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Most business owners know that having a website is imperative to keep up today however, it’s a much more in-depth project than one may think. While we are able to help you put together a website that showcases your business, we also try to keep within your budget.

There are two main keys to having a website, picking your domain and your Content Management System (CMS) or builder. Your domain is your website’s address. This is a yearly expense, typically at a minimal cost. You can pick up a domain address at a variety of places including Google, Go Daddy, Name Cheap, domains.com and many others. Your domain should relate to your business in some way, such as the name of your company or a shortened version of your business name for consistency and continuity in your brand. You can have a domain without having a website yet, you just want to be sure to pay the yearly fee to keep the domain active in your name. If you lose your domain address, you may be able to retrieve it, but it will most likely be at a higher cost. We recommend if you find a domain name that you like, to purchase it when you find it because it may need to be adjusted or changed completely to remain within your budget.

The CMS or builder is either a monthly or yearly expense depending on the platform you like the visuals of. While we typically work with two main builders, WordPress and Wix, there are many to choose from including: Go Daddy’s Site Builder, Shopify, Squarespace, Website Builder, and Drupal to name a few. While each of these come with a different cost associated with them, the key difference will be the overall look and ease of editing the site. At Symbiotic Marketing, our goal is to create a site that you will be proud of so building your site on a CMS you are comfortable using and like the look of is key.

When looking to have a website built, you will want to ask yourself a few questions before deciding on a CMS that will work for you:

What is the purpose of your site? Is it to sell goods online? Is it to direct individuals to learn more about your services and how to get in touch with you? Do you want to be able to accept payments through your website for goods or services? Understanding how you want your website to perform may narrow your search for the CMS that will work best for you.

Do you need to update the site frequently? This includes adding products to your online store and posting blogs. If you need access to the backend frequently, you will want to use a builder you feel comfortable with using.

Is it more important to you to have something within your budget or something that may be an investment but will last long? You can change your CMS any time you like as your budget increases but remember the time investment spent on building the site. Whether you choose to build the site yourself or have someone else do it, time is our greatest commodity.

We also recommend checking out websites of others in your field to see what their sites include, how they look, and what you like or do not like about those sites. This can help you formulate a plan of how you want your site to look and interact with visitors. From building a website from scratch to updating your site to better suit your business’s needs, determining the CMS that will work best for what you want is an important first step before designing processes can begin.

In the designing process, we prefer to begin with the menu first, that is the number of pages you need or want and the layout of those pages. This may be a simple three to four page menu – Home, About, Goods/Services, and Contact or may include more such as Testimonials, Shopping, Blog, or even pages showcasing your different areas of expertise within your business. The more pages associated with your site; the more time needed to develop those pages for visitors. When designing your site, you will want to ensure it is easy to use for visitors as well as maintaining your brand’s appearance. Remember, the more someone has to continue clicking to get what they want, they are less likely to act so it is best to keep the site clean and easy to use.

Once the site is ready to launch, you will want to connect your domain to the site you have built. This tells the address where to go. You will also need to tell the CMS to publish the page or site you have been working on for it to go live.

When we work with a business to build or update a website, our goal is to create a site that you can be proud of, will work for what you need, and remains within budget however, the cost associated is highly dependent upon the size of the site and what you want it to do. Typically, a website takes 5-10 working hours to design but can easily take longer if you have more to showcase. If you choose to build the site yourself, you may need to allow more time to reach that end result. Remember, building a website is an investment but having a website for your business is almost imperative in today’s society.