Today we want to share a few facts which will hopefully enlighten some of you and give you the insight you need to make smart business decisions. Here are the top 5 things that web designers don't want you to know (but we're going to tell you anyway).
1. Most maintenance updates take less than 30 minutes
If a website is constructed correctly, then 90% of maintenance updates are a piece of cake. Even creating new pages of brand new content is not a time consuming process for a professional.
Some things will take longer of course, but the important thing to take away here is that if you're being billed hourly, there are a couple things you can do to reduce that hourly rate.
- Combine your updates into one single update. Rather than sending five separate small updates over five separate days, send them all at once. It's possible that your developer can do all of them in an hour, which will make your invoice an hour worth of work instead of five hours
- Try to hire a web developer that bills in half hour increments. For small updates, this will reduce your cost in half
2. Hosting is not very expensive
Hosting is pretty cheap...especially for a fairly small static website of less than 50 pages.
So what does this mean? If you don't ask your web developer to change your website very often, then really you shouldn't be paying him a whole lot. Most of our small business websites pay us between $400 - $700 a year for hosting AND 5 hours of maintenance.
3. It's possible to update your own website
This fact is more well known now than it was 4 or 5 years ago. But one way to drastically cut down on expenses is just to update your website yourself through a "Content Management System" or CMS.
A CMS is simply a tool that lets you manage the content of your website. You can add new pages, update your information, add pictures, etc.
Now of course you need the time to do it, which a lot of people simply don't have. But if possible hire an intern or get some help. If you're making updates to your website on a regular basis, it pays to have a CMS.
4. Your website needs to be constructed correctly to get found on search engines
It seems like half the websites online are not search engine friendly. Whether it's because the person who created it didn't know the right way to do it, or they were lazy when they created it; so many websites today are not suited for search engine crawlers.
Make sure your website is constructed correctly. As any SEO firm will tell you, there are many different things to check. Here's a free article which will answer the question is my website search engine friendly - it's our Easy SEO Checklist, mainly for beginners.
5. Your web designer might not be an actual web designer
Say what? A web designer is someone who is an expert in graphic design, SEO, HTML, CSS, and website usability (at a minimum).
Most "web designers" are people who may know how to do one or two of these things, not all of them. Just because you know HTML doesn't mean you can create an effective small business website.
When talking to a web designer, make sure they don't just know how to make a website, but how to make it look good, and how to make it work.
We recommend that you ask to see their portfolio, and then ask them to show you some real life examples of businesses they've helped. Then talk to those businesses as a reference and see what they say.
Hopefully these facts will help give you the knowledge you need to make smart business decisions. Don't forget to contact us if you need a free consultation. Good luck!