My friend runs a Travel Agency and he came to me a year ago to ask my help for his website. He already had a website which looked as if some drunk amateur has beaten it with an ugly stick. Upon asking, he told me that it was made by one of his cousins since he didn’t have enough money to hire a professional. When I told him I make websites for businesses with budget constraints free of cost, his eyes rolled-n-popped and his jaw dropped!! 🙂
My name is Monlam Makhampa and I help individuals, organizations and businesses grow through web design, digital marketing and Search Engine Optimization. Here is my website www.MonlamDesigns.com if you are interested.
I have been designing websites for the past 8 years, that is even before the birth of Facebook. That’s correct, we had hi5.com, myspace and orkut back then. 🙂 I am good with WordPress and Joomla and what that means is I can create any website you can possibly imagine – from a simple one page website to complex and giant e-commerce or social media sites like Amazon and Facebook.
This article is divided into sub topics. Feel free to skip the topics that doesn’t interest you.
Who needs a website?
Simply put, you need a website if
1) you are running or starting a business (any business) or an organization (NGO)
2) you are an artist, singer, cook, DJ, even a religious teacher or a freelancer in any field
3) you are passionate about something and want to start writing about it (setup Blog)
Why make a website?
A few years ago, mobile phones were used primarily for making calls and sending texts. Internet was there but slow and primarily used for exchanging emails and browsing a few information sites. The times have changed now and we all know that smartphones and internet is an integral part of our day to day lives.
Unlike earlier days, people are looking for information on the internet all the time so if you have a website, people (customers) will be able to find you and get more information about you or your business/organization which will help your business grow.
If you are starting a business or already own a business, you will be able to attract new clients or engage with existing clients because everybody is online these days. It is rightly said, “A business without a website is like a Businessman without a face.”
If you are running an organization like a non-profit one, having a website will help you with fund raise and also keep your existing donors or sponsors engaged and interested by updating your website with your project progress and updates on your work.
If you are an artist, singer, cook, DJ, or a freelancer; a website will help you showcase your work or engage with your fans/followers. And if you are good at something, you can teach other people and build a following to whom you can later sell products, courses etc.
What if I don’t have money to make a website?
Here is a simple step by step guide to create a website for free: How to Create a Website for Free – Pros and Cons
If you have a business and still not sure if you want to spend money on a website then I may be able to help. I will help you make a website for your business for Free. Go to this link and select the Beginner’s Plan I will create a website for you and provide you technical support through email free of cost for one year. What’s the catch? Well, there is no catch but here are a few things you should know:
- Your website will be hosted on a subdomain so your web address will look something like – www.Your Business.monlamdesigns.com
- You can have a maximum of 10 pages.
- You can choose from a variety of predesigned templates
- No customization
Got some Money for your Website?
If you have the money then the best thing to do is hire a professional web designer/developer because the free stuffs will not have a professional feel and also the things you can do with your website will be very limited. And if your website doesn’t look that good, people will get the impression that you are not serious about your business and hence will not be comfortable doing business with you.
Now when hiring a web designer, here are a few things that you should consider and check
- Experience Level: Experience shouldn’t count much but if the person is new, it is very likely that he will do a lot of mistakes and you will pay the price for it. If you must go with an inexperienced web designer then make sure you negotiate the price on your terms. The web designer will agree to it because he needs work since he’s new.
- Portfolio: Another thing you should check is the portfolio of the Web Designer – the works he has done in the past. This will give you an idea of his skills and expertise. Though the design of his past websites may not determine his taste and preference of design or color (because most of the times, clients decide that), you will still be able to get an idea of what the Web Designer is capable of.
- Technical Support & training: See that you are covered by a technical support from the Web Designer. You will need it. Also check if the Web Designer offers free training to teach you how to manage and update your website. This will be very helpful if you want to manage your website contents by yourself and keep it updated.
- Fee or the Price: Unlike physical products, there is no way to tell how much is too much. It depends on mainly two things:
- Your requirements and
- The level of experience and expertise of the Web Designer.
To ask how much a website is going to cost is like asking how much a car is going to cost. A small car may cost you a few thousand dollars where as an SUV or a bigger/better cars would cost a lot more. What I advise you is to take quotations from a few Web Designers and compare. Now don’t compare only the price, you must take the other points mentioned above into consideration else you might end up wasting money on an ugly useless website.
If you want to know my quotes or want to request one if you have specific needs, check here => Web Design Packages
Why Hire a Professional and Pay More?
In the beginning of this article I told you about my friend who runs a travel agency. He was one of my earliest clients. When he first came to me, he already had a website that was designed by his cousin brother, a college student.
I had a look at it and when I said it looked like as if some drunk amateur has beaten it with an ugly stick, I really meant it. It was filled with colors that didn’t blend, pictures that were dull and the layout was square boxes everywhere. I told him straight “it is better not to have a website than have a website that looks like this.”
It is not only the design aspect of the website that you get when you hire a professional, there are other aspects that will later determine the overall quality of the website and your experience with it. Here are a few main reasons why you should hire a professional:
- Quality: Imagine you are asked to paint someone’s house without getting paid for it. You will probably refuse or even if you do, you will probably try to finish it as soon as you can without thinking about the quality of the work right? But what if you are paid well for this work? I am sure you will do the job much better and finish it unless you are one lazy ass slacker. So even if a professional offers you a free service, most probably it will not be of the quality he is capable of delivering because he has no motivation. This is human nature and common sense. Hiring a professional and paying him will deliver quality.
- Reliability: Your website is not your car. What I mean by this is, unlike cars, the value of your website increases with time and you cannot afford to lose it. Imagine a guy named Joe who has a small business and recently hired Monika a college student and an amateur web designer to develop his website. The website somehow looks great and Joe is happy. He works hard to publish good contents on his website, spends time & money to advertise it and starts receiving good traffic some of which converts to his customer. But one unfortunate day he finds that its time to renew his domain and hosting because the website is down and the message says its time to renew. He tries to contact Monika but can’t find her because probably she has graduated from college and has left the city. Now Joe is left with a dead website, all his little money and hard work are gone. Even worse, he will not be able to get the same domain name (website address) even if he hires someone again and pays him to recreate a website for him. This is just one example of a possible nightmarish situation that you can get by not hiring a professional.
- Expertise: Imagine you need a website for your restaurant named “Mixing Bowl”. You want the domain name www.MixingBowl.com but unfortunately, its already taken. An amateur web designer will probably suggest you to go with www.Mixing-Bowl.com or www.Mixing-Bowl.net or even worse www.MixingBowlRestaurant.com or www.MixingBowl123.com But you know what? None of them is good and should be avoided at all cost. Here are the reasons:
- A domain name should be simple, short and easy to type, this way there are more chances of people remembering and typing your website address.
- You should always avoid Hyphens (-) because people will have to search for the Hyphen on the keyboard so they will usually like to skip it. So avoid it unless it is absolutely necessary or you know what you are doing.
- You should also avoid Numbers (1234567890) in your domain names because while communicating, you will have to tell whether its numeric or characters. Ex: www.Vegan25.com or www.VeganTwentyFive.com both will sound the same. So avoid it unless it is absolutely necessary or you know what you are doing.
- So in this case I would try and see if a country specific domain is available like www.MixingBowl.in or www.MixingBowl.us But suppose you have already registered a long domain like www.MixingBowlRestaurant.com, this will be printed on your visiting card, letter heads, envelopes and other printed materials. The bad news is, nobody is going to type a domain that long and check your website unless the person has a need to check your website. So what I am trying to tell you with this example is that having a professional may cost you a bit more but in the end it will pay off and save you time and even money in the long run.
- Support: If he is a professional and has been in the business for a long time, it simply means he is serious about his work and will care about his reputation and hence your needs and comfort.
Always remember, it is better not to show up at an important party than show up in a shabby, unacceptable outlook. Similarly, it is better not to have a website than have a poor ugly looking website that destroys your image and reputation. If you are serious about what you are doing then hire a professional. If you wish to hire me, follow this link www.MonlamDesigns.com
What is a Domain Name?
Simply put, a domain name is the address that you type to open a website. Ex: www.google.com By registering a domain name, you lock the address for yourself and no one else can have it. There are people who register good domain names and then sell them at a high price to people who need them. This is another topic so let’s not get into it.
You can register your domain name on sites like Namecheap for as low as $3.98 If you are not ready yet to start a website but want to lock your domain, you can do so by registering your domain and keeping it as it is. You don’t need to build a website to keep your domain name with you.
There are different domain extensions available – .COM is just one of them but the most widely used. Other popular extensions available are:
.ORG (recommended for organizations) Ex: www.semchen.org
.NET (stands for Network) Ex: www.tibet.net
.US (stands for United States) Ex: www.neustar.us
.IN (recommended for Indian Businesses) Ex: www.TibetComputers.in
What is a Web Hosting?
When you create a website, you need a place to store the files, images etc., that is where Web Hosting comes into picture. If you just need a website and going to hire someone, that’s all you need to know. But if you are one of the curious lads, read along.
When buying a Web Hosting, cheapest is not the best. I have written a detailed article on this topic, you can read it here.
Two of the most popular Hosting Comapnies are Hostgator and Bluehost. You can get a 25% OFF on your total bill by using the coupon code HAPPYFACE25 or get the first moth of your web hosting for just one penny ($0.01) by using the coupon code SHANGRILA9 before making the payment.
What if I already have a Website?
Congratulations if you already have a website. I hope it is good but I don’t think it is because you wouldn’t be reading this if you are totally happy with your website. If you want me to review your website, simply fill out this simple request form and I will check your website when I get time and tell you what’s good, what’s bad and what you can do to improve your site. Don’t worry it’s not going to cost you anything. I am sure that helps.
In today’s word if you don’t have a website, you are missing out on a lot. What are your experiences? Do you already have a website or thinking of getting one? Leave your comments believe and we can have a helpful productive discussion going that will surely help you and others.
I would conclude with the same saying – “A business without website is like a businessman without a face.” 🙂