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Starting a website? Things to consider.

Written by Jill Manty  · October 7, 2010

Many readers of Can I Make Big Money Online have the technical chops to create their own website. But what if you don’t? What if you have to hire, gulp, a web designer? Here are a few things you’ll want to consider. You’ll need to make some choices about your domain, hosting and hiring a website designer.

When you’re choosing a domain, there are a few directions you can go. You can choose a domain to brand your business, to appeal to the search engines or sometimes you can combine the two. George wrote a pretty extensive article on choosing a domain some time ago, and there’s not much I can add to what he already said.

However, here’s one thing that wasn’t included in his original article. When choosing an extension, opt for a top level domain versus a .info domain name, if it is available. While most people search for domain names typing in a .com extension, you can also be quite successful with a .net or a .org extension. It’s not uncommon for website owners to buy several versions of their domain name with different extensions. If multiple extensions are available, consider buying them to keep competitors from buying them later and benefiting from your success.

No matter what domain you choose, always have it hosted by your own hosting server. This bears repeating. Use your own hosting. Preferably paid hosting, not on a friend’s server in his Mom’s basement. You think you’re saving money by going this route, but in the long run the potential headaches are not worth the less than $100 per year you’re going to save.

Some people try another “cheap” route for hosting. “Free” website builders that offer free hosting. Usually this means you will not have your own domain name. For example, if you were with Freewebs.com, it would be freewebs.com/andyourname here. This domain name does not look professional and it is too hard for your potential customers to remember (plus you’re advertising someone else’s company every time you advertise your website). If you’re looking to save money, take advantage of the free domain name registration that some web hosting packages offer.

If you’re looking for great, reliable hosting at a reasonable rate, we always recommend Hostgator. Yes, that’s an affiliate link. Throughout the years, we’ve had our sites hosted through several different companies. Hostgator is far and away our favorite.

One more note about domains— make sure your domain is registered in YOUR name, not in your website designer’s name, not in your hosting company’s name. Even if your hosting company offers to register your domain for you, make sure that you will be listed as the technical contact. You may want to register it yourself if you have any doubts about how the registration will be handled, even if it means passing up on a “free” offer. If you ever want to change hosts or designers, you’ll be glad you spent the ten minutes and $20, vs. the hassle and potential expense of trying to reclaim a domain if it wasn’t registered in your name.

Finally, if you’re not comfortable designing the site yourself, you’ll need to find a website designer. Of course, we’re partial to MantyWeb Designs, but no matter who you choose, make sure that you ask to see some examples of the designer’s work. You may want to even find some websites you like and see who the designer of that site is.

Talk to the company before hiring someone. In fact, talk to them a couple of times. Make sure they explain things in a way you understand, that you feel comfortable talking to them and that they return messages in a timely manner. If you have an idea of the technical requirements of your website (like you know you want a blog), make sure that the company has experience with that type of site. Different designers have different areas of expertise. Just because a company makes really pretty sites doesn’t mean you want them designing your ecommerce site.

While you may be tempted to immediately go with the cheapest designer, don’t. Make sure to choose someone who can complete the project in a timely manner and who will not disappear before the project is complete. This happens ALL the time! Having to start over with a new designer just wastes your time and money.

So, those are the basics. Choose a good domain, pick hosting that fits your website’s needs and find a website designer you enjoy working with. Now, I’d like to hear from you below. Have you gone through the web design process? How was your experience? Any additional tips?


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Comments

5 Responses to “Starting a website? Things to consider.”

  1. Trevor Harris on October 23rd, 2010 12:18 am

    This is a terrific article. I completely agree with all this stuff. I myself would not hire a whole company to build my websites. I would outsource from the Phillipines, from a quality outsourcing site. But if you do decide to outsource you could pay them monthly, to also do all that other stuff you don’t like to do; like getting backlinks. And people from the Phillipines are very reliable and efficient, and make sure they finish the job. But you could also just hire them for the one job, and be done. It would also be much cheaper as well.

    Trevor Harris

  2. Jill Manty on October 26th, 2010 9:09 am

    Thanks for the kind words about the article. We’re not big advocates of outsourcing the Phillipines for a number of reasons. The main reason is explained in a quote above:

    “While you may be tempted to immediately go with the cheapest designer, don’t. Make sure to choose someone who can complete the project in a timely manner and who will not disappear before the project is complete. This happens ALL the time! Having to start over with a new designer just wastes your time and money.”

    I have a friend who has the following quote hanging in her office:

    “The pain of poor quality lasts long after the joy of a cheap price”

    Outsourcing to the Philipines may be a good choice for some, but someone starting a website should really look into the pros and cons of that choice beyond just the pricetag. They should also make sure that they’re paying a real living wage. Just because some guru tells you that a couple of hundred dollars a month is a living wage doesn’t make it so.

    This is a good article on the average you should think about paying a freelancer in the Philipines: http://easyoutsource.com/blog/what-is-the-reasonable-rate-to-give-a-filipino-freelancer/

  3. mike m on December 8th, 2010 1:40 pm

    it is hard to strike a balance between building a website for seo and one for consumers, even so getting it promoted depends on what your goals are if you are a big site with big goals then outsourcing may be a way to get the job done

  4. Travis Helpinat on March 28th, 2011 1:33 pm

    I agrree with most of this posting, I think you need to plan, determine your action and then really stick with the plan, alot of people decide to not follow the plan after it’s made, and now they are stuck with no business, SO stick with a plan and GO FOR IT

  5. Mike Coaches on April 8th, 2011 9:47 am

    three years ago i got into a dispute with my web designer who tried to charge thousands of dollars more than had been agreed for our site. I resolved it by paying the agreed amount and sacking them. But I realised that the only way to be in full control of your site is to learn how to do it yourself. Now I know that isn’t going to be practical for most business owners but that’s no excuse for abdicating all responsibility for your web strategy to your designer. Take the time to learn the fundamentals of good site design and particularly those involved in SEO. It’s not hard and there’s plenty of free advice out there. At the very least you’ll be well informed when it comes to choosing briefing your web designer.





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