember when your English teacher used to force you to do outlines before you start on your paper? It works the same way.

And then, of course, determine where you’re going to get all those content from within your company. List down the stuff you need to write and the photos/graphics you need. And since you’re doing it yourself. Keep it simple coz you’re going to be the writer as well.

Congratulations! In techie-lingo you have just completed your website’s content architecture.

(2) Data gathering and writing comes next.

Now don’t get unfazed, this is just the part wherein you write out the outline. Just make it short but informative.

At this point you have to keep in mind how everything ties up together. Your message has to have one voice and remember consistency is important in branding. (And branding’s another matter entirely, I’ll write about this later).

When your done writing out your content, congratulations! You are now a certified copy-writer.

(3) Design your website.

Knowing the information you want to share in your website is key. At this point you have to define how you want your website to look.

Get a pen and paper and do some doodling. You don’t really need to draw it out. It’s just like drawing on paper how you’re going to put furniture in an empty room. Just boxes and lines to see how things will flow in your website.

Case in point. Keep in simple. Remember, you are doing this yourself.

And it’s best to surf and check out other websites so you’ll have an idea how you want things to look. Keep in mind when designing your website that it should be easy for your readers to navigate your site. That’s called usability in techie-lingo.

(4) Develop your website.

Gulp! How does one do this?

I said earlier that it’s very easy nowadays to put your business online. All you need now is your domain name. Domain Name is your company’s internet address. A lot of search engine optimizers say that you should use a descriptive domain name. Meaning something that best describers your company’s products and services. If you’re selling pancakes, then www.pancakes.com is best. If you’re selling condominiums, then name it condominium.com. A friend of mind shared the other day that it worked well for her to put “Filipino” or “Philippines” in her domain name.

Purchase your domain name online or go and buy it from a web hosting company. You can easily search for them through Google.

When you already have a domain name, go and get the only thing you need now – free usage of Google Apps for your Domain.

(5) Publish your website and then generate immediate traffic by advertising online through Google Adwords.

6 comments:

  1. very good article... keep this up. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks a lot for the information. It helped a lot!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. By the way check this company MDFI. Their stock is set to increase because of their association with Apple iphone and Complete Care Medical. Find more about this company and stock http://www.growurmoney.com/medefile/

    ReplyDelete
  4. pls. check out my website at http://www.paytsaubai.com its a 2nd month old one...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very helpful information! Thanks a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  6. thanks a lot. good article.

    ReplyDelete