I have a wonderful idea for a new business that I believe is going to be quite successful. I know I have to get a website going and jump in with both feet into social media with the blogs I have started but the branding and website development are holding me back. Where do I get started? Can you refer me to a good graphic designer and web builder that won’t cost me an arm and a leg?
Jay’s Answer: You have a couple of options: hire someone to do it for you or create the website (at least the first version) yourself.
However, before you create a website, you really should consider a strategy for making your business succeed. Having a website and blogging won’t by themselves create website traffic. You need to identify who is likely to want to buy your offering, why they’d choose you (instead of your competition), etc. The basics of this are covered in my article: http://www.manygoodideas.com/2008/10/01/unpeeling-your-marketing-onion/
If you’ve done your strategy homework, then you have a good idea of the problems these people face, the language they use, the images they like, and the offer they’d react to. Using this information will create a website that resonates with your audience and is more likely to create sales for you. If you skip this step, you’ll get a web designer’s idea of what they think your website should look like – and not a marketing professional’s.
You can hire people locally (who you can meet face-to-face) or globally (www.elance.com, www.guru.com, etc.). But be warned: the true cost of a website isn’t in its creation – it’s in maintenance. Be willing to pay for each revision you make to your designer.
If you can, create your own website (or have a designer create a CMS-based website for you) using WordPress, Zoomla, iWeb, etc. Make sure whatever choice you make you use your own domain name (not: mycompany.freewebsite.com) to ensure that your visitor’s first impression is favorable.