I need a website! What should I do?

I need a website! What should I do?

Hello lovely people. Today I have a message for those who need a website, but in the same time have no clue what to do. There are a lot interested people over the internet, way more then those who already have a website or blog. Majority of them not knowing what to do – just stop moving forward.

Why do people want to have websites and blogs? There are many reasons of doing that, but the main goal is almost the same – to express themselves, to tell about their company, attract customers or associates. As a result,  owner extends his circle of people, actively improving contact list in their field of business, increase sales … In general, if you are the owner of the website, you can get a lot of benefits from different sides. Some people are making money on own website as their main source of income.

So, you want to have a website or blog, but do not know such terrible words as “domain”, “hosting” or “seo”. Where to start? There may be several options:

  1. To go to the nearest web-studio and order there a website. Paid the money – got the website, made by professionals.
  2. Find web studio online. It can be suitable if there are no nearby web studios or prices are way better.
  3. To ask a friend who is “doing something on the Internet”, to solve the problem.
  4. Try to learn by yourself, read books, watch video courses such as “Creating a blog for 5 seconds.”
  5. Use some free website builders, which are all spread over the internet.
  6. Use freelancers – people who specialize in it. Not for free, of course.

And then I’ll try to focus on each item, defining the pros and cons.

1-2 Web studio professionals

Perhaps this is the most natural option. If we want to buy a TV, then we go to the store, rather than trying to reinvent a TV by yourself and assemble it at home. If you want to get a website, you are going to the web-studio, to those who understands what are they doing. Everything is logical. So what would be our expectations?

  • Good website.
  • Clear explanation of what has been done already and what are they working on right now.
  • Fulfillment of all wishes to the functionality and usability.
  • Training sessions or materials on how to use the website – how to insert articles, pictures, links, and everything what client might need in future.

That is pretty much it for ordinary, not picky customer. Those are quite clear, understandable requirements for the amount of money that pays the customer.

Lets talk about prices. I don’t want to say that the website should be cheap. No, it’s not a simple thing – here we have work of designer, coder and programmer sometimes. Even so – the prices should be relevant. I also understand that a decent website made with any free CMS with decent functionality can worth of 800$-1000$, but if the prices are 2000$ – 4000$ – I imagine a super-duper project, with the service of kissing the client in all the places where he wants. Not all of the web studios having way too high prices, but sometimes it happens. Just keep this in mind and choose from several options. Some studios use slogans to gain customers like – “Our services cost more, because we are the best”, but this is not always true.

Here is an example. I had a client whom I was helping to finalize a website. In general, this woman decided to work as a travel agent and to attract customers she needed a website. Website is very convenient tool to describe various tours, prices, sights, contact information, etc. When she had a clear vision on her idea of the website – she went to web studio, by advice of a friend … Common story, like many others. What’s next?

Her order accepted under mark of “Urgent” in the beginning of November, and promised to get it done in a month. The total cost of a project was about 1200$ (It was in 2012) . As a result, after a fair amount of hassle site became live in February. She paid an additional 200$ to some SEO guys who promised to buy a lot of links. Independently was hired a copywriter who filled website with the articles and at the same time led several groups in social networks – as it turned out later, he just copied content from other sites and we had to rewrite everything.

This woman came to me in April, 2 months after the site was ready. She asked me to take care of it, because there was no willing to deal with this web-studio. How come? Because nobody said anything about the progress of why “Urgent” order been delayed for 2 months and at what is current progress on it. Later she was given all the passwords from admin panel with no instructions on how she can use it (MODX CMS is not so simple). All improvements made  on the principle – “If I’ll point on issue and start to bother – they will do, though it usually takes weeks for every little thing.” I have found  a lot of flaws and shortcomings. When I agreed to undertake the website from the owner to fix it, she said to web studio that  she is willing to terminate her business with them. The owner literally threw her paperwork out. If he could – the website would be tossed too. By the way, the website I’m speaking about, is on their portfolio with my changes on screenshot.

As a result – more than 1200$ spent on a website, which is not even proprely done, a lot of wasted nerves and loss of potential profit … Yes, if the website would be ready around November/December, as promised, she would have a chance to get little customers. We started to engage customers in May when the tourist season were in a fill swing. Customers started to come just in 2 months after re-launch of the website, but she could be live with the site two month earlier … We had to start completely from scratch, even had to rewrite all articles, and we gained pretty good results for such work. For a month we brought some website pages in the top of Google. I was also moderating social networks, so eventually everything started to roll . But this woman had a good life lesson. And it is all started with the wrong choice of web-studio.

I don’t want to blame on other web-studios. There are all sorts of them – both good and bad. Majority of them taking their responsibilities very seriously. But this is an example of what is expensive – not always good. If they see that customer do not understand what is going on and fully trust the studio, as professionals, it is easy to cheat. It’s like a car service – when you want to fix some minor things, sometimes they will charge as like you are fixing entire engine … I do not like it when the customer is stupidly cheated as we are all clients sometimes.

3 To ask a friend

If you friend is good in developing websites, he has already some experience in it – so why not to ask him?
Another thing if you friend is good in social networks, computer games. He might be advanced user, but anyway – try to look at his finished projects. Let him show you his blog or website – so you can decide if you want to have business with him.

4 Try to make a website by your own

Yes, there are all sorts of video courses, that are promising anyone, that they can create their own website or blog in minutes, even those who have no idea what is difference between desktop and processor. In fact, I wouldn’t say that it is not true, but more like cunning, not telling whole picture. My experience shows that even creating a blog on WordPress takes more than one day of a tight work. Yes, you can spend the day on studding video tutorials, and then the day figuring out how to buy a domain and hosting, then the day will be spent on actual installation of your website with the hosting. Typically everything take a lot of time when you are doing that in a first time, and something is always go wrong.

Why so long, because WordPress can be installed in a couple of minutes? Yes, now I can do all setup with a couple of minutes, and another two to figure out the admin of any host, quickly setup FTP-client … But, remembering myself at the beginning, I think time frame would be greater. As far as I know, a lot of newbies or retired people just sitting alone with the video, making a lot of mistakes because of lack of knowledge and inexperience. As a result we are having tons of typical questions on forums. Many tutorials are having too broad information, so people sometime get stuck on the little things, and there is nobody to help. This is how it is in life, not like it’s advertized.

Of course, it is possible to learn everything and make the website by yourself. But it will take a lot of time – days and weeks. And then, as it usually happens – problems or issues will appear . On the one hand – you’ll get useful knowledge , on the other – why wouldn’t you just stay focused on business instead of continuously fixing  “home-made” project.

Generally speaking, not everybody can make it till the end by continuously wasting time and energy on developing single website. Only the most persistent people who want to deal with it will make it.

5 Website builders

So many options to chose from. I am planning to make separate post about them, fut for now – just to give some basic information. A person willing to do a website with help of such services, can easily figure how to do everything.

Work on such services reminds me work in Word, like you have to fill out default template with the text, add pictures and stuff and that’s it. But this simplicity turns out to have just the same website as many others. Sometimes it is possible to show creativity in some details, but that is all.

In addition, the owner of the website actually is not an owner. With shutting down of the service – all data with a website will be lost. And you can’t take your resources out to run it separate from a service.  For a serious company – inscription that is saying “Made with a free website builder” – would be so awful and the competitors, probably,  will be making fun of it.

In general, using a website builder for simple purposes like business cards, or first online store – is OK, but for a blog or a company website it can be not that good idea.

6 Using freelancers

That is similar with making order in a web studio, but has few differences. Freelancer – is one person who specializes in a particular area. He does not necessarily have a degree, but he does have a lot of experience in their field, and that is much more valuable for you. If you want to get a blog, you can simply find such specialist, and he will do it for you in a short terms. Also, it will cost much less than in web-studio.

Of course, if you want to get not just a blog, but also super-duper design, you will need to find a design freelancer. He or another coder freelancer – will assemble this design to the finalized website. Even if you involve several people to a project, all turns out to be no worse than in web-studio. And for sure – it will be much faster. Good freelancer will not accept order if he is short in time. And if he is free, he will take it and accomplish as soon as it possible.

Here the main thing – not to be mistaken in a person you hiring. For example, I would not pay to those who doesn’t even have their website or blog.  It is like a business card, and its absence very suspicious.

That’s all I wanted to say about how to make a website to someone who does not understand anything. What can you add? Please note, that it is necessary to look at this problem without using your gained experience but from the angle of a complete “Zero”.


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