It might seem daunting, but be clear about your objectives, plan well and get your website project built stat says Daniel Carroll, Master Plumbers Communication and Media Manager.
So, you need a website but don’t know where to start? You might have many questions like:
- What do I need to have on my site?
- How long will it take to make?
- And most importantly… How much will it cost?
Like many things in life, the answer to all of the questions above is ‘… it depends’.
It depends on who you are, who you are talking to and what you want to achieve by building a website.
But I will tell you this…it is possible to establish yourself online without breaking the bank.
So, without further ado, let’s build your showroom!
Believe it or not, the process is very similar to if you were to build a bricks and mortar showroom in the real world. But before you go building anything you’re going to need a few things.
Let’s start with your land, where are you going to build? Luckily, in the digital world you don’t have to worry so much about location. You just need a small patch of internet space (or space on a hard drive somewhere) to host your website files and publish it to the world wide web for all to see.
Hosting is relatively cheap nowadays and available from a heap of different places, so shop around and see which provider best suits your needs.
To host a standard website, you’re probably looking at anywhere between $5 and $25 per month depending on the bells and whistles you choose to include in your plan.
So, you’ve got your little plot of internet land floating off in space, next you have to give it an address so that people are able to find it - that’s where a domain name comes into play, your www.whatever.com. You can purchase these from the same place as your hosting and they’ll set you back about $30 every two years. Don’t get all cute with your website name. It needs to be short and memorable for those who want to find you and your business.
So, now you’ve got your empty block connected to www.domainname.com.au.
Let’s get building!
Again, just like your bricks and mortar, you can’t just jump in and start slapping bricks together. You need to plan out what you’re going to build.
So, grab some paper and a pencil and get sketching!
What do I need to have on my site?
Start with your foyer or ‘home page’ the first thing people will see when they enter your showroom.
How will you greet them? What do you want to them to see first?
Your best bet? Tell them what you do and why they should choose you to do it. Convince your guest of this and you can lead them throughout your showroom for the guided tour.
From the foyer you’re going to have a bunch of different rooms attached that generally have different purposes. The most common to consider will be:
About us - a room (or page) that will talk about you, your company and your story, provide information about the experience of your team and what makes you so great.
Services - again a room (page) that will display the type of work and services that you perform in an easy-to-follow format, remembering that sometimes your guest may not be an expert in what you do - that’s why they’re in your showroom - so think about how you’re going to talk to them here.
Your work - Now that they know who you are and what you do, they’ll most likely want to see some evidence of your handywork - a nice bright room with photos, video and descriptions of some of the projects you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of and show off your abilities.
Testimonials - next people will want some social proof. A key point in the decision-making process of many people these days is to ask others for their experiences with a particular company or service provider - this is why reviews are so important. Take this opportunity to lead your guest into a room full of people prepared to say great things about you, what you have done for them and how you have solved their problem.
Contact page - Lastly, you’ll want a room where your guest can go to speak with you. This is typically your contact details, a map of where to find you and an email form to ask any further questions or even request a quote for their job.
So, at a minimum, we’re looking at a website with six rooms: your home page (foyer); about us, services; your work; testimonials; and contact pages.
Now that you’ve got your floorplan down, you can get started on your build.
Depending on your confidence with computers, you can have a go at building the website yourself using something like WordPress, Wix or Squarespace, or get a professional in to build it for you.
There are plenty of great web designers out there but remember to always have a look at work they’ve done and talk to people who have used them before so you know what to expect.
Depending on the amount of work required to complete your site, you’re looking at between $200 and $3000 to get a basic website up and running.
So, find out what fits in your budget and start nurturing and converting those social-media leads with your very own online showroom.