The 5 Steps for Going Online and
Growing Your Business Online
There are five main considerations to keep in mind when it comes to going online. Only the first three are required for immediately putting a site online. The final two steps are required afterward. Here are each of the steps:
- Domain name (ex: Godaddy.com) – $15 or less per year for a ‘normal’ domain name. Some domain names can cost five figures others can cost millions. As a small business owner you are unlikely to need one of the available high-end (aka high cost) premium domain names. Often “yourcompanyname.com” or a variation of that name is sufficient.
- Hosting. This refers to hiring a company like Hostgator.com to ‘host’ all the files and images your site delivers to the world. The cost can be as little as $15 per month, or less*
- Design and Content. $0 to $1200. Writing your own content in-house costs nothing out of pocket. Costs your time. Or the time of internal staff who you are likely paying already. Competitive custom design package rates for small business sites range between $300 and $1200, depending upon complexity and technical requirements. This is a one-time fee, if you go that route. Generally the higher the fee the better the bells and whistles. Quality pre-designed “premium” themes can cost as little as $29. And there are free designs available too (there are only a few free designs I consider ‘safe’ for small business owners to use). So in essence you can have a site up and running without spending a penny on web design–if you don’t mind DIY or a “cookie cutter” look (not recommended).
- Marketing – on site, offsite, and visitor conversion.
– SEO – $0 if handled internally. Or a few hundred dollars, a few thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars if outsourced.
– PPC/Adwords – a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Your budget varies according to your objectives. A minimum monthly five figure budget is ideal when working with an agency. But for self-sufficiency your budget can be as low or as high as you want to invest (ie spend) advertising your business
– Visitor Tracking and Conversion — the tools for this are free in case of using Google provided services (recommended) or can cost thousands of dollars per month for services like infusionsoft.com (highly recommended only if you are directly selling or preselling products or services online). True automation costs over $2500 per month at the highest level of service. As low as $199 per month for basic services (not recommended). Conversion tracking is best left for some other post. Get a Google Webmaster account as a start. Tracking tools are available for free. DISCLOSURE: I’m a Google Ad Agent. My recommendation may be biased. But I don’t think so because I do not receive any compensation of any kind for recommending Google’s free services.
- Maintenance/Management – $0 if handled internally and augmented to existing staff responsibilities ie increase staff workload without increasing current staff pay. If handled in-house there are often zero additional expenses to maintain your site. After all you are already paying yourself or your existing staff. If you do not want to add burden to yourself or staff outsourcing these activities can cost as little as $97 per month for the most basic of activities to $3,000 or more per month to keep your site updated and secure and marketed. Maintenance/Management fees vary according to workload and market demand. Of course, these low rates are for simple small business websites. More complex sites require a greater commitment.
Lets do some math
Assuming you are reading because you are small business owner or decision maker determining how to get the