Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What Not to Do, When Starting an Online Business

I have decided to send out one of the articles I wrote five years ago because it is just as important now as it was before. 


I am always getting e-mail from business owners who, in their crunch for time they have opted to go to a host/web design/web development/domain registrar all rolled into one…
Not a good Idea!

Let me tell you why, this is just my view, but it is an educated one. I have dealt with many, many business owners who have been burned. They now have to deal with the difficulties of redoing mistakes that didn't have to occur in the first place.
Many business owners who are brilliant at what they do are also clueless when it comes to the Internet and all the things that must be done to develop a website, register a domain name and host that website.
On the other hand, they may know enough but want the convenience of a one-stop shop, so they can be free to operate their business.
Sound like a great idea right! WRONG…


Mistake #1 

When you register a domain name through a host, you are at the host's mercy.

Unless you know what you are doing – the host who registers your domain name may actually be putting it under their name - you are not the domain name owner you are “renting” the name.

Scenario, you register your domain name with a hosting company and find that you do not like the host – your website has a lot of down time – you cannot get the emails to work right, etc.
You go shopping for another host – then you find out you cannot transfer the domain name, and you have built your business using that name … that can be devastating – you have worked so hard to build your business what now?

Let's say they just don't want to transfer the domain name, don’t release the domain name and play games. Where do you go?
Well, that is the 24 million-dollar question.

Solution: Register your domain name with a service like godaddy.com. They have inexpensive domain names; you have complete control over where you point those names and host your website.

If you find you are unhappy with a host you have chosen, find another host and re-point that domain name, with no interruption to your business.
Problem solved.


Mistake #2

Scenario, You have found a host that also designs. They will design your website inexpensively. So you have the host put together the website for you.

Guess what – you more than likely will find that you do not own the website, the website you get will have to stay with that host, you cannot transfer it… On top of that – a lot of these hosts will give you a brochure site that is not a true marketing site.
Let's say initially you are happy with that small static website, then you get educated and realize you need more and want to market to your visitors. You want an auto responder, and you need to build an online data-base. That is when you pay  - they usually charge you, an arm and a leg to update your site.

You end up spending more, and you may find your so-called  custom site is actually a cookie cutter site that is customized (the same site as other businesses just a different banner).

Solution: Find a web developer that can converse with you about your needs. If they are a true professional, they will have no problem helping you with questions you may have about hosting, domain registration, auto responders, etc. Make sure you are comfortable with the individual you are thinking about hiring.

Don’t mistake – arrogance with knowledge? Do make sure you have an experienced professional, someone who knows the tricks of the trade, a person who understands how to build a marketing website, with knowledge, who will know how to  help you reach your ultimate goals.

When you pick the right professional, they will be willing and able to direct and guide you. Educate you on how to build your online business, helping you to break down the costs and work within your budget. If you can’t initially afford to get the whole thing done in one-shot  – it shouldn’t be a problem for your web developer to build your website in phases.

Make sure you are working with the designer/developer themselves, and you are not working with the sales rep.


Mistake #3 

Scenario, let's say you have found a host that allows you to build and design your own website. How cool is that!!
Sorry to break the news, but let me remind you – most of you are not designers!

Seriously, most business owners do not have the talent or the knowledge to design a website that will look professional. Most of these programs that allow you to build your own website are very limited in what they can do. You have to use their graphics and banners.

On the other hand, you have to be a graphic designer to know how to design and upload your own graphic, on top of that these hosts are usually very expensive.
So what should you have done?

Solution: When you realize you will be hosting your website (basically forever) at such a high monthly fee – you will realize you can afford to pay a professional web developer to build a beautiful site you will own, pay a host a small amount each month and save a lot of money. Get my drift?


I could go on forever telling you the horror stories - but the bottom line - in essence - be careful, do your homework,  make sure you are working with a credible professional.

One option you may want to consider is hiring a consultant/project manager that knows the ropes.

This profession should be seasoned and have worked with the internet - someone who has been in the business and knows the ins and outs, someone who can outline your options and give information that will lay a solid foundation for your business.

Someone you can trust to guide you to make the right choices…

I do offer all of these services so if you would like to get a f*ree consultation, please email me with "F*ree Consultation" in the subject line - if you have a website. Please add it to the content of  the email. I  will contact you, and we can make an appointment.

To success beyond measure - and friendships that last a lifetime...
Pamela Jacob - Artista Design
pamela@artistadesign.com 801-910-4825