A Website is more than Words in a Brochure!
If you are thinking about getting a website and planning to make money through that website; it is not a good idea to go for the cheapest website you can get. It is better to spend the extra money to have your website optimized for search engines so your potential clients are able to find your site.
Let’s say you have a business that offers guided wildlife photography tours with cabin style accommodation, transportation to and from places to photograph local wildlife. Let’s further assume you are thinking about getting a website, or need your present site rebuilt.
If you compare the cost of a website to a printed brochure; a website is far more economical then a brochure and has the added bonus on never going out of print!
Brochure: A professional 2 fold brochure will cost approximately $2300 for 5000 copies to be designed and printed in full color. Then you must consider the cost of distribution and display fees: $200 to $1000 dependent upon the places your brochure is displayed; high tourist traffic areas typically cost more money for display permissions. Each time you have your brochures reprinted you must pay for the re-print (approx. $1900 per 5000) and redistribution.
If you spent the same $3300 (cost for brochure design, print and display) on a well designed website you will get much more for your money plus the added bonus of having a 24/7 display of the service or product you offer. Your purchase would include: the domain name registration (name of your website), hosting for 1 year, design and development of a professional website and extra work called SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is done on your site to make it rank well in search engine result pages (SERPS). What this means is that your site is optimized so the people that want your services can actually find your website; it’s like putting up signs so people can locate your business or website. People all over the world can see a website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
Many website designers just make the website and although it may look great, it can only be found by doing a search for your business name… Let’s face it, if people knew your business name, they would probably ring you up, rather than look you up on the internet.
Unlike getting changes made to a brochure, small changes to a website cost around $25-$35 each or you could make the changes yourself. As long as you keep your domain name registered and pay for website hosting (approx. $150 per year) your website stays online and is available to the world. Compare that to the cost of brochure prints and distribution!
If you choose the right website designers/builders; they would make sure you had a CMS (content management system) which means you can edit and update the web page content yourself.
The CMS could include a photo gallery, where you could display some of your customer’s photos, which will interest your potential clients; you would be able to add or remove photos and change the captions yourself.
You could also have online booking and even allow clients to pay a deposit for your various services; maybe even a mini calendar showing what parts of the year are best for what particular wildlife viewing and that would show when you had space for more bookings. These extras could be added later as the site becomes more successful.
In summary: If you are going to have a website made; spend more on it, have it optimized for search engines (SEO), ask for a CMS website so you can make changes yourself and make sure you website doesn’t become stagnant. Add a new story or article every few months; the search engines will see these changes, know they site is active, and keep it ranking well in search engines.