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Hey it’s your website answer guy and today I wanted to discuss the top 10 most frequently asked questions about websites and before even building a website. These questions and answers can come in handy if your someone looking to start your own website, or hire someone and need a template to ask questions to them.
- How much is a website?
- How long does it take to make a website?
- Should I hire someone to make my website?
- How will I update my own website?
- How do I make money with my website?
- Can I see how many visitors go to my website?
- Can I get my own email with my website?
- Can I have a shopping cart?
- How will people find my website?
- Who owns my website, me or you?
Now, this is episode 15 and it’s been nearly 3 months since I first started this podcast and blog, and I have to say I’ve already gone a long way, I think. One of the best things about my blog is that I get to document everything I practice and teach, which is a huge thing because I recently had to secure all my WordPress websites on my hosting account, because I got a note from IX Webhosting that they’ve found and cleared a piece of Malware on a clients WordPress site. My point is, I didn’t memorize every single step to securing one of my WordPress websites, so I went to my last podcast on WordPress Security and followed my own 7 steps to securing your website.
It’s kind of funny though, because I actually only followed 6 steps because the last step was to secure ALL of your WordPress websites… and I obviously didn’t do that because I was going back to do it!
Anyways, the malware was removed before it could do anything, and I have a little more security for all my sites now. For more info on securing your own WordPress website, go to http://www.markammay.com/014.
Now what are the most frequently asked website questions out there? The first question I get is…
This depends on what type of website you want, the complexity, how much control you want over it, and who is going to make it. Before I actually give anyone an actual quote, I usually ask them what their budget is. Usually if someone needs a website, they already have a budget in mind and there’s no sense in quoting something that the client can’t afford. As a Freelancer you always want to get their budget first before you quote them, and as a client you want to set your budget and see how much you are willing to pay for a website.
DIY or Do-it-yourself
In general though, getting a WordPress website up is fairly cheap if you’re willing to do it yourself (or DIY). Then you would only have to pay for the actual Web Hosting service (I use IX Webhosting), and that can cost you as low as $4 a month. They even give you a free domain name to register which will save you the hassle of trying to find another place for your domain name.
Total: less than $250
Another option is to hire me and I can do all of that stuff for you. I do charge a fee though, and if you’re willing to trade dollars for time, contact me and we can discuss your budget, what you want and even go over the basics of how to get your website up. If you already have a WordPress website up and just need some consulting, I am available for that also.
If you need something more custom or beyond any WordPress theme, hI may or may not take the job depending on the complexity of it, or may refer you to another company that could help you out. I’m already super busy with other clients and may not have time for more complex projects.
Cost: $100 – $3k depending on your budget, the urgency and complexity of your WordPress website.
Hire Someone Else
You can hire someone else to build your WrodPress website, but just make sure to ask them all the appropriate web questions and make sure you get examples of other WordPress / websites that they have made.
Cost: $2k – $3k depending on who you hire.
Again this depends on the complexity of your website and how urgent you need it. I always ask my clients how quickly they need their website up and running; whether it’s super urgent and they need it in a week, not so urgent and they need it in a month or so, or not urgent at all and they need one at some point when I’m free.
For simple blogs that use a pre-made theme with barely any customization, you can get a WordPress website up and running in less then a day. Yes, you heard it, less then a day! Because getting a WordPress website up is actually not that hard to do (especially with the one-click install that most web hosting services provide). It’s the customization of the logo placement, sidebar widgets, font colors, and all that other jazz that takes the longest.
Typically, with minor customizations such as messing with the existing options to a WordPress theme that was bought, setting your website up could take at least a few days. That means you already have a logo to use, already have content to add, and don’t have any customizations that involve something more then what the theme provides. Now, if you aren’t familiar with WordPress and themes, even just setting things up can take some time. Even with instructions attached to a theme, you still may need some help (or a lot of time) to really understand what’s going on.
Time: 1 day – 2 weeks
Complex and custom plugins
On the other end of the spectrum, if you want a WordPress website that is unique and has features that aren’t found in any of the themes or plugins out there, it may take some time to develop. But in my experience, there’s always a solution or plugin out there that you can implement, and if not, then yes you probably need some custom plugin that will cost you.
This tends to happen for companies out there that use WordPress as their CMS system but need a little more than what the default themes or plugins can provide.
Time: 1 month – 3 months
You can hire someone or some company to make your WordPress website, but that’s if you have the funds and believe that you need this to happen. My whole podcast and blog is dedicated to helping those who want to do it themselves, and for those who don’t want to fork out thousands of dollars to build a website.
No, don’t hire anyone
If you are like me and want to do things themselves, then I wouldn’t hire anyone to make my website. Instead, I might hire bits and pieces of my site for others to do, such as the logo or other graphic design work, but installing and setting WordPress would be done by me. Why? Because I know my way around WordPress and even customizing it. But even if I didn’t, I’d be willing to learn how to do it because I would want to know how to edit my own website. Logos, on the other hand, I may not know enough to make my own, or it may take me longer then I am willing to spend on creating one.
Yes, hire someone
If you would rather pay someone to install and set up your WordPress website, then do it! Some people either don’t have time or just don’t want to bother with the process. You just need to make sure that you set your own budget and find someone who knows WordPress. You also need to learn how to navigate the admin section so that you can add and edit content yourself.
Since WordPress is a CMS system, or Content Management System, you will have your own login section where you can update your own website. But to give you a better sense of how your website could be updated, and a better understanding of who could do it, here’s a few notes:
You can do minor updates such as adding posts, adjusting the settings of your theme, adding plugins and even adding users and approving comments. In the admin section of your WordPress website, you should have a lot of control already. This is where most of the updates will occur, and after your website is up and running, there shouldn’t have to be any changes made in the backend coding.
Difficulty: Very easy
Bug fixes and customization
In some instances, you or your web developer may need to access your WordPress website through FTP (or through the admin section of your WordPress) to make some changes either to fix a bug or customize the functionality. For example, if I want to remove something in the template itself, I would edit the php files in the back end. You can’t do this just from the admin section itself, unless you go to Appearance > Editor.
Difficulty: Easy to Hard
Web Server changes
You also may need to access your web server to make changes like adding emails, changing your domain to a dedicated IP Address (instead of a shared), and also accessing any hidden files on the server. You WordPress website admin section will only give you access to itself, but if you need to access other files you’ll need to have access to your web hosting server to gain FTP (alternatively by using an FTP program like FIlezilla, Dreamweaver).
Difficulty: Easy to Hard
This is a very popular question, and the most common request my clients ask me is if they can put ads on their website! The short answer is absolutely you can add advertisements on your website! But the truth is it’s not that easy. The act of putting ads up is easy, but the making money part is not so easy. The key is in your traffic and how many engaged users you have, but to learn more about this, listen to episode 12 called “What is Affiliate Marketing – How Does it Work?
In this episode I talk about the ways you can monetize through your WordPress website.
For a more general idea on how to make money online, read this.
Difficulty: Hard (it’s not as easy to make money as you thin, and takes time)
Absolutely, and you should definitely install some kind of Analytics to track how many visitors you are getting, and what they are doing. I personally recommend using Google Analytics, because it’s free and many people use it. But another analytics tool that you could use that may be easier for you is a WordPress plugin called Clicky. I don’t use this, but I have heard it was easier to use, but may cost you some money.
Things to look out for
When viewing your Analytics, you want to take note at how many unique visitors you are getting per day, as well as what pages are the most popular. There’s obviously a lot more to look at such as which landing pages are most popular and what your bounce rate is, but to start off I would recommend just keeping track of how many unique visitors you have, and what pages they visit the most. Also, keep in mind that there’s a difference between how many visits you have, and how many unique visitors you have. You can have a ton of visits, but if they’re only from 1 unique visitor then that means no one is really on your site!
Google Analytics Dashboard
You can install a WordPress plugin called Google Analytics Dashboard (if you choose to use Google Analytics), that will give you a very brief overview of your visitors and page views on your WordPress dashboard. I usually install this on client’s site so that they can quickly see how their website is doing, without having to log ion Google Analytics.
Google Analytics setup time: Less then 15 minutes
Clicky Analytics estimated time: Less then 5 minutes
Yes, and you can do this through your web server control panel. For IX Webosting, you simply click on e-mail > choose the correct domain name that you want, and create your own email address. You can even add multiple emails at once, and forward all emails to an existing email address that you have such as a gmail account or yahoo email address.
Time: Less then 5 minutes
Yes, absolutely. There are many different solutions to having your own shopping cart, from free ones to paid ones.
WordPress has plugins that integrate a shopping cart or buy now feature to your WordPress website that connects to your Paypal account or other account. Some free examples of these are Jigoshop, WooCommerce, Cart66, eShop, and WP Online Store. Out of all of these, I’ve only used Jigoshop before, and I was happy with it.
3rd Party Shopping Carts
These are basically complete solutions that integer with WordPress. Honestly I don’t have an expert opinion on which 3rd party shopping cart is the best, but I’ve heard that Magento is one of the best. Others that I’ve used myself are Volusion, BigCommerce and Shopify – and these are pretty decent but have their disadvantages as well. Also, keep in mind that these all cost money.
Optimizing your WordPress website for being seen by others is one of the most important things to do. This involves a combination of SEO, SEM, and online marketing. Most web developers out there just know how to install your WordPress website and get it up and running. But not all know how to make your website visible by search engines, other bloggers and people like you and I. To read the top 10 Ways to Promote Your Website, read this.
Search Engine Optimization in a nutshell is trying to get traffic to your website by organic search results from search engines such as google. To do this, you would use keywords that you choose, and make sure you use that keyword or keyword phrase in your URL title, page title, meta description and the body of your content. You can use WordPress plugins such as All in On eSEO and Yoast to help you with SEO.
Search Engine Marketing is basically gaining traffic through paid advertising such as Google Adwords and other Pay-per-click campaigns. In these ads, you also choose certain keywords and phrases to optimize your chances of people seeing your ad, as opposed to someone else’s.
One of the best ways to increase traffic and keep people on your website is through creating useful and engaging content through a blog. By giving away free content that people can use, you will be adding value to people as well as the internet (which in turn increases your SEO ranking).
Well, you should own your website! If you work with a web developer or company make sure that you own all the content afterwards. I’ve heard of many cases where the client paid for a website but had no idea what name the domain was under, or what website hosting service they used. After a few months or even years later, they lose touch with their web developer and don’t know what to do to update their website. Actually, the worst case scenario is that their website domain name expires or their web developer disappears and their website is gone for good. You don’t want that happening to you.
Get all Accounts Under Your Name
It’s best to purchase and maintain your own web hosting service as opposed to letting a company or individual do it themselves, so that you can ultimately have control over everything. It’s perfectly fine to let someone else take control over this, but just keep in mind that if something is not in your name, you may not have authority over it.
To view the owner of a domain name or website, you can check out http://whois.net/
Do you have a website question that you want answered? Leave a comment below and I can answer them, or you can answer someone else’s question!
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