Build Your Own Website or Hire a Pro

by Eric Peterson, 12/2/2010, ericpetersongalleries.com

Do you have a website? Is it getting good rankings on numerous search engines?

A website is a valuable tool in today's marketplace. With over 90% of household having computers, and of those, nearly 70% are using their Internet connections to research products before they make a purchase, a good website is a must.

Many people think that if you have a website, it will drive business. Often times, however, websites are so poorly configured that the only way they can be found is if someone knows the website's address before hand. A search engine actually finding the website is the equivalent of a blind squirrel finding a nut.

There's a lot more to building a website than just making it pretty. An experienced website developer will know how to determine the search phrases that the owner of the site needs to bring in business. Then that developer will configure everything from page titles, descriptions, and keywords to the way the content is actually worded and configured to get the maximum visibility on the Internet. So, the "pretty" is only a small part of the website.

Is it important to have a good looking website? Absolutely. A professional looking website will add to a business's credibility. It shows the consumer that the owner has pride in their business. A good online image can translate into a consumer's perceived confidence in the product. Obviously, it's then up to the business owner to prove to the consumer that their product is good in order to retain that customer.

So, the following things need to be in place for a business to be successful on the web...

  1. A well developed, search engine optimized (SEO) website (so the website can be found with the desired key phrases).
  2. A professional looking site design (so the consumer will consider doing business with the company).
  3. A quality product or service (for the business to retain the consumer that the website brought in).

Given enough time, even a bad website will eventually show up. But updates that you make will still take a long time to propagate the web.

Many business owners think that they can get a website on the cheap. Often times, they choose to with subscription web servers with generic templates that they build themselves. There are a number of products like that on the market, such as GoDaddy, VistaPrint, Market America, Intuit, and a plethora of other web hosting companies. These products can be anywhere from a free to $50 a month or more. Without knowledge of the workings of various search engines, the business owner is blindly throwing money into a project that has almost no chance of results.

Figure a business goes this route... they spend $20 a month for hosting and $10-$15 a year for a domain. With no knowledge of building a website, this person is spending $250+ every year on a product that won't have any return on their investment. You can't just look at the monthly or yearly cost of hosting and the domain. Without any return, that business owner is truly paying $250 plus a year for nothing. For this business owner, the website is an expense.

I personally, had a client that finally decided to pull the trigger on a quality website. The website cost this person $1500 plus $3.95 a month for some quality web hosting through a third party. Within a couple weeks, his site was ranking in numerous searches on multiple search engines, and within 6 weeks, this client had already received four jobs with more than enough profit to pay for the website. For this business owner, the net cost of the website was $0. In fact, it made money for him. For this business owner, the website was an investment.

One can reasonably be expect to pay $1500 plus for a website, depending on the features needed, the complexity, and the quality of the design and graphics needed (many developers require the client to supply their own graphics for incorporation into the new site).

Bottom line... you get what you pay for.

Eric Peterson
(651) 238-0245
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