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Website Shopper's Guide
Kate Gingold
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Website Shopper's Guide

The Sprocket Report

Ever had to deal with a hospital bill? It can be a shock to see how many different charges there are for services, specialists, drugs and devices. You need a Patient Advocate to help you figure it all out. Building a website isn’t quite as complicated as surgery, but we thought “Why not a Website Advocate?”

We make websites all day long so we know there are separate pieces with various costs that go into completing a project. But since your expertise is elsewhere, we want to share details about the most important charges:  Domain Name, Web Pages, Hosting, Email and Upgrades.

Domain Name

Owning your own domain name will cost you around $12 per year. Just buy it already. It’s a no-brainer bargain to make you look vastly more professional and give you control over your brand online.

Web Pages

Yes, you can get online for free. Facebook is free, Blogger is free and there are loads more options. Some of them may be a great choice for your needs. The operative word here is “needs.” If you go the cheapest route and find your needs are not being met, you’ll pay to go to the next level or there may not be a next level.

Think through your website plan. What do you need to do online today? What are your goals for the site next month or next year? Once you start adding on to your free site, it may be smarter to work on a semi-custom project with a local web developer.

Hosting

Early in our career, prospective clients thought they needed to own a computer to host their own website. Now we hear the reverse – folks think they don’t need to pay for hosting since their website is already on the internet.

You may own the pages of your website, but if you want those pages connected to the rest of the World Wide Web, you need to rent the space which those pages inhabit. Like all real estate, prices vary according to the amenities. Factors that will affect your “rent” include the size of your site, the tool it was built with and the kind of service it requires. Before you sign up with a hosting provider, Google them to see how satisfied their other clients are.

Email

When your email address is me@mysite.com, it seems obvious that email must be part of your website. But it’s actually a separate service, possibly bundled with something else for convenience. Your hosting company may supply email or your web developer might. If you buy a domain name from the Sprocket Store, you’ll see that email is one of the other available products.

Remember also that email has two sides:  yours and your correspondent’s. Most of the time, all the programs work well together, but when a problem arises, you’ll both need to troubleshoot. That’s when an email provider with a good service record comes in handy.

Upgrades

Nothing lasts forever, and technology’s “forever” is considerably shorter. Think of how often Facebook has changed its look or which version of Internet Explorer we’re using. (Hint:  We’re on IE 11.)

Extremely basic websites will exist just fine for a long time, and more complicated ones may limp along for awhile with some patches and fixes, but eventually the technology will just become obsolete. Operations will cease to work, links will break and you won’t find anyone willing to help you.

On the bright side, you will be amazed when you upgrade. The latest versions are always faster, sleeker and more useful. Be sure to ask your web developer to outline the changes for you.

Your website is a living entity and yes, it needs continual care and feeding. But it also provides continual service, so knowing what charges to expect can help budget for this important business asset. If you have any other questions for our Website Advocate, just ask. We’re always happy to help!

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

Other posts by Kate Gingold
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Full biography

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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