One major benefit of the Internet is cost cutting. Take this MoneySmart website for example: if it wasn’t for the Internet, we’d have to manually print this information. Millions of Singaporeans would trample each other to death getting it. And even worse, I’d have to pay for the ink. They don’t call me Uncle Scrooge for nothing. Anyway, here’s some web advice. Follow it, and your costs will be lower than my blows in a Martial Arts tournament:
"Site's not working. I'd better add another screen."
1. Use a CMS
A content management system (CMS) is one of the easiest, quickest ways to set up your site. It lets you manage your website from a browser, without a web editor. This website, for example, is done on WordPress (which can be free). Other free CMS’s are Joomla! or Drupal. If your website has special needs, you can always buy custom themes and widgets as necessary.
Themes cost less than $130. Widgets vary based on what you want, but most won’t cost more than $50 a month.
2. Use Stock Photos
"Says here some site called MoneySmart downloads 90% of the images tagged 'fart' and 'underwear'."
At this point, you’re probably asking why you shouldn’t just use any image off the Internet. Which is like wondering why you should buy your own underwear when your room-mate has spares. It’s a dirty, cheapskate habit, that’s why. And it’ll probably get you sued one day.
3. Be Involved
Web costs are multiplied by the lazy and tech-averse. You know the type. Asking them to read one book on HTML is like convincing them to renounce their religion.
The tech-averse are firmly convinced their websites should be handled by someone else. The less they know the better. If you’re in this category, you should know I am an expert web developer, and my sites are even visible to the blind. E-mail me a cheque right now.
Anyway, pushing all the work to a developer doesn’t save time. In the end you’ll have to develop the content, so you’ll still be spending hours on it.
"We're not experts, but you should take our advice and upgrade the Gigabytes to improve our hits."
4. Use Launchrock
Site under construction? Instead of paying for a “under construction” page, use Launchrock. Not only is it free, it also has functions to boost your social media connections. And visitors to your (soon to be) website will at least get a taste of what’s to come.
5. Use a Good Domain Registrar
A good domain registrar will keep your costs low and predictable. We recommend Godaddy. While it sounds more like a chant for a Parent-Teacher sack race than a company, Godaddy has some of the best rates:
(Approximate Prices after Conversion to SGD)
- .org – $9.10 a year
- .net – $13 a year
- .com – $15.60 a year
Godaddy also offers value added services, like SEO packages. That’s all stuff you’d usually have to pay off, so grab it while its there.
Our domain registrar relies on some highly unorthodox methods
6. Use Template Services
Website templates, like the sort you get off Google Sites, are a godsend to beginners. It’s the Internet’s equivalent of LEGO architecture: everything looks impressive, but all you had to do was follow the walk-through.
Before you go to the expense of hiring a web developer, toy around on Google Sites. See if you can’t come up with your own site, without having to fork over those bills. At the very least, experimenting with templates will give you a better idea of what you want.
7. DIY Traffic
As important as traffic is, resist the urge to pay for it. Adwords and Forum spamming bots are expensive, and may convince the occasional Netizen that you’re a tool. Besides, what if your spam bot goes onto Reddit or 4Chan or something? You want annoyed hackers defacing your site every other day?
Protip: Let your clients win the flame war
Do it the honest way. Make use of social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. Build genuine relationships. It may be slower, but the effect lasts. And also, it’s free.
Ultimately, your website should be a tool for generating revenue, not a liability. The more involved you get in building it, the more obvious your cost solutions will become. Don’t be afraid to experiment and learn; in the worst case scenario, there’s always an “undo” button.
Got any questions about cutting your web costs? Comment and let us know!
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