Building your first website – a guide for small business owners


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Presentation by Allan Chao for Small Business Week, San Francisco May 16, 2012

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Building your first website – a guide for small business owners

  1. 1. Allan ChaoStartup ConsultantStartup V8allan@startupv8.comSan Francisco Small Business Week 2012
  2. 2. The Agenda Website Planning… Budget and Time Components to a website DIY Website - Ways to build a website yourself  Comparison of tools  Wordpress walkthrough How to Hire a Freelancer Website building process and companies
  3. 3. Websites… before we start Think about your target budget first!!!  $0 = Ask a friend to do it for free… (more on this later)  $10-$100 = Do-It-Yourself website building tools  $500-2500 = Individual freelancer  $1500-7500 = Full service company  $20,000+ = Hire someone full time in-house Also think about your target timeline  2-6 weeks = Full service company  2-3 months = freelancer  3-6 months = a friend doing it for free You get what you put into it (money, time, effort)
  4. 4. Components to a Website Domain Registration … $10/year  = the data record of who owns what virtual property Email … (free with google apps)  = what happens to an email to Web Hosting … $10/month  = actual physical server cost, with hard drives, networking, and electricity Web code … depends on type. WP is free  = the HTML, PHP, or anything else that happens when the website is accessed by a visitor
  5. 5. DIY Website Building Advantages:  FREE! (or very low cost)  Total ownership  Change content at your will  Easy? (if tech-savvy) Disadvantages:  Lots to learn  Most time consuming  Always template-based, not customizable  Must be moderately tech-savvy
  6. 6. DIY Website Building Tools Best and the worst… based on ease of use, flexibility  Best   Medium  Wix  Weebly  SquareSpace  MoonFruit  Worst   Vistaprint Instant Website  GoDaddy Website Tonight
  7. 7. What is Wordpress? Wordpress.ORG  A free, open-source platform. Managed and improved by the goodwill of many programmers around the world.  Built for all (simple) websites, NOT just blogs.  Easy to use, but requires installation Wordpress.COM  A company (for profit) that makes it simpler to get started with wordpress.  Free to start, but charges for “add-ons”  Can be limiting, and doesn’t have the full flexibility of Wordpress.ORG
  8. 8. Let’s Build a Basic WP Website Are we going to learn HTML? NO!!! For this example, we’ll use Any ideas for the topic?  Choose a template design Write some basic content, add a picture or two Add a contact form We’re done!
  9. 9. Step 1 - home
  10. 10. Step 2 - signup
  11. 11. Step 3 – theme
  12. 12. Step 4 – dashboard
  13. 13. Step 5 – editing
  14. 14. Step 6 – site is live
  15. 15. Hiring a Freelancer Finding a Freelancer  Craigslist   Online web browsing ($$$)  Online freelancer sites: (high risk for the non-technical)  RentaCoder  Odesk  Elance  In-person Networking and Referrals  Most Common Mistake: Having someone you know do it for free (or for almost nothing)  Never finishes  Low quality  Eventually end up re-doing it completely
  16. 16. Questions to ask a Freelancer What area do you specialize in, and who does the rest?  Graphic Design = the look and feel  Programming = the code  Marketing = the search engine placement  Copywriting = the content on the site What CMS platform do you recommend (if any)?  Wordpress – popular, but not a silver bullet  Joomla / Drupal / dotnet  None Project cost and timeline? Most importantly, ask yourself: Do you trust them?
  17. 17. Common Freelancer Pitfalls Strength in a single skill, weak in others  Great designers don’t program!  Great programmers don’t design!  Neither designers nor programmers do marketing! Jack of all trades, master of none  Mutually exclusive skill sets…  E.g. auto mechanic vs paint job Poor project planning  Goes over budget in both time and money  Constantly feel “out of the loop”
  18. 18. Why use a Company? Specialists in every area  Architecture and platform  User interface design  Graphic design  Programming  Copywriting  Marketing  SEO (organic)  SEM (keyword bidding)  Ad Networks (display ads, banner ads) More expensive, but better results Better as a long term investment
  19. 19. Getting people to your website After you finish building your website, what’s next? Traffic! Marketing  Offline Marketing  Print the URL on your business cards, flyers, etc.  Newspaper, Radio, TV ads  Online Marketing  SEO = Search Engine Optimization  SEM (PPC) = Search Engine Marketing (Pay-Per-Click)
  20. 20. Google Search
  21. 21. SEO = Search Engine Optimization aka “organic” listings “I want to be on the top of Google!” For small businesses, target “long-tail” keywords. E.g. “San Francisco flood repair”, not “flood repair” Very complex algorithms, constant changes Can be very challenging, depending on market saturation “Guaranteed rankings” are “blackhat”! Google will ban the site! Trust is very important, fraud/cheating is pervasive
  22. 22. SEM = Search Engine Marketing aka Keyword advertising Google Adwords, Bing, Yahoo Pay per click, $0.50-$20, depending on keywords Much more stable source leads Must be set up correctly, or else could be wasting money Many factors still at play, such as quality score
  23. 23. What about Social Media? What is Social Media?  Blogs (Wordpress, Blogger)  Social Networks (Facebook, LinkedIn)  Microblogs (Twitter)  Location-based (Foursquare)  Events (, Eventbrite)  News and Bookmarking (Digg, Delicious)  Much, much more Free or very cheap, but massive time investment with questionable payoff Useful for branding as a “modern” company in touch with community Technically easy - Mostly unrelated to your main website Additional services could be offered by a company or freelancer
  24. 24. Other notes about websites Technology platforms  PHP vs .NET, Wordpress vs Joomla, etc.  Very difficult to change platforms after much use  Must be strategic about technology platform choice Ecommerce and payment processing  Ecommerce sites have much more complex requirements  Paypal, Google Checkout, Authorize.NET High tech web startup idea?  “I have an idea!” (next Groupon)  Software development teams (internal or external)  Management and Product Development can be very complex  Unlimited cost potential… $$$$$+ (e.g. Google is a website…)
  25. 25. Thank you! Please fill out the evaluation form Ask me if you have any specific questionsAllan ChaoStartup ConsultantStartup V8allan@StartupV8.comStartup V8 helps entrepreneurs turn their vision into reality.We handle the entire engineering and product developmentfor new web and mobile startups. Contact us to learn more.