Do-It-Yourself Website or Hire a Professional Web Designer?

Should I build my own website?

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][us_single_image image=”388″ animate=”afc” size=”full” link=””][us_separator icon=”fa-star”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]While it may be tempting to buy a template provided by a hosting service or a professional organization and develop the content on your own, consider these points:

Do you have the time for a do it yourself website?

  • Will you be able to allocate the time to enter the content and manage your own site? Remember that for each hour that you put into your site is one billing hour you lose.
  • For a typical 5 to 7 page site, you will probably be spending about 15-20 hours in developing your content alone, and you can probably add another 20-40 hours in formatting it so it looks right.  How much do you make an hour? Multiply that by 30-40 hours and add this amount to your total costs when comparing a DIY solution and one offered by a web professional.
  • Are you willing to invest the time to ongoing maintenance to keep it fresh and search engine optimized?

Do you have the knowledge for a do it yourself website?

  • Will you have the time to search information online on how to promote your site? Will you be able to add functions to your site, such as traffic metrics, blogs, forum discussions, or social networking connections to it?
  • Do you know some code?  Even the best do it yourself website platforms require knowledge of a little code in order for it to look just like you want it.
  • How much do you know about social media? How does your website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages connect?

Make an informed decision before buying that hosting company DIY package.  Hiring a web professional will save you many hours that you can otherwise spend on building your business online.  Contact me for a FREE quote today!   [/vc_column_text][us_separator type=”invisible” icon=”fa-star”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Is Email Marketing for You?

Email Marketing by Alice Manning Desgin

Are you trying to reach a new set of potential clients? Perhaps you are trying to let your current customers know of your upcoming specials or events? Then email marketing is definitely for you!

Need more reasons to try email marketing?

  1. Cheaper than printing and mailing costs
  2. Get visitor traffic to your website
  3. Easier to do A/B testing on subject lines, promotions, discounts
  4. Schedule when you want your customers to receive your message
  5. Stay in touch with your clients, remind them you’re there!
  6. Segregate your message and promotions to different types of clients
  7. Track your emails for open rates, click thru’s and unsubscribes
  8. Promote your social media sites

Contact me today to learn more about how your business can benefit from email marketing!

 

Top 10 things to know before you build your website

So you want to take your business on-line?  Or do you have a website already and thinking about a redesign to better address your changing business needs?

“This should be easy,” you think. “I can create some nifty PowerPoint presentations, what else do I need to know?”

Lots!

Before you start putting down any amount of money, here are a few ideas you need to think through before setting sights on your dream website.

  • Do I really need an online presence?

Yes! Bill Gates once remarked that every day a business is not online, they lose business.  Are your competitors on-line?  Then you probably should be, too!

  • Who is your target audience?

Think about not only who you want to come to your site (such as potential clients), but also secondary audiences – those searching for related products or services who may also find value in your website.

  • What do I want my website to do?

This will help you focus on the message you hope to deliver and *how* you want to deliver it.  For example, if you are a consultant, you probably want to make sure that you stand out as an “expert” in your field.  A blog is a very good way to establish yourself online as well as provide foot traffic to your site.  Regular email blasts/e-newsletters can also help you keep in touch with your clients.

  • Do it yourself vs. hiring a professional? 

While it may be tempting to buy a template provided by a hosting service or a professional organization and develop the content on your own, think about these points.

  •   How much is this going to cost me? 

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  1. There will be recurring costs such as web hosting and domain registration, starting around $80+ a year.
  2. If you are running an e-commerce site, plan on purchasing and renewing a Secured Socket Layer (SSL) certificate to give your customers the peace of mind while entering sensitive credit card information.
  3. Do you need additional software or custom software? License for software can run a few hundred dollars.  An experienced, professional web developer can charge up to $100/hour.
  4. Make sure you also plan for related costs such as web and technical maintenance as well as back-up services. [/lts_list]
  • Are there security risks?

If you are planning to have an e-commerce site, or a site that allows users to comment online, such as a blog, there can be malicious attempts to hack your site. As part of my technical maintenance plan, I frequently update and add security patches to these types of sites for my clients.  I also keep an eye out for any suspicious or spam posts and set up for frequent back-ups of the databases.

  • Will my site be ranked 1st on Google right away?  How will people find me?

Search engine optimization (SEO) starts with the construction of the website itself and extends with how your site is linked to the rest of the world. Even if you have the most beautifully designed website, your target audience won’t be able to find you without a little added work on your part.  I will work with you to define key words and construct the website in such a way that makes search engines (and you!) happy!

  • Know your competition!

People will judge your site on how it compares with others in your line of business.  If your site looks homegrown, has broken links, or takes a long time to load, you will have given your competitors the edge.  Before creating a new website for a client, I research their competition – what kind of site do they offer? What functions does their site do? Then, I bring those findings and consult with my client what ways I can give them the edge over their competitors.

  • Know thyself! While your site is a reflection on you, you still want to keep your message first, displayed in a professional manner, and your personality second.

Website building is a fun process, but one that will take time and effort to see through. I am happy to hold your hand every step of the way!

I am available for a free consultation on how I can help you to bring your business online.

How does your website look on your iPad?

The latest frontier for web sites in the face of a proliferation of smartphones and tablets is responsive web design.  Further, higher resolution monitors are leaving most sites looking rather incomplete or very small.  No doubt, having potential clients or donors constantly “pinch” their iPhones to be able to read your site, can lead to frustration and in turn, an early exit from your site.

Alice Manning Design is excited to be venturing in new responsive web design! Now you can have a beautifully designed site that looks great on your smartphone, tablet or large monitor.  This site is a responsive site.  Go ahead, adjust your browser size and see how the website accommodates itself.  All my sites are created in WordPress, so you have the flexibility of editing your own content from one of the world’s favorite open source content management systems!

Contact me today to discuss creating your next site!