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i’ts ok – you can’t know everything

As a business owner you are a specialist when it comes to your own business. You know your products and services inside and out, you know the industry, your customers and the day to day operations.

When you need a website, to my mind, the web industry takes advantage of what you don’t know. This can cost startups and small businesses a lot of money and wasted time.

I don’t want you to get caught out.

As a specialist in web design for startups and small businesses, you now have an expert on your side. As the owner of previous small businesses myself, I have personally been through the wringer when it comes to building websites.

My goal is to help you cut through the crap, provide you with helpful resources, get you online as affordably as possible and keep your website overheads as low as possible. This will help you avoid a lot of costly pitfalls when you’re ready to build a website for your business.

some costly problems

Below is a list of some of the things that I have experienced personally. Most of them have been issues that I’ve had to untangle for my clients.

  • Buying things you don’t need to
  • Accidentally doubling up on things you do need
  • Not knowing where to buy reputable (and affordable)
  • DIY Websites
  • Technical tangles
  • Not owning your own website
  • Not knowing what to put on your website
  • Restrictions (such as technical integration not being available)
  • Filtering through marketing upsell
  • Hidden costs
  • Not having anyone to ask!

you only need 4 things to build your website

  1. Domain Name
  2. Hosting
  3. SSL
  4. Content

Everything else is a non-essential upsell!

Domain Name

  1. A Domain Name is a URL address on the internet for your website. It will look something like www.mybusinessname.com

IMPORTANT TIP – Register your business name and your domain name at the same time. Check the availability of BOTH before you act – either name could already be taken!

  1. When you buy your Domain Name you will have to choose a Domain Extension eg .com.au .com .au .org etc. This resource will help you narrow down which extension would best suit your business. Which Domain Name Extension For My Aussie Business?
  1. To register an Australian domain extension such as .com.au, .au or .net.au, under Australian legal regulations, you will need an ABN. Your domain name has to be as close to your business name as possible. If it’s not, it may be taken off you if another party registers a business name that is exactly the same as your “similar” domain name.

MY RECOMMENDATION – Buy your domain name through VentraIP. They’re Australian (and I like to support local), they have great prices and customer service.

Hosting

Hosting is hired space on the internet to house all the files, folders, images and code that make up your website. 

  1. Prices range from budget to midpoint to high-end and are paid annually, making it your largest ongoing website cost.

TIP: Every hosting provider will offer you a substantial discount when you first sign up for a hosting account. Annual renewals will often be around double the original price.

  1. Budget providers upsell important things like SSL and business emails (eg info@mybusiness.com.). This can often end up more expensive than a higher quality provider.

Higher quality providers offer excellent security, stopping hackers and spammers, regular backups of your website, often free business emails and sometimes free SSL.

  1. DON’T BUY HOSTING UNTIL YOU NEED IT!

As hosting is your biggest ongoing cost, don’t buy it until you need it: when you’re ready to build your website or when your website has already been built.

SSL

SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, is a security protocol that encrypts the data exchanged between your customers’ browsers and your website’s server. This encryption ensures that any information your customers enter on your website—such as names, addresses, and credit card details—is protected from prying eyes as it passes through the internet.

You can easily identify a website with SSL by looking for a little padlock icon in the address bar, and the URL starting with ‘https://’ instead of just ‘http://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure,’ showing that the connection is encrypted and safe.

SSL is crucial for preventing hackers and cybercriminals from intercepting and deciphering the data your customers share through your website.

SSL basically forms the backbone of a secure internet experience, particularly for sensitive transactions or communications online. It guarantees that your customers’ information and digital transactions remain private and fully protected.

TIP: When researching hosting providers, compare pricing for plans that include SSL against the price of purchasing your hosting and SSL separately.

Website Content

Much of your website content will be based around your products or services. If you have a business plan, this is a great place to start.

However business plans don’t cover everything. This resource, What Your Web Designer Needs From You, will help you collate the information you need for your website content.

It includes tips and advice on:

  • Affordable logo designers
  • Content details of your products / services
  • Where to get photos, photographers or DIY
  • Product shipping options
  • Templates for different types of policies
  • Payment processing options for your website

expected costs

your logo is a website priority

Your business logo will be required to show up in many places: 

  • business cards
  • brochures
  • letterheads
  • product labels
  • social media profile pics
  • your website
  • on mobile phones

Over the past five years, the use of mobile phones to search and shop for products and services has skyrocketed and online shopping is here to stay.

It’s now more important than ever for logos to be effective on a small screen.

Is Your Logo Website Friendly? is a resource that helps ensure that your logo is mobile friendly and works well on your website, and also how to organise a website favicon. 

TIP: Get your logo sorted asap AND invest in logo variations to represent your business brand anywhere it needs to show up, now or in the future.

diy website builds – research, research, research!

Building a DIY website takes a lot of time and learning, you’re on your own and support is only documentation. Two critical issues are time away from your business, and no-one to ask which can lead to costly mistakes.

Nothing is free – there is always a trade-off. Compare pricing plans and what’s included. Compare these with the costs of a stand-alone website (see Expected Costs above)

Your SEO gets watered down because it goes through their platform first.

You may not own your own website!

Your website can be valued as an independent asset within your business. Analysing product or service transactions on the site allows for the calculation of its monetary worth.

This boosts the overall value of your business, providing potential leverage for loans, grants, or if you decide to sell your business in the future.

case study

Companies that sell hosting and domains are now branching out into offering customers the ability to build their websites within their platform, the way Wix and Shopify do.

Client “Mary” came to me for a website upgrade. She had a bricks and mortar shop and sold hundreds of products.

She had built her original website herself on the GoDaddy platform.

Her SEO (search engine optimisation) is being watered down, dropping her business down the list in Google search results.

Mary does not own her website and can never sell it as part of her business.

Ongoing overheads for her website should only include:

  • Annual domain and hosting fees, email and SSL – approx $500 per year
  • Payment processing fees at 2.2% per transaction

Mary was being charged an extra $2,000 plus per month.

This fee was on top of her website overheads and payment processing fees.

consider me that friend you know who builds websites

No we haven’t met!

But I invite you to reach out with any questions, whether or not you choose to use my services.

Having someone to ask is invaluable, and it costs absolutely nothing to have a chat!

Getting your business website up and running doesn’t have to drain your startup funds or ongoing overheads.

Having your own custom website is a sensible business investment – owning your own site means you control its value within your business. And getting professional help means you won’t waste money and time on web tools you don’t actually need.

My aim is to equip business owners with the right knowledge so you can build an effective, customised website by prioritising the essential elements and avoiding unnecessary costs.

It’s about efficiency and value rather than compromising on quality.

Feel free to contact me here if you have questions!