Your domain name is also known as a URL and looks something like this: www.YOURNAME.com /.net /.biz /.info /.tv /.org. /.ws /.cc /.bz, etc...
Your industry dot something - your company's address for potential visitors to find you on the world wide web. Pricing starts at $9.00 a year.
Before purchasing a domain name, read the Search Engine section to choose wisely for higher rankings. Purchase your new domain name
If your company does not own a server then you'll need somewhere for your web site to reside. Web hosting companies sell server space at a rate that is more cost-effective than purchasing your own server.
We highly recommend Host Gator. All of Webmaster For Hire's business accounts are managed through Host Gator's Reseller account. Their technical support is the best we've experienced in the 11 years in business.
Host Gator Packages start at $3.96/mos and include auto-install for WordPress web site. The basic shared plan is just what most new site owners need with no add-ons. Click here to view Host Gator Plans
Web Site Design
Build your actual web site. Your web site needs to have a design that is suited for your products/service offerings and for your customers. It should have a professional look and not appear to be an art project that your toddler created.
There are a few options for getting a site design for any budget (including zero budget).
Free Themes: If you have a budget of $0.00, then using a template, also called "theme", is your best bet for a WordPress site. Wordpress is a blogging program that can be set up quickly and easily to be used as a full website. Wordpress is free and, if you have Host Gator hosting, you can install it as quickly as clicking a link in their control panel (look for the Fantastico section). Additionally, you can install easily a free template from their selection of over 1,300 designs.
If you want to build your own site outside of WordPress, you can always buy a low cost template. You are purchasing one page of code and all the images included in the template that you see in the preview. You then build your site from that one page of code. Having Dreamweaver or hiring an outourced web person will be needed if you do not know code. BasicTemplates offers "quality, easy-to-edit website templates using external cascading style sheets and interchangeable graphics."
Paid Themes: Wordpress designs are called "themes". If you install the program, search through the free themes and find that none appeal to your desire, then you can purchase themes. We, at Webmaster For Hire, use StudioPress as a layout base for our sites. They have themes you can use without modification and their layouts are all modified through the WordPress site with little to no coding needed. On Elizabeth's part-time site, S.A. Fashion Police.com, she used "StudioPress Magazine Child Theme" as the layout for this popular fashion site.
Hire a Web Designer: There are many options for you to hire a professional to build your site for you. Prices vary for each option. You'll want to have a consultation or research reviews on each of the below.
- Odesk - find an outsource professional. Professionals are national and international. Webmaster For Hire uses Odesk for building our virtual assistant team. You sign up for a free account as a buyer (Hire). Then post a job on what you're looking for and be as specific and detailed as possible. Then contractors will bid on your job. You should read all reviews of the bidders and interview every professional to choose wisely.
- Get a 99designs.com site build. 99designs.com is an Australian company that offers low-budget designs for web sites and logos. Their web sites start at $495 and have a delivery of one week. They are the winners of the 2010 People's Voice Award Webby Winner in the Web Services & Applications Category.
- Of course, at Webmaster For Hire we have successfully created custom design for our clients successfully since 2000. Our prices begin at $3,000 for custom design web sites. We are, also, the creators of this site and all its information.
E-commerce (electronic commerce) simply means your store on the internet. Doing business selling products or selling services all falls under the e-commerce category. You need to be able to collect payments.
- Merchant or Virtual Merchant Account
It is in your best interest to be able to accept credit cards online. We recommend using PayPal for collecting funds for products and services. Ebay uses PayPal for payments and your customers do not need a PayPal account to pay you by credit card. They have an option to pay from credit card directly. You can also do autopay for recurring payments. Cost is $0.00 to setup. To receive payments from a web page, you need a business account. The fees start at 2.9% + $0.30 USD per transaction.
USA Today says that services like PayPal are "Helpful for home businesses" and "If you run an auction or a small Web site selling homemade items, you can request payment via PayPal. Just fill in the payment information, and send it out like a bill." Read the article here.
- Checks by Phone, Fax or Internet
Accepting checks is just as important as credit cards, though you rarely hear much about it. For those consumers who either do not use credit cards or who currently have their credit cards at the maximum limit, you'll want to offer another means of payment. Offering a 'mail in' format is good for those afraid to give their credit card numbers online. However, it doesn't help those impulse buyers who want to process the sell now. PayPal also offers this feature for online. We don't have any specific recommendations for "By Phone or By Fax", you'll have to search online if this is your desired form of payment.
Toll Free Phone Number - Fax Numbers
Toll Free Phone Numbers (800#) - Getting a toll free number is great for businesses who receive calls from others outside their city limits. Basically, if you want prospects to call you, you should make it easier for them. Remember it's "toll free" for them - not for you. Get toll-free or local phone numbers. 6 Month Free TrialPlans start at $12.95/mos.
Fax Number - Yes, people still send faxes. If you find your business needs to have faxing capabilities but do not want to buy a machine, then you can purchase a service for as low as $7.95/month with MetroFax. Email Fax Service.
Virtual offices offer great benefits.
If you are in USA, a virtual office gives you someone answering your phones, forward your mail, have a professional appearance and/or have a prime real estate/location address. They allow you to have a home office without your customers knowing it. Many have conference room centers for local virtual offices.
If you're outside the USA, in addition to the above benefits you get USA postal address and Americans answering your phone.
Recommended programs: For Mail Forwarding only, starting at $9.95/month we recommend Mailbox Forwarding.
Virtual Assistants can save you lots of time in your business day. They can do anything from writing content for your site or sales letter, sending out regular emails to your list, increase your links on other sites back to your own link, build your social network following to graphic design, telemarketing, customer service and more.
As mentioned earlier, we at Webmaster For Hire
have built our team using Odesk
Team members are located both in the USA and outside in other countries. See the above Web Site Design for tips on joining and hiring an outsource.
Benchmark Email, Aweber and I-Contact are three preferred online email marketing programs. All three have an RSS Blog sending feature that means your new posts to your blog will be sent to your email list(s) automatically. I-Contact, for lists under 500 contacts, it's FREE! Can't beat that. 1-2-3's of Internet Marketing uses Benchmark Email for its ease of use.
Print Materials Every piece of stationary should have your web address on it. Letterhead, business cards, envelopes, flyers and brochures. Everything should include your web address. For low cost printing, Printing For Less. Bonus, get $25 off your first order. Use coupon code MC25J09 at checkout.
We'll teach you about PPC (Pay-per-click) advertising in the Internet Marketing Strategies area. Until then, know that the budgets to expect currently are:
FaceBook - $100s/mos
Google - $1,000s/mos
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