Shop Smart – Part 1

Need a Website?

Shop Smart – Part 1

The idea for “Shop Smart” came while I was browsing through the StudioPress showcase for inspiration and found that the average price for website development ranged from $2500 to $5000 for moderate sized, semi-customized sites of 8 to 12 pages. The prices are much higher for full customization.

I don’t believe that these prices are outrageous but neither do I believe a small business or organization needs to spend a small fortune for an uncomplicated, simple and aesthetically pleasing website that is easy for visitors to use and navigate. Whether you do-it-yourself (DYI) or hire a web developer, the aim of this article is to show what’s needed and how to “Shop Smart” for a high quality yet inexpensive website.

To Shop Smart you need to know what you need, avoid the hype and take control. Recommendations are made with the aim of obtaining the highest quality product and service out of each dollar you spend.

What you need

You must first have a domain name and hosting. A domain name is the address of your website and hosting is the service you pay to hold the files of your website.

Every website starts with the domain name, without that you do not have a site. More importantly, if you as the head of your business or organization do not have control over this name, then you do not have control over your site.

Domain Name: https://www.namecheap.com/ Their prices are great, the service is great. NameCheap includes a whole load of goodies with every domain registration that other registrars don’t.

Hosting: Shared hosting works well for most small businesses and charitable organizations. The largest shared hosting companies are BlueHost, HostGator and GoDaddy which have monthly fees ranging from $4 to $10. The problem: overloaded slow servers and weak support. http://GeekGhost.net with servers in Tampa and Amsterdam is a local company is far superior. By not overloading their servers the servers perform 2 to 3 times faster than their larger brothers, plus they have phenomenal friendly support services. The kicker: small business pricing starts at $1.50 month. Server up time has been 100% since November 2012.

A domain name and hosting are often bought together, I recommend they be purchased separately for control and security reasons.

A well organized website: By far, the fastest and least expensive way to set up a powerful, well-organized website is to use a Content Management System (CMS). WordPress is the CMS of choice, it easy to use, flexible, supported by a passionate developer community, and best of all, it’s free.

A quality design: A strong visual style forms the foundation for quality in web design. It is a distinctive and highly resolved design where the total combine to achieve a unified whole. An intelligent use of design elements combine to achieve a pleasing and memorable result.
Recommendation is for a professionally designed theme from StudioPress.com which is supported, more unique and of superior quality to any free WordPress theme.

Attention current WordPress users: WordPress released version 4.2.3 in mid August. Update your website, if you haven’t already, to take advantage of the many new features, fixes and security enhancements.

Shop Smart – Part 2 will cover: mobile responsive design, performance, security and interactive features.

*Disclaimer: Unlike many web developers, I do not have any financial association with any product or vendor that I recommend.

Frank Notarianni provides affordable high quality web services for businesses, entrepreneurs, professionals and free web services for local charities. Visit http://dadecityplaces.com for more information. Tel: (305)791-4912.