This is the home of your piece of cyber real estate and forms the basis of your investment. Ideally it should represent your brand or your product or service or both. Domain names are not expensive and there is merit in having however many you need. A good tip is to include relevant product or service search keywords if and where applicable. We are happy to register your domain name for you so we can manage your DNS Host servers and mail setup on your behalf as this can be a little technical. We are experts at creating and sourcing excellent domain names and are happy to make recommendations to help you build a product or brand.
There are a multitude of new TLD’s (Top Level Domains) and country specific options. Feel free to register your domain name directly yourself but if you are not so technical use a password you are happy to change or share with your website manager.
GoDaddy is a popular registrar with very good prices. Budget $12 to $40 per year.
This is the ‘house’ we build on your plot of cyber real estate. It should be modern, comfortable, functional and inviting and leave your visitors with a lasting positive impression. This is the most important and significant investment you can make next to a good relevant domain name. Your website should be built on an excellent foundation. Something safe and solid. This foundation also acts as an engine or control room maintaining the environment. As stated earlier we specialise in the effective and sensible utilisation or world class Open Source CMS and eCommerce platforms.
The Open Source movement is a phenomenon based on a wonderful ideology of sharing that is directly contrary to the historical proprietary ideology that drives large profit driven corporations. You and your business get to leverage off the immense amount of work of large dedicated communities. It’s a bit like someone saying “Here are all the tools and building materials you could ever want for free. You just build your ‘house’ the way you want it to look and function.” A good website is an excellent investment. A great website is even better.
Images and Media
An important component of any modern website is its visual elements including images and other media such as video. Ideally you will provide us with images that you own the copyright for. Photos from your own camera are a good start. We are able to assist with sourcing images from stock image source sites. It’s essential to determine the images are not only aesthetically appropriate but also are the correct minimum dimensions to suit the task and are the correct DPI.
Images can cost as little as $10 to $20 or more each dependent on source, license and resolution. Images are often trimmed to fit the dimensional requirements of usage. All images irrespective of source are the responsibility of the customer commissioning the website.
Video is an excellent option for improving your rankings and communication to market. They can include video brochures or explainers and we are happy to assist with scripting, animation and production as required. A great lower cost technique is a ‘speak and spell’ voice over text presentation video often called a VSL or Video Sales Letter. This may include your logo and branding and even a live segment of yourself or a staff member speaking in to a video camera.
There are other important components that may have a commercial cost that should be considered and catered for. These include the time involved to implement important optional components such as Analytics or commercial plugins that provide additional functionality such as a Multi-Language site or Accounting system integration for your online eCommerce Store. Settings up Analytics can add around two to four hours dependant on requirements. Plugins are generally excellent value and provide functionally that would usually cost many thousands to develop for only a few hundred dollars.
Budget additional time for optional Analytics and be aware some commercial Plugins if required may cost on average around $200. You may download our comprehensive free HotDot Analytics Guide.
Logo and Theme
Branding is a core essential marketing component and we love creating hot brands. Do you love your logo or is it time for an update? A great logo is a very small investment that can build a business and survive the decades or even centuries if you think big. It doesn’t hurt to think
big since you’re already thinking anyway. Get a great logo you love!
The theme controls the look and aesthetics of your site and to a degree the functionality. Picking the right theme or look is not only crucial it can actually be a little difficult. It’s imperative you select your theme from a large, well-resourced commercial theme development house that will provide a high level of ongoing support. Don’t forget what ever ‘engine’ you choose it will constantly be updated with security and functionality updates over time. So will all of your plugins. Your theme requires constant maintenance too. We have commercial working relationships with the best theme development houses in the world and can help you pick something relevant and awesome.
Budget $90 (with us) to $350 (someone else) for a logo and $40 to $190 for a beautiful theme.
Hosting is another essential core component to delivery your website. This is the actual server that holds your database, content, web pages, media and ‘engine’. Not all hosts are created equal. You need to accommodate the architectural requirements of your site. Usually you will want a Linux (Open Source) host over Windows (proprietary) unless you have a very specific application. Your site will run on the LAMP stack. Linux Operating System, Apache Web Server, MySQL Database and PHP processing engine. It needs the right amount of storage, the right amount of bandwidth and appropriate access, management and security.
Managing hosts is relatively technical and something usually reserved for those who have a flair for and are happy to be called ‘geeky’. Don’t let us fool you. Even though we look cool and awesome we’re really just a bunch of geeks. Your host should ideally be located on the same continent as your main source of traffic to minimise lag times to that portion of your market. Web pages being served from the opposite side of the world will be marginally slower.
You require a managed server. Your server is usually shared with hundreds or thousands of other websites unless you are a huge corporation with massive traffic. Shared servers are unfortunately exposed to shared risk. It only takes a single customer to be lax in updating their applications security and patches to be compromised and the server to be used for spam or phishing. If you wish to assist in the management of your server you will require your own cPanel (Control Panel) access.
Budget $100 up to $350 per year if you require SSL depending on plan size for managed server hosting. You may download our comprehensive free HotDot Hosting Guide.
Maintenance of your server and your site and all of its components including plugins and security is essential and represents huge value and assurance for very little cost. If you do not update your website regularly throughout the year it will be not if but when it gets exploited exposing your whole shared server to compromise and shutting down your account with your site going offline. This happens all the time. We charge a nominal $8 per month maintenance fee to cover the time and cost of our professional team managing your sites backups and updates throughout the year so you don’t have to worry and can focus on your core business activities. This nominal fee is optional but highly recommended for the immense value and peace of mind it offers it return.
Budget $8 per month ($96 per year) for managed (done for you) website backups, application, plugins and security and patch updates.
While having an appealing website for your customers is important it’s only the beginning. If you have a traditional and established bricks and mortar business or a brand new online only presence you need to drive Traffic and then Convert that traffic to either sales or at least list building future prospects. There are four primary marketing strategies (and others) you should consider employing. These are SEO, PPC, Social Media and Email Marketing.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a long term strategy that has high relevance and potential return on investment. Getting on page one of Google, Yahoo or Bing organic (nonpaid) search results is highly desirable. Achieving this is an immensely prestigious outcome and will take time. An SEO strategy needs to run for at least 12 months and should really be budgeted for as an ongoing concern. Talk to us about Keywords and the highly effective often overlooked ‘Long Tail’ strategy.
PPC (Pay Per Click) is a great short term solution and long term strategy to get you on page one of Google, Bing or Yahoo immediately. You pay for the advertising and agree on a Per Click rate. We can do clever things like set budgets and limits. The more you are prepared to pay the higher placed your advertisements and number of clicks. If your conversions (sales) yield a high margin then you may be able to afford more clicks. You need to budget for the cost of the clicks and the monthly management and reporting fee.
Social Media is also an important strategy and may involve an optional advertising budget for promoted posts. We can offer you some great features that automatically send posts to your Twitter or Facebook feeds so you don’t have to manually maintain these every time. This only costs the additional implementation time it takes us and is a huge money and time saver over all. Your posts on Facebook are now limited and are only shown to a fraction of your ‘friends’ (likes). Facebook is actually an excellent value proposition currently as their cost per click is much lower and their demographic and geographic positioning of ad placements often superior. We highly recommend a Managed Social Media advertising campaign.
Email Marketing offers the highest return on investment (ROI) in Internet Marketing and is simply the single most important strategy you can implement. You should always be building your prospect list with a squeeze page or pop-up collecting email addresses. Maximise the long term value of the traffic you’ve generated. Don’t make the mistake so many do and let it go to waste. If you don’t get a sale at least get the prospects email address! Marketing is timing. Someone who is not ready to buy today may very well buy tomorrow. A professional Email Marketing & Auto-Responder application such as iMailSend may cost you as little as $15 per month. Let us setup and manage your integrations for you to maximise the utility. Don’t miss out due to technicalities.
Budget $300 to $1500 (or more) per month for managed SEO and PPC or $15+ for email marketing.