General Questions about Starting a Website

Here are some common questions that I get about Websites, it may help you in your decision whether to go ahead with a professional website or DIY, what you should know in terms of terminology and what the typical process involves.

Q: What are the advantages of having an online store?

A: Having a website or an online store shows you have a presence and are serious about your business, it helps build credibility as well as gives your potential customers a place to learn more about you and your business.

It also helps customers with the ease of buying, browsing and allows for future sales. Consumers want information given to them; they want the experience to be easy. They want to browse and learn more about your business and see what you have to offer. With an online store you have the opportunity to give them as much information as they need with out having to engage first. “about me” / “what we sell, why we sell” / “about our products” etc.

And with online stores, you aren’t physically selling 24/7 – your website and marketing is doing it for you. You have the options of stock management, sales reporting and coupons / discounts for repeat business. It just makes your life easier when set up and done properly.

Q: Hiring a Professional vs doing it yourself?

A: When I started my product-based business, I did the website design myself. It was difficult, but was certainly possible. I learnt a lot and because I have a passion for it, I enjoyed doing it myself and learning the ins and outs of web design. But there are a lot of elements to websites that are not simply design and pretty layouts. These things can be overwhelming if you are not tech savvy or have the time to research and upskill yourself. My philosophy is always; leave the “other stuff” to the professionals and concentrate on what you do best. Outsource what you can to ensure your time is being used effectively.

There are definitely ways to do it yourself and loads of tutorials out there. The world is full of information. But my personal suggestion is to get to a point that you outsource these types of skills. You can start slow, start with a one pager and grow your site as your business grows.

The same goes for the product photography – it is definitely possible to do it yourself and there are many tutorials out there. But the difference between a professional looking product photo and a poor diy attempt will result in less sales. So it is crucial to get it right if going DIY.

Q: Understanding the basic terminology used for websites?

A: Firstly, the most important thing you need to know about websites is the difference between a domain and hosting. This is the fundamental step in setting up a website and small businesses are often taken to the cleaners with poorly explained hosting packages.

Your domain is the web address that you register for your business, for example www.merakimintdesigns.com. These are unique and there cannot be duplicates, you would search a domain registry and you will be able to find out if your domain is available to you. These are billed yearly and renewed once a year.

Hosting. This is important to know as it is completely separate to your domain.

Hosting is the space in which you “rent” online where your website and emails are stored. It is the storage of your data online. Your hosting package will be dependent on how much disc space you will need. You pay for this monthly, quarterly or yearly (depending on your needs).
Some hosting providers have hidden fees, low resource capacity and fine print when it comes to hosting resources and poor service delivery. So if it seems too good to be true. It generally is.

I have my own private hosting company that I host all my clients’ websites with, as I know for certain there are no surprises and I have had to move a lot of new clients over to us after they have been mistreated and misinformed by their current hosting providers.

My main suggestion here, is to make sure you vet and check what you are getting in your hosting package and make sure you know what your renewal fees are.

See my previous post on Domains and Hosting Jargon – https://merakimintdesigns.com/technical-jargon/

WIX vs WordPress vs Shopify – these are all different website platforms and all have their own pros and cons ranging from price to ease of use. This is a completely personal preference based on your tech know-how, budget and website purpose / need.

Q: If going the route of hiring a web designer, what are the steps involved?

A: A website designer will need all your website content. I for instance send my clients a Website Content Form and Checklist that prompts them for all the information needed. Website content is anything from your written paragraphs to your images and products.

What I often need to explain to my clients, is that this part needs time and attention. You will need to put in the time on your website content – what you want displayed and how you want it worded. Images to be used as well as what products you are selling and all the details per product.

A website designer is not able to come up with the content, we simply take what you have and ensure that it is displayed with the best user experience and best design practices in mind , ensuring that the site is an easy to navigate and converts visitors to customers. We will always prompt you and guide you for what is needed and advise you if what you are wanting isn’t ideal. But one thing that I try tell all my clients is; what ever you want in a website – is possible! Websites have endless functionalities and can adapt to your business processes.

Once a website is designed, it is sent to the client to review. Once reviewed and approved the site goes live. And depending on the design agency, you will be offered a maintenance package or have the site handed over to you to manage. It is good to ensure that if handed over to you, is there still a support function in the event that you need assistance.

Q: Linking of your social media to your websites / stores?

A: All websites allow for the linking of your social media. But in order for your social media to have a shop function, you need to have an online store already set up.

There are many options available out there and discussing these with a website designer or marketing agency is a good idea to make sure you are aware of all the options available to you.

Q: Types of Websites

A: One pagers – These are simple one page websites with just enough detail to let customers know more about your business and allow for enquiries. They are scalable, so you can always grow it to a larger site later on.

Portfolio sites – These sites are informative and can have brochures or catalogs to download or browse. No actual sales are made on the site.

Ecommerce stores – If you are wanting to sell online, you would have to have an ecommerce store with the purchasing function.

These are some of the basics, but if you have any questions and would like to get in touch, please use the form below. No question is too big or too small…

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