How Much Does it Cost to Build a WordPress Website?

How Much Does it Cost to Build a WordPress Website?

“As in, how much does it really cost???”

The quick answer?  It depends entirely on your budget. While the WordPress CMS (content management software) is free, the cost of the rest your website’s components will depend on your goals.

WordPress is open source software and is free for anyone to download and use. It is contributed to by tens of thousands of developers all over the world and is constantly updated to stay current with advances in technology.

The cost of your WordPress website comes from its other components, which can be generalized as follows:

Domain Name

As we’ve discussed on our previous post, the domain name is your website’s address on the Internet. New domain names generally cost about $15. Domains that have high potential commercial value can range anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars.

Web Hosting

Every website needs web hosting to run the software and store your files. With WordPress websites, it’s best to get web hosting companies that have servers specialized for WordPress.

The cost of WordPress web hosting depends on your requirements. It can range anywhere from $2.99 per month for personal sites to $200+ per month for dedicated hosting. Good business web hosting usually range from $10 to $60 per month.

Web Design

Custom web design costs normally range anywhere from $500 to $5,000, again depending on artistic and functional considerations.

Theme

There are tons of free WordPress themes available that you can use. However, for business sites you want something more advanced with more functionalities. There are premium themes you can purchase with more advanced features. You can also have one custom made, which it will be more expensive.

Premium themes usually cost between $49 to less than $200. Custom made themes can run into the thousands of dollars, depending on their complexity.

Plugins and Extensions

There are more than 40,000 free plugins for WordPress. Each plugin can have multiple extensions or apps that advance or increase their capabilities. There are plugins for website features like contact forms, picture galleries, calendars, social media, ecommerce and many more.

Premium plugins or extensions for free plugins can cost anywhere from $5 to hundreds of dollars.

Software Updates

The advantage of having a WordPress website is it’s always being updated as Internet technology advances. For this reason, software updates is one more cost component to consider in building a WordPress website.

Except for domain name, all the other components need to be updated regularly. Good theme and plugin developers constantly improve their products through software updates. They’re updated every few days to every few months. Web hosting companies also regularly update their server software.

When you purchase a premium WordPress theme or plugin, developers usually provide support and updates for a one year period. Some provide for 6 months or less. You will need to renew your premium themes and plugins every year if you want your website to remain current and secure.

Summing Up

You can build a WordPress website with just a domain name and web hosting, especially if you’re technically savvy. But if you want a functioning business website, you will have to spend a little on themes and plugins.

 

Choosing a Domain Name for Local Business

Choosing a Domain Name for Local Business

“It makes sense for your domain name to be the same as your brand name.  But it’s not so easy to get. ”
It seems simple enough, but there are many factors to consider in choosing your domain name. Here are the relevant ones:

Availability

This is the most important consideration because it doesn’t matter how good your domain name is if it’s not available.

Distinct

The best way of increasing the chances of getting the domain name you want is to have a distinct business name. A good domain name is composed of a unique term and a word related to your industry. For example, if your business is a restaurant specializing in gourmet dishes, you can get a domain name like yourbrandgourmet.com, or yourbrandcafe.com, or yourbrandbistro.com. If the domain is not available, adding your location such as your district or city initials may just do the trick.

Relevant

If your business name is unique but it’s hard to know to what industry you belong, then you need to add a term that makes your domain name relevant to people searching for your product or service. Potential customers will go to your website if they have a good idea you’re offering the product they’re looking for.

Easy to Remember

A good deal of business is generated through word of mouth, so make it easy for people to type your web address when customers recommend you to others. Domain names with random numbers or hyphens are harder to remember and prone to be misspelled. In general the shorter the name the better, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. For example, davescatering.com is better than davescateringservices.com, but davesctrng.com is not a good one. When choosing between two domain names of similar quality, choose the shorter one.

Domain Extension

Should you use .com, .net, .org, .biz, or .info, etc.? The .com domain is still the best one for business because it’s trusted and the most common. The .org extension has the most trust but it’s generally used for large institutions while .net generally refers to online resources for teaching and research. Other domain extensions such as .biz, .pro, .info are less trusted and are at a disadvantage for search engine results (they generally get low rankings).

Summing Up

You may think picking a domain name is hard now because all the “good” ones are taken. Well, you’re right. But since your business is unique, you can find a good, relevant and specific domain name that’s a perfect match for your brand.  

5 Digital Marketing Strategies to Drive Visitors to Your Store

5 Digital Marketing Strategies to Drive Visitors to Your Store

Digital strategies provide some of the best opportunities to drive foot traffic and in-store sales, yet many marketers under-utilize their potential. Here are 5 things you can do immediately to take advantage of your digital channels:

1. Improve the areas of your website that are business-related.

Your would-be customers online are already on the lookout for information to help them decide to visit your store.

Make sure your branch locator is up-to-date and easy to use, especially for mobile users. Can it be easily located on your header or navigation bar? If not, potential customers might get turned off and go elsewhere.

Improve individual menu highlight pages on your website. They reflect the desirability and attraction of your offers. Check if you have uninspiring design elements, jumbled directories or bland listings.

Make sure all the information your customers need are found on these pages. At the least, these should include your address, contact details and opening hours.

The best pages provide:

• An interactive map
• Driving and transportation directions
• Parking information
• Access and mobility info for persons with disability
• Good photographs
• In-store events
• Social media links
• Basic staff information

Add additional information that customers will find useful. Unleash your creative juices and find a way to make your content so interesting that viewers would want to visit your store.

2. Optimize for Local Search

There are big opportunities for local businesses to optimize their site for local search. If you have unique offers, people looking for it on their mobile devices are most likely in the vicinity. They may need just a little push from your page to make them visit your store.

Say you have a restaurant. A family shopping for clothes at a store nearby decides to have lunch. When they search for restaurants on their mobile, Google and other search engines will automatically list dining places in your area. If you’ve done local search optimization to put your restaurant on page one, then you have the best chance for that family to click your site and see what’s on your menu. They are customers to be had if you make the effort.

Confirm this for yourself. Go to your store and search for your product or service on your mobile phone. Does your store come up in results? When you click on your link, do you land on your website?

3. Offer Click and Collect Items

If you don’t offer Click and Collect, it’s time to start now. You don’t need to have an online payment system to do this. You can offer discount coupons or other items that customers can redeem at your store when they visit. Local research have consistently reported retailers getting 15% to 25% additional sales when they have this facility.

You don’t have to be a multi-city operation to benefit from this type of promotion. While there are some advantages in economies of scale, even single-location stores can do this promotion effectively and profitably. You may already have the digital channels to implement click and collect. If not, there are many ways to get one easily and on budget.

Tip: Take payment online and not on collection. You don’t need to ask for full payment to get customers to collect their order.

4. Mobilize Your Social Media fans

If you’ve been in business for a while, you’re likely to have fans who are ready to engage with your brand, and have their permission to market to them.

• Motivate them to visit your business by offering a social coupon. One that can be shared with friends, downloaded or printed out, then brought to your store for redemption. It’s one way to take an online interaction into real world sales.

• Post positive experiences that your customers had on social media. Show your viewers what a great time they had at your store. People will readily empathize with positive experiences when they see them.

• Your business benefits a great deal when social media viewers see people having meaningful life interactions at your place. Share these moments at your store on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to create positive buzz about your business.

• Keep your fans updated on any in-store promotion or event via email and social media. Highlight any perks or exclusive offers that can only be redeemed in-store. Best results are achieved when you target your posts based on customer demographics, location and purchase history. This is particularly effective if you have multiple branches and you’re having an event at only one branch. Emphasize this event in your email or post to people in that area to get best results.

5. Measure What Works

It’s very important to implement a method of tracking the success of your digital marketing strategies.

• Rather than using number of page visits, impressions or likes, focus on metrics that lead to actual sales. These measurements should be based on specific customer actions.

• Where did your web visitors come from? How do you differentiate online visitors who just came to see from those who are actually looking to buy?

• Who are your loyal customers? What are their favorite orders? What brings them to visit your store again and again?

You can get accurate answers to these questions by measuring the right metrics from the torrent of data available at your website. If you use Google Analytics you get the added benefit of getting them for free.

Tip: Time spent on your site is a good indicator of interest for your offers. See which pages visitors lingered the most. Find out how visitors came to arrive at these pages.

What’s important for marketers is to leverage the data they capture in the right way to improve in-store visits and actual purchases. Don’t get caught in big data hype. Focus on context and buyer behaviors. It’s only through improved decision making that business owners and marketers begin to see a return on their investments.

Domain Name is an Extension of Brand Identity

Domain Name is an Extension of Brand Identity

“Every business owner should own the domain name of their website. It’s basic marketing because your domain name is an extension of your brand identity.”

Domain Ownership is Serious Business

Domain names have many strict rules to ensure its security. Set up your domain information correctly the first time you register, so you don’t scramble at the last minute when a need arises for you to confirm ownership. It will be hard to reach you or prove your identity if you don’t have the correct information on file.

That said, it’s still good practice to keep your contact information confidential by getting a service for domain privacy, which many web hosting companies provide. This will make sure that the only people contacting you are those who have legitimate business for doing so.

At its basic level, the domain name is your website’s address online. The Internet’s location system is based on the IP (Internet Protocol) address. This is a unique string of 4 numbers separated by periods (ex. 65.102.0.21).

Since it’s impractical for most people to remember numbers to go to their favorite websites, scientists created the domain system to assign a unique name to each IP address.

Builds Trust for Your Business

Having a domain name that matches your brand adds credibility and trust to your business. The web address of a business site published through a free web service would look something like this: www.freewebservice/yourbrand/. While a site with a domain name that you own, and published through a paid web hosting service would look like this: www.yourbrand/.

See the difference? A free website address looks exactly like it is – cheap. It doesn’t inspire much confidence from your would-be customer about the credibility of your business.

You need to earn the trust of people online. If you’re not willing to pay for and register your own domain name, why would visitors think you’re brand is trustworthy?

Expands Awareness for Your Brand

If you’re in a highly competitive industry, you may opt to have a domain name that includes your niche, specialization, or business concept added to your brand.

It can help you attract the type of audience that closely resembles your customer profile. The type of people who would likely purchase or avail of your products and services.

For example, a restaurant specializing in gourmet dishes can get a domain name of cafebrandgourmet.com or bistrobrandgourmet or something similar.

A person online looking to dine at a restaurant with this type of dish in mind would likely be attracted to your domain name. While search engine results are hard to predict, your brand could show up more frequently when someone looks for information about your business niche .

Forward Thinking With Advances in Technology

Owning your domain name shows you’re forward thinking when it comes to emerging digital technologies. When you keep your website up-to-date, people will associate your brand for being current with technology advances as well.

Of course the reverse is also true. How many local business websites have you seen look old and out-dated? From my experience, a good number of them is due to the domain name being owned by a web designer, or someone else who does not care if the brand suffers credibility.  .

Owning your domain name enables you to march in-step with technology for the future of your business. Your brand identity is locked-in because no matter how your website changes over time, your domain name remains the same.