Do you need a website?
In today’s world, I would have to say, yes. The internet is growing at a rapid speed and there are billions of people out their that are making money online, in some way or another. At the end of the day, your website should become the central point of all your marketing efforts. A website is probably the cheapest and most effective form of advertising when combined with writing, images, chat, forms, video and social media.
It’s the shop of the future, that is available 24/7, and 365 days a year. It’s cheaper and less expensive than operating a brick and mortar business. You don’t need to spend money on staff, offices, uniforms, or cars in order to conduct business anymore. Instead, you could spend this money on creating a website that fulfills your customers needs.
Owning a website makes it easy for anyone to get started online.
If all that you need is a simple website, then a static website would be the best option. A static website could just be a single HTML page, or it could consist of multiple pages, it would all depend on what you are looking to achieve online. If all that you needed was a simple logo, contact details and a few images, this would work perfectly.
A dynamic website is a lot more complicated, and would require something like PHP in order to create a template, or to store information in a database. By creating a template, is much easier to create multiple pages, and to dynamically include or exclude different components. Dynamic websites are a lot more interactive, and in most situations people turn to Joomla, or WordPress, which makes it easy to login to the back-end of your website, and change or modify it at anytime.
With Joomla, or WordPress there are thousands of components or plugins that could extend the functionality of your website, such as VirtueMart, or Woocommerse, which would add the sopping cart functionality to your website. These components and plugins are usually built by someone else and are either sold, or given away for free. Some developers will create a free product, but then charge for more specific elements that might even extend the functionality even further.
How are website built?
There are also systems such as Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Magento and etc, that speed up the development by providing a great framework that you could extend upon, and alter according to your needs. Content Management Websites like this have become an industry standard, as most people enjoy being able to tinkle with their website at anytime. In fact, it becomes quite addictive, the more you get into it, ask me, it never stops.
The options are endless, and in the past 8 years that I have spent developing websites, its just astronomical how quickly things are changing on the internet. A few years ago, there was no such thing as a SmartPhone, or Tablet. You can now access the internet from anywhere, including Smart TV’s, Smart Watches, Smart Homes, Smart Cars, Gaming Consoles and etc.
The world is changing, and the internet is growing at a rapid speed. A few years ago, you would never dream of buying something online, but yet today people are quick to type in there credit card details without questioning the security of website. It’s scary, but exciting. It’s never been easier to shop from the comfort of home, or chat with friends that are half way around the world, at anytime.
What kind of website would I need?
At the end of the day, it all depends on your personal needs. In most situations people would normal start with a static website and then upgrade it, or improve on it when the have the time, money and resources.
There are a lot of DIY solutions out there, but nobody likes to be tied to an agreement or contract, and most people enjoy the freedom and flexibility of hosting their own website, on their own domain, such as www.yourname.co.za
What is the benefit of owning a website?
The best part of owning a website is being able to change it, or improve on it at anytime. Its not like printing a catalog, and then realizing a few weeks later that some of the items are no longer available, and you would have to throw away the remaining catalogs, because they are no longer relevant.
Owning a website can save your company millions, when it comes to printing and advertising. And when built correctly, it can become and effective marketing tool, used for attracting potential online customers. You don’t need a full-blown eCommerce shop to start selling something online. You just need a product or a service, and you are ready to go.
As your business grows, you can change and adapt the website as you go along. You could even have multiple websites on the same domain, or hosting package. The options are endless, and anything is possible. Technology is improving on a daily basis, and there are more and more people being exposed to the internet than ever before.
How will people find my website online?
Well, because of the billions of websites on the internet, you can imagine that this is not going to be very easy to achieve this. You are competing with billions of other people, and the only way that people would find your website would either be paying for adverts, or they happened to stumble across it, while searching for something on the internet.
Paying for website visitors is obviously the easiest way to get website visitors, but this can become extremely expensive over time. Online adverts work on a bidding system that means their is no set price. Advertisers would have to bid as to how much they are willing to spend on each click that they get, on their advert. This can lead to hunderds, or thousands of Rand per click, or per visitor.
The only other option is to get organic traffic, which is the people that just happened to find you online, while searching for something, or by accident. Or maybe they were referred by another website, or by someone on social media.
Even though organic traffic is said to be free, it’s not free. You would have to put in a lot of time, effort, blood sweat, or tears into writing articles, posting on social media, or marketing and promoting your website online. There is also Search Engine Optimization, which has become a specific skillset that is required to improve the visabilty of your website online.
At the end of the day, everything cost money. It’s just how you spend your money that makes the difference. There will be a lot of companies out their that will thrive on your online ignorance, and you might learn a few costly mistakes.
At the end of the day, you need to find someone that you can trust, and that has your best interests in mind. Someone that will help you and guide you with their years of experience in the industry. There will be a lot of people that will try to make a quick profit online, but owning a website, is more of a long term relationship with the person, or company that you chose to develop, or host your website.