Website advice

#1
Hi folks!

Just looking for some views. I contacted the local paper for information on advertising etc. We got speaking about websites. To cut it short I was told they could create a website for me using templates and they’d host it, for £40 a month over 2 years, after which time the website becomes mine.

Now I already have a domain (via godaddy) and as far as I can see, I could do my own website also using templates but for just a few pound a month opposed to £40 pm with local paper.
So I’m thinking why are they charging so much?

Anyway, I was going to create a website through go daddy since I bought my domain and my email through them however, I’ve read that Wordpress is better/more user friendly.

What I’m not sure about is whether I have web hosting already, I’m not sure if that’s automatic when you purchase the domain. If not, do I need to purchase the hosting from the same people I purchased the domain from?

Plus, I’m not sure £40pm over 2 years for a website created by templates is good value? Isn’t it possible that the local paper is just using the same templates available to me through Wordpress etc?

At this stage I’m not in any position to spend lots on a website. I just need an online presence for now as I currently only have Facebook.
 
#2
£40pm is cheap. Even for templated sites done to a decent standard. As a professional, I can say the monthly maintenance and hosting for a website from a company can cost this alone let alone building it.

Buying a domain won't include hosting. GoDaddy is terrible for hosting and their builder platform is equally as terrible. You don't have to buy hosting from the same people as your domain. I'd recommend Sitgeround, Onyx or Kinsta but you're still looking at £15-25/mo just for your hosting. You get what you pay for.

WordPress is a great system but you need to know your way around and it has a learning curve.

When people say you just need an online presence you also want to be careful about what kind of online presence you put out there. No presence can be better than a bad one. Also, why do you want an online presence? It must be for a purpose? More clients? Therefore it has value and is important to get right.

You're probably best looking at SquareSpace that is a DIY builder with a flat rate for your website per month and includes hosting etc.
 

#3
£40pm is cheap. Even for templated sites done to a decent standard. As a professional, I can say the monthly maintenance and hosting for a website from a company can cost this alone let alone building it.

Buying a domain won't include hosting. GoDaddy is terrible for hosting and their builder platform is equally as terrible. You don't have to buy hosting from the same people as your domain. I'd recommend Sitgeround, Onyx or Kinsta but you're still looking at £15-25/mo just for your hosting. You get what you pay for.

WordPress is a great system but you need to know your way around and it has a learning curve.

When people say you just need an online presence you also want to be careful about what kind of online presence you put out there. No presence can be better than a bad one. Also, why do you want an online presence? It must be for a purpose? More clients? Therefore it has value and is important to get right.

You're probably best looking at SquareSpace that is a DIY builder with a flat rate for your website per month and includes hosting etc.
Thank you so much for all that information. I’ve noted it all down. Regarding squareSpace and Wordpress. I’ve found online info which shows Wordpress as the most popular and user friendly. The chap who write the article also gives step by step instructions on how to use Wordpress for building a website.

Am I correct in thinking Wordpress can also be the host? As well as a DIY website builder? And would you still recommend square space above this?

I’d love for clients to be able to book online too but I’m concerned I’d have little control over that. For example, I wouldn’t want a client booking an appointment for in half an hours time or a couple of hours time. If I could set that in such a way that clients can only book in advance by 12 hours then I’d be interested. The thought of thinking I have no clients then nipping out to do the shopping and someone books in with me having to rush home I’d want to avoid. I’m assuming I can set the booking system up to avoid that without having to constantly go in and say I’m not here for the next 2 hours etc? So the purpose of a website would be so that people could find me and contact me and (provided I can stipulate advance bookings of 12hrs or more) to also book in without disturbing me whilst with clients. So yes I certainly see the value.

If i did build my own website via Wordpress or squarespace with hosting etc all thrown in, wouldn’t it still work out a lot cheaper than £40pm? Or is it your advice that I’d be better sticking with the local papers website option? I think I’m just very wary for two reasons 1) I don’t know enough to know what questions I should be asking and 2) I’m not keen in salespersons . But if the website is actually going to help get people booking in then I’m happy to pay £40pm. I think I’m just nervous at spending so much every month without knowing if it will actually make a difference in terms of booking.
 
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#4
Thank you so much for all that information. I’ve noted it all down. Regarding squareSpace and Wordpress. I’ve found online info which shows Wordpress as the most popular and user friendly. The chap who write the article also gives step by step instructions on how to use Wordpress for building a website.

Am I correct in thinking Wordpress can also be the host? As well as a DIY website builder? And would you still recommend square space above this?

I’d love for clients to be able to book online too but I’m concerned I’d have little control over that. For example, I wouldn’t want a client booking an appointment for in half an hours time or a couple of hours time. If I could set that in such a way that clients can only book in advance by 12 hours then I’d be interested. The thought of thinking I have no clients then nipping out to do the shopping and someone books in with me having to rush home I’d want to avoid. I’m assuming I can set the booking system up to avoid that without having to constantly go in and say I’m not here for the next 2 hours etc? So the purpose of a website would be so that people could find me and contact me and (provided I can stipulate advance bookings of 12hrs or more) to also book in without disturbing me whilst with clients. So yes I certainly see the value.

If i did build my own website via Wordpress or squarespace with hosting etc all thrown in, wouldn’t it still work out a lot cheaper than £40pm? Or is it your advice that I’d be better sticking with the local papers website option? I think I’m just very wary for two reasons 1) I don’t know enough to know what questions I should be asking and 2) I’m not keen in salespersons . But if the website is actually going to help get people booking in then I’m happy to pay £40pm. I think I’m just nervous at spending so much every month without knowing if it will actually make a difference in terms of booking.
WordPress can be the host but it's a more limited version of WordPress (long story) so you'll need your own separate hosting. WordPress isn't really a DIY platform in my opinion. Can you build your own site on it? Absolutely. But it really depends how much time you have to learn it and get to grips with things like plugins, HTML & CSS. It's easy to get wrong. It's not something you can whip up in a day if you have no knowledge in the field in my opinion. It isn't drag and drop for building the site.

WordPress is the most popular platform. It powers 33% of the internet however user-friendly depends exactly on what elements you are speaking about really. In terms of keeping the content updated, it's user-friendly. In terms of building from scratch, I wouldn't say so. You could buy a premium theme from Theme Forest but they are often bloated (full of rubbish code) and you will spend a lot of time learning all the options etc.

Online booking is normally straight forward. You pick a platform of your choice and just drop a snippet of code into your site. It's easy to set don't book appointments within X amount of hours. I normally recommend Ovatu.com.

Squarespace is going to cost you around £15/mo. On the face of it, yes, they are cheaper but it depends what you value your time as because it may take you a while (squarespace quicker than WP) :)
As a pro, I can easily spend 3-4 weeks on a project.

I wouldn't trust what the local paper does. Call me cynical but they could produce a load of rubbish. For something they're charging £40/mo for they aren't going to be spending much time on it, I can assure you of that. There are so many web designers/agencies out there of varying quality and budget to suit almost anyone.

Realistically, a DIY website isn't going to instantly make a difference to your bookings and nor would a pro site. A professional would know a few tricks of the trade to help make the site search engine friendly faster but it's nothing you can't learn yourself with time if you're inclined to do so. The thing with a website is it's not going to get you more bookings unless you market it correctly - normally with paid ads - they aren't magic bullets :)
 

#5
Thank you. Its tricky knowing what to do. Maybe I’d be better waiting til the first year if business is through so I’ve got more funding. I’m reluctant to spend too much when I’m still paying off costs. What the newspaper are offering is what they call a Quick Web. It’s 4 pages with hosting. I think she said there would be 4 or 5 keywords they could use and I’d have to pay £150 deposit too with the £40 pm for 2 years. I might be better waiting and looking up website design businesses first and getting an idea of what they can do. It’s just knowing where to begin. Ugh.
 

Redduck

Well-Known Member
#6
I'd really recommend getting a website done professionally. I started off creating my own but it was only when I got mine done properly by @BannerPenguin that I saw a massive increase in traffic and bookings. Lovely guy to work with too - totally recommend him.
 

#7
I'd really recommend getting a website done professionally. I started off creating my own but it was only when I got mine done properly by @BannerPenguin that I saw a massive increase in traffic and bookings. Lovely guy to work with too - totally recommend him.
Banner penguin as in the same person responding to these posts?
 

#9
Hi, if you don't want to spend a lot of money and you already have Facebook why don't you create a listing a Google local business, with that they give you a very basic free website (actually more like a couple of webpages) that you can link back to your Facebook and allow clients to book via there. I can't give you any advice on Facebook booking system as I don't use it myself I just know it's available.
Also with Google local business it's free advertising and comes up on the top of a search page x

As for website I use Wix, it's very easy to use and people like it and think it's been done professionally but you do get what you pay for so it's obviously not as good as some professional sites although probably better than others lol it's basically just a template and you add to it. Reminds me of word with a little but of publisher thrown in lol

I originally bought my domain from Go daddy and brought it across to Wix which is relatively easy to do.

From my understanding of wordpress, there's actually two wordpress, one hosts and ones a platform or something like that tbh it was all very confusing so although I had heard wordpress was the best I decided to bypass it as I think it's only the best for people who understand coding and all that jazz which I definitely don't. I did try learning about it but is just went over my head.

You do have to be careful as been mentioned before it's better to have no website than a substandard one.

Why don't you go to Wix and have a play about with their free websites. They are virtually the same you just can't attach your domain to it and have to use one of their wixsite ones which will be something like www.janedoe.wixsite/mysalon.com

Once you have your website you then have to optimise it for SEO, it's never ending. Sometimes I think I should of saved the hassle and gone down the professional route. It is doable on a budget but it will take a lot of time and effort. After a year I have managed to get my site to the top of the search engines for my chosen keywords but it's not a case of once you are there you are there. You have to keep on top of it otherwise you will slip down the search results. Don't just rely on Google as well especially after today's announcement re them being fined for controlling the market, bing is important too and then there's all the other sites like yelp..yell..trustpilot..... Seriously it never stops and a good web designer/SEO expert is probably worth their weight in gold x
 

#10
I find most clients these days use FB. If you are visiting an area and need to book a blow dry the customers are going to google search and tying hair salons in 'Cambridge' then all the FB salons appear as a list with a map. It would cost thousands for the website to be ranked highly on google. But FB is the best way forward and FREE. You can also then use a book now button on FB for your clients. This can then be hooked up to a booking calendar. I use get slick. I wasted a fortune on having a website developed a few years ago and hit had very few hits. Whereas clients always use Fb and those that don't it doesn't matter because if its a public page anyone can view it.
 
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