We created the Consumer Awareness Guide to Website Design with more essential information. Download your copy today!

If you are reading this article it's probably because you are considering getting a website for your small business. The sheer array of choices and options is overwhelming. As you keep reading, you will discover that it doesn't have to be.

Are you a product or a service-based business?

The first question you have to define is "What is the goal of my website?" If you are a product-based business, you will need an e-commerce website. They are more complex by the fact that you have to manage your inventory, payment processing, security, etc.

They are by nature more expensive and complex. Hiring a specialist in the e-commerce space is your best bet. Almost all major platforms (ShopifyWix, etc.) are now offering all-inclusive solutions.

If you are a service-based business, your needs are a little more straight forward. For the most part your website is there build trust and to generate leads or schedule appointments.

A powerful, modern & cleanly designed 5-page website will do the job perfectly: 

  1. Home
  2. About
  3. Services
  4. Testimonial / Gallery
  5. Contact Page

Should you hire a web developer?

One of the costly mistakes business owner often make with their website is to try and become their own web developer and designer. Lot’s of online DIY web building products are spent every year to try and convince business owners the process to get a website nicely designed and online is as simple as 1,2,3.

It's not that simple. Only a tiny percentage of business owners have the knowledge, time, and skill to finish their website. (Sadly we’ve seen it all, and often the website takes the business owner months or year(a to build in their site and it often ends up looking like a it was designed  poorly and they end up making their business look unprofessional.)

On the other side, not all web designers are created equal. Knowing how to separate the wheat from the shaft is important. This is why we have included 12 questions to ask before hiring a web developer in our Consumer Awareness Guide to Getting a Business Website

Should your website have a blog?

Unless you sell to an international market and primarily attracting customers via content marketing the short answer is: NO

If you are a service business that serves a local market, your time creating content is probably better spent elsewhere, on social media, networking events, referrals, google my business, and so on. 

A blog can be a wonderful thing, but it is an added feature that will require an extra cost to your website and from our experience, we've never seen small and local business owners managing to have the time to run a blog on top of their business.

Wix? Squarespace? WordPress? What the what?

In the last decade or so, we have seen a multiplication of options for people who want to make their websites from scratch or web designers who do not want to learn to code. 

But here is what we discovered: DIY websites end up clunky or unfinished one at best. On the other side, when people hire a web designer, once it is finished you end up with a website you have to maintain or pay $79 to $99/mo for them to maintain. That is usually not counting the cost of hosting, email, plugins, etc.

All of those solutions are made for everyone, this means that they comes bloated with features you do not need if your needs are simple. They also introduce an element of risk because they all depends on servers and databases that can be corrupted or hacked.

A simple site tailored to your need will usually yield a better performance and lower chances of piracy.

Saving On Huge Upfront Costs

The ideal situation for a small business owner is an affordable all-inclusive package that takes care of them from day 1. From content creation to design, review, and maintenance & support. 

After running a marketing agency for 10 years, we've concluded that it is the best in most cases. At Supersonic Sites®, we charge an onboarding fee of $199 that includes an onboarding call, a dedicated content strategist, and one month free of service. Then, once the website is launched a maintenance fee of $49/mo. 

The other option is to be $1500 to $3000 for a website that you will either have to maintain or pay $79/mo for maintenance. We believe this isn't what most small business owners want.

To learn more about the pros and cons of website as a product vs website as a service read our article entitled: How to Save on the Huge Upfront Cost of Getting a Business Website.

What about SEO?

SEO is on everyone's lips whenever they have a website. 

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business in Google, Bing, and other search engines.

But the dirty secret is that it is sometimes a way for the web designer to make you pay extra for a job that should be built-in the process. Making sure your website reflects your business, that it has proper structure, is quick to load, easy to navigate on mobile, are all things you should not have to pay extra for.

If you are a small business that offers a service to people locally, your SEO should be focused on "Local SEO". Which is mostly about maintaining your Goole My Business profile and getting engagement on it (Reviews, posts, thumbs up, questions, etc).

Investing a few hundred bucks in local citations you should have all the SEO you need to generate traffic to your website and your business.

Conclusion

What type of website is best for small businesses? It depends on what type of business you are. E-Commerce should be looking for specialists and platforms that included all the components to make sales online. 

But if you are a small, local, and service-based business, avoid DIY solutions, incompetent web developers, look for an affordable and all-inclusive package that gives gets you a website online quickly without breaking the bank.

This article is an excerpt from our Consumer Awareness Guide to Website Design. Download your copy today for more essential information about how to effectively plan, hire & avoid costly mistakes.

Introduction

Is your website giving you problems? Or are you struggling through the process of getting a website? You've come to the right place.

Building a website may look easy, but there are minefields everywhere. One wrong decision could cost you, big time. 99% of people aren't web specialists...let's just say, a lot of mistakes are being made. Expensive mistakes. But avoidable ones.

After a decade of experience as a digital marketing consulting agency for small and medium-sized businesses, we've learned to navigate through the minefield... and rescued a few of our clients along the way.

These 5 simple tips will guide you through the minefield too, and help you avoid those costly traps.

Mistake #1 - DIY Websites

Lots of marketing dollars are spent to convince you that being a web designer is as easy as counting to 3. It's not that simple. Only a tiny percentage of people have the knowledge, time, and mental fortitude to actually finish their website. You could spend weeks trying to figure out how it all works and learn about:

And after all that effort, you would realize that there are still crucial little details that you simply didn't know about...like how to make your website load faster!

Imagine a prospective customer with a 3G connection on their phone. They go to your website and have to wait 30 secs before it loads. Not only does it make you look bad, but you've probably lost a prospect.

As Google announced recently, speed, especially mobile speed score, is a factor for Google Search and Ads.

And that's just one aspect you might overlook.

Here's an example of what might happen if you use a DIY website builder

Gt metrix report showing bad results from using DIY website builders.
GtMetrix.com Report

This website was made by the popular WIX website builder. It's a beautiful design...but because it lacks specialized knowledge, it end up with a horrible user experience.

How do I measure the quality of my site?

There are a few websites you can use to measure the quality and performance of your website. Check out Google's own Pagespeed Insight or GTMetrix. Enter your website and see how you rank both in the score and in load time.

Mistake #2 - Hiring an amateur

WordPress, WIX and Foursquare are all in the same race to make websites easier to build for people who don't know how to code. This means that more and more people can advertise themselves as "web designers" and charge big bucks for it.

Since they're not web developers (for the most part), they may not know:

For example, one of the most common amateur mistakes is not working with a development checklist. This means that they could forget to allow your site to be found by Google. (Yeah, we've seen it happen...more than once.) Forgetting to click that little checkbox when the site is ready to launch may cause thousands of dollars of lost sales.

We've included 12 questions to ask before hiring a web developer in our Consumer Awareness Guide to Getting a Business Website. Make sure to download it and use those questions before hiring a web developer or designer.

Mistake #3 - Demanding WordPress

WordPress’s marketing team goes HARD on this fact: "More than 30% of the internet is powered by WordPress."

OK cool.

But between you and me, most of the internet websites are garbage. Sorry (not sorry) for the harshness. Believe me, you don't want to be added to that percentage. You want to be counted among the small percentage of beautiful, user-friendly, high-performance quality design!

We used to build WordPress sites all the time, but after a few years we decided enough was enough. We were charging a fortune in maintenance because, at any time, the site might break just because the latest version of a plugin, theme or WordPress came out.

With 30% of the internet powered by them, they are a huge target for hackers.

Unless you're the type of person that wants to tinker around your website, change, need a blog, and add content on a weekly basis, you simply don't need WordPress. There are other less costly options out there that'll reduce the headache of having a business website.

Mistake #4 - Failing to strategize

A business website is more than a digital business card. It's where people will land whenever they are looking to know more about you, your business, and what it can do for them. A website lets you start a conversation, build "know, like, and trust," and make a good impression.

A website isn't the end of your online marketing strategy; it's a small piece of a whole. So even before you sit down with a web designer, think about how your website fits inside the journey your clients takes: from needing your service all the way to choosing YOU to solve their problem or realize their dream.

Example: Walking through the customer's journey

Let's say you're a hairdresser. The first place people will find you is on Google Maps when they search "hairdresser near me." Then they might move to your site to see if you're the person for the job. Finally, once they're on the site, the ideal call to action would be to have a scheduling system to setup an appointment. The future client will be mostly interested to know: 1) when you are open, 2) what type of client you serve (high end or barbershop), and 3) if you're available when they need their haircut.

If your website is only Phone, Name, & Serial Number, you might not engage with your prospect's questions and needs.

Mistake #5 - Failing to make your site multi-device friendly

We're no longer in 2010: with more than half of the online traffic happening on mobile phones, it's no longer acceptable to have a website that doesn't work across multiple devices. But it's not just about having a smooshed version of your site whenever it's on mobile...it's about how easy it is to scroll rather than click!

For example, on desktop, it's "okay" to have a bare-bone homepage that's the size of the screen. The menu is right there and visitors are much more likely to click around to navigate. But on mobile, you would give a much better experience if the user could learn everything they have to learn just by scrolling. Adding a contact form at the bottom of the page could increase your chance of getting responses from mobile users, rather than asking them to click once to see the menu and then a second time to get to the contact page.

These little details make a huge difference over time.

How do I avoid these costly mistakes?

The number one way to reduce mistakes is to be armed with a bit of knowledge before hiring a web specialist. That's why we created the Consumer Awareness Guide to Website Design. You don't need to be a geek or know too much technical jargon to reduce mistakes. You just have to know enough to recognize the ripoffs and do business with the right people.

Conclusion

We hoped you've enjoyed learning about the 5 costly mistakes business owners make with their business website. With this knowledge in your pocket, you can move forward! Download a copy of our Consumer Awareness Guide to arm yourself with all the knowledge you need to make an educated decision.

This article is an excerpt from our Consumer Awareness Guide to Website Design. Download your copy today for more essential information about how to effectively plan, hire & avoid costly mistakes.

Introduction

So, you want to build a website? Great! But do you know the true cost of owning and maintaining one? If not, you've come to the right place. In this article, you'll discover the main 5 hidden costs that come with owning a website.

Read this article until the end to discover essential tips to help you reduce or eliminate unnecessary costs.

1. Domain Name & Hosting

What is a domain name?

A domain name is the address of your website. In order to visit your website, people must type the name into the browser bar. In simple terms, if your website was a house, your domain name is the address.

What is the cost of a domain name?

You can get a domain for $15/year or less…or more. With so many people squatting on domains for profit, chances are your business name might already be claimed by someone else. If so, you might have to negotiate for a much higher price...sometimes up to thousands of dollars.

What is hosting?

Hosting is essentially a virtual storage unit that holds all the files and software that make your website possible. The hosting provider’s job is to supply the technologies and services needed for your website to be viewed on the Internet.

What is the cost of hosting a website?

The cost depends on the scale of your business and how many visitors you get. For most businesses, you can get hosting for as low as $5/month, but it can go up to $125/month for dedicated hosting.

2. Themes & Plugins

Nine times out of ten, the freelance web guy/gal will build your website using a technology called WordPress. Why? Because anyone with the teeniest bit of tech knowledge can build a website using it. Such is the sad state of the website industry.

Because WordPress can do just about everything under the sun, it makes it really easy for not-so-techy people to build websites for other people. Is it the right option for you? Not always, especially if you just need a simple 5 page marketing site for your business.

To save time and energy, your WordPress web "specialist" will most likely charge you for a pre-built theme and for plugins to extend the capabilities of your website.

How much does a WordPress theme cost?

The cost of a WordPress theme goes between $19 all the way up to $99. But you might have to consider paying for ongoing support. That's the catch of WordPress. Everything gets updated all the time and stuff tends to break because of that. Expect another payment of $25/year for support from the theme provider.

What are WordPress plugins and how much do they cost?

Plugins are little pieces of code that extend the capabilities of your site. If you want a backup system in case something breaks, you'll need a plugin. If you need to have a more complex form on your site, you'll need a plugin for that too.

There are over 55,000 plugins made for WordPress. The vast majority are free...but the problem with "free" plugins is that they are less frequently updated...and that means the chances of your site getting hacked grows exponentially with the number of free plugins you've installed.

Expect to pay at least $100 a year in WordPress plugins. This isn’t a hard and fast rule but in our 10 years of experience dealing with WordPress, it's the average.

3. Third Party Services

3rd party services includes things like:

It's difficult to give this one category an average cost because of the wide range of possible use case.

4. Cyber-treat and Hacking

Hackers are out there, and their tampering could be devastating. If you haven't taken the necessary precautions, your website could be damaged beyond repair, or worse, completely lost. The possibility of being hacked is the biggest hidden cost for your website.

To prevent a hacker from destroying your site, or using it for nefarious purposes, you have to keep all your plugins and your theme updated as regularly as possible...which can be time consuming when you have a business to run. This leads us to the next point.

5. Maintenance & Support

Most freelancers sell you on a maintenance package upon the launch of your website. Why? Because your website will need it.

Usually the package covers an hour of work a month to update everything and perform content edits. And if something goes terribly wrong (which happens more often than you think), it covers the time spent rolling back the site to its previous state.

Expect paying $49/mo to $79/mo for a maintenance package.

How do I reduce the costs that come with owning a website?

The #1 way to reduce your costs is to arm yourself with a bit of knowledge before hiring a web specialist. That’s why we’ve created a Consumer Awareness Guide to Website Design. You don't need to be a geek or fluent in technical jargon to reduce your costs. You just need to know enough to not get oversold.

If you can answer this question, you could save big money: Do you really need your website to be built on WordPress? Because if you’re like most of our clients who simply need a 5-page website (Home, About, Services, Testimonials, Contact Page), you don't need this time consuming, needy Behemoth that can do everything under the sun.

In short, if you don't intend to blog on a regular basis, you don't need WordPress.

Once you’ve made this distinction you can now look at better options based on your true needs.

Most of the costs outlined above can be avoided by walking away from big software that is expected to be everything for everyone, like WordPress.

For example, Supersonic Sites® are built differently. We used to build websites on WordPress until we found a better way for our clients. Going back to the essentials of the internet, we coded a solution that just simply works. Our next-generation sites never break and never get hacked. With a Supersonic website, you could eliminate all the extra costs that come with the mainstream way of building websites.

Conclusion

We hoped you've enjoyed learning about the 5 hidden costs of building a website. Now that you’re equipped with this knowledge, you can move forward!

Download a copy of our Consumer Awareness Guide to Website Design and arm yourself with all the wisdom you need to make an informed decision about web design.

This article is an excerpt from our Consumer Awareness Guide to Website Design. Download your copy today for more essential information about how to effectively plan, hire & avoid costly mistakes.

Introduction

Thinking about getting a new website but dreading the huge upfront cost and hassle that comes with hiring a web developer? We can help.

Getting a business website done properly can be both expensive and difficult. Just like in everything, not all professionals are created the same. "Doing it yourself" is beyond the ability of most people. But even paying the big bucks doesn't guarantee that you will get a "better" website.

But what if there was a way to reduce your upfront costs without turning yourself into a proto-web developer? What if you could get all the benefits of great design without paying thousands of dollars upfront and hundreds every year in maintenance and other hidden costs?

In this article, discover the two main ways you can pay for your business website and the pros & cons of each.

Two ways to get your business website

There are two ways developers sell website designs:

  1. As a product (common)
  2. As a service (less common)

They both come with their costs and benefits but we, at Supersonic Sites®, have a bias for the second option.

Website as a Product

Let's use an example to understand this model:

Imagine that you paid cash upfront for a new car. It’s not cheap, and it starts depreciating when you drive it off the lot. You’re responsible for maintaining it with oil changes and more. Eventually, you need new tires and a tune-up. Maybe you'll even want to customize it.

Most people don’t have the tools or knowledge to do it themselves.

Like a new car, websites are usually built and delivered as a product. You pay for someone to build your website and to host it. You might have extra bells and whistles that cost you on top of it, depending on what your web designer sold you. Then, upon delivery, you get a website with a login and password. It's 100% yours. Now you have two choices:

  1. Either you pay for someone to update, maintain, and edit the site when you need to OR
  2. Do it all yourself

Believe me that you definitely don't want to be stuck with #2. Updating, maintaining and editing your website is NOT what you want to be doing as a business owner. It's especially true if you've got a WordPress site. You'll experience at least 1 or 2 panic moments per year when, for absolutely no reason, your website decides to go down and gives you the "white screen of death." Dealing with hackers, spamware, and ransomware on your website is another nightmare scenario. If you haven't taken the necessary precautions with proper backups, you might lose your site completely.

The other option isn't so appealing either. Do you want to pay up to $79/mo to get someone to be your hacking insurance, keep the software up to date, and make necessary changes when you need it?

How much will it cost?

So, not only did you pay from $2000 to $5000 to get your website...now you are going to pay about $1000 per year to keep it alive.

Read "5 Hidden Costs of Building a Website" to learn more!

Pros

Cons

Website As A Service

The other option is to get your website as a service, instead of a product. What if you could get your business website up and running by paying a single monthly payment for as long as you need your website? The day you don't need it anymore, you simply stop paying, and that's that. The monthly cost would cover:

How much will it cost?

Those services range from $49/mo all the way to $250/mo. When you factor in the hidden costs that come with owning and maintaining your own website as a product, website as a service is cheaper every time. Another benefit includes the extra incentive for your website provider. They want to add value to you over the long run so you keep doing business with them.

Pros

Cons

Why did Supersonic switch to Website as a Service?

We used to operate a digital marketing consulting agency where we also made and maintained websites for our clients. Five years in, we discovered that all of our clients, small to medium-size business owners, didn't want anything to do with the web stuff. They couldn't care less if they had the ability to change the content on their site...they just wanted to have it done so they could focus on their business.

We made less than optimal technology choices (WordPress) only to realize that they didn't need any of the features it had for them.

Most business owners need a simple 5 page website:

So why would you need to have a giant behemoth of a software like WordPress to deal with something that simple? You don't.

It's for this reason that we created a high-performance framework that can be customized to deliver a website in a week (once we've compiled our content). For $49/mo, you can get a website that never goes down, never breaks, and always gets the job done.

Conclusion

Each model has its pros and cons. It all depends on your needs, your ability to tinker around with your website, and your budget. We believe that more businesses would benefit by considering the "website as a service" as an option.

We hoped you've enjoyed learning about how to save on the huge upfront cost of getting a website. Now you can make a more informed decision moving forward!

Download a copy of our Consumer Awareness Guide to Website Design so that you can be armed with all the knowledge you need to make an educated decision on how to go about getting a website without getting ripped off.

Hey folks — It’s 2021 (yes we erased 2020 too!), and we need to talk about websites.

Building and maintaining a website has become a burden, but it shouldn’t be this way. Websites can be simple and powerful.

It’s wonderful to land on a well designed fast site that gets you all the info you need and then gets out of the way. That’s how websites used to feel all the time.

But things changed. The web community stopped listening to customers. They lost sight of helping you, and soon it started to feel like YOU had become their web developer. They started expecting you to get a PhD in SEO, SEM, WP, HTML, and a Bachelor Degree in Design to avoid making your site look like clipart from the 90’s. ‘Do it yourself’ solutions flooded the market, that took even more of your precious time to learn (here’s a wrench, go fix your car). Inexperienced folks started designing sites without fully understanding the code beneath their choices, or worse simply walked away leaving you to fix the mess. Sites became so complex they broke weekly. Hackers showed up to attack sites daily.

Websites have become something you fear, not cherish. Rather then delight in having a website, you just deal with it. And what’s worse is that WordPress, Google, Apple, Adobe, Amazon and Microsoft, just let this all happen.

And yet, websites still are a wonder. Thanks to websites, people across cultures, continents, countries, cities, and communities communicate every day. It makes it easy for two humans to share their love, and for millions of people to earn a living.

So good news, the magic’s still there. It’s just obscured — buried under a mess of bad habits and neglect. Some from people, some from machines, a lot from website code itself.

Websites deserve a dust off. A renovation. Modernized for the way we do business today.

So we took our decades of marketing and web development experience and built Supersonic ’Forever Sites®’. Our beautifully hand-crafted framework code is used to build a semi-custom layout that fits what your business offers. This is serious enterprise-level code, that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Forever Sites” never break, never go offline, and we get them live in about a week or less; you’ll never have to worry again about your website.

Supersonic Sites is a redo, a rethink, a simplified, potent reintroduction of websites. A fresh launch, the way it was always meant to be.

Supersonic is our love letter to small businesses everywhere, and we’re sending it to you on the Web.

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