Web Design FAQs for small service businesses

Tagged with: , or view all posts.

These web design FAQs will help make your web design project less scary. Modern websites are designed to be used by non technical people. Small service business owners all over Yorkshire maintain their own websites, and you can too.

To maintain your own website you’ll have to do a bit of learning, but then you’ll be in charge of your own website.

What if you don’t want to update your own website? Most web designers offer an after care package, and if they don’t, there are businesses that specialize in looking after websites for you.

Price: how much does a website cost?

You can get a small two page website designed for £200, this is a one time fee. You would also need your domain name and web hosting which would cost about £100, you pay the hosting fee every year. So your ongoing costs would be about £100 per year, unless you pay the web designer to maintain your website.

A bigger website costs more money, for instance 6 pages could cost £400, and 15 pages could cost £700. These prices are just examples, so shop around and see what different designers are charging.

For a small service business, the cost of a website depends on these things.
– The cost per hour the web designer or agency charge.
– How fancy you want to make it.
– How much content you add.
– Who writes the content.
– How popular the site is. Web hosting costs increase if your site has many thousands of visitors per month. This is not likely to happen to most small local service business websites.

How much does SEO cost?

That depends on how competitive your keywords are and how much competition you have.
You might also choose to pay for Google or Facebook ads.

Will there be any ongoing costs?

You must pay monthly or yearly for your domain name and web hosting. Expect to pay about £150 per year for a small local website.

You might maintain and apply security updates yourself or you could pay for a care package. The price of care packages varies from business to business.

If you pay for pay per click (PPC) advertising, those costs continue as long as your adverts run.

How do I keep the cost down?

– Keep it simple.
– Use a good theme with lots of options and don’t keep changing your mind.
– A big agency might charge more than a freelancer for the same end product.
– Write your own content, or at least provide all the information your designer needs.

Every WordPress website needs a theme or design. The design is an add on to WordPress. Some themes are free and some cost money. There is no need to pay a designer to code your design from scratch.

GeneratePress theme costs $59 per year and includes dozens of readymade designs. After choosing a design you can customise the header, footer, sidebars, and content area yourself.

If you need any special features such as an online appointment booking system, try to find a readymade solution. It’s cheaper than coding something from scratch.

Security and maintenance updates.

WordPress is constantly updated to keep it secure and to make improvements to the software.

WordPress can automatically apply most updates. Others need you to log in and click an update button. On rare occasions, these updates cause problems with your website. In a perfect world, you’d test updates on a staging site and prepare to rollback an update if necessary. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll need to restore your site from a backup.

If you use a good quality theme and plugins, you’re unlikely to have any problems when updating your website.

Why you shouldn’t spend a fortune on your first website.

You’ll fear breaking it.

A simple website can look very professional. If you start small with a simple website, you can learn as you go. You can practise using a staging site and restoring backups if you break anything. As you become more confident, you can add more features and more complication to your website.

Who writes the content?

You write the content unless the web designer includes content writing services in the deal.

Some web designers will help you tidy up the content you have written.

Whoever writes the content, only you really understand your business, so whatever happens, you will have to be a big part of the content writing process.

Content Snare and automated help with content creation.

Many web designers have an automated help system, or a guide you can follow, to help you write your own website content. For instance, content snare is a system that breaks the process into easy-to-follow requests for information. You just read the instructions and type in your text.

What photos and images do we need?

Logo design is NOT usually part of the deal, so you’ll probably have to provide that yourself.
All images on your website should help the reader understand what it’s like to be your customer.
If you deliver an end product like fitted kitchens, windows and doors, roof repair or decorating services, show photos of the job being done and the end product.

If your service is intangible, such as training, coaching or even car servicing, show photos that help the customer get a feel for what it’s like to work with you. Would one of your clients allow you to take photos of a training session, for instance?

Meet the team photos.
If your customers meet your staff in person, show those members of staff dressed in their work clothes. And if you use sign written vans, show those too. If customers come to your premises to drop off their car for a service, show your premises. So your customers know what to expect when they, or you, arrive.

Can I edit my own site?

Probably. WordPress is the most popular way to build a small service business website. Many non-technical people maintain and update their own websites. But if you maintain your own website, you’ll need some basic WordPress training. You can teach yourself using training websites such as WP101 or a free alternative. Ask your web designer if they include basic training as part of the deal or if they offer training as a paid extra option.

The simpler your site, the easier it will be to maintain.

What if I break it?

I recommend you use a good backup system, or a staging site, to make it less likely that you do any serious damage to your website. A staging site is a clone or copy of your live site. You change text or images on the staging site, check everything worked OK. Only then do you push those changes to your live site.

For a small local website, an easy-to-use backup system is probably all you need.

Jargon you should know.

WordPress is the software you use to update the content of your website.
Themes are ready made web designs.
Plugins add functionality, such as image sliders and appointment booking forms.
Domain name is your website address such as smithsroofing.com usually about £10 to £20 per year.
Web Hosting is the computer where your website lives. You pay about £100 to £150 per year to host your website.
SEO is getting to the top of Google. There are two key parts, on page SEO and off page SEO.
PPC advertising where you pay per click. Every time someone clicks on an advert and goes to your website, you pay.
Page Builder software that makes it easier to design your own web page layouts.
Backups, in the same way you backup a word document, you can back up and restore your website.
Staging site, an identical copy of your website where you can make and test changes before the public see them.
Mobile responsive means your website responds to the screen size it’s viewed on. Making it look good on desktop and mobile screens.
Dual factor authentication increases security by using a two-step log in process. There are many ways to do this. For instance, you could first input your password then type in a Google Authenticator code. This makes it twice as hard for hackers to log into your website.
WYSIWYG means what you see is what you get. A WYSIWYG editor lets you design your website by pointing and clicking instead of writing code.
Image compression makes images load faster on your website.
Image file formats include JPEG, PNG, GIF, SVG, WEBP, which are used in your web pages. Graphic design software, such as Photoshop, uses other file formats such as PSD, TIFF, and RAW.
Hacking is the gaining of unauthorized access to data in a system or computer. Using a strong password and keeping your website software up to date is the best defence against hacking.

Read more useful articles like this in my blog...