In today’s market, having a well-designed, informative and user-friendly website is essential to a business’s success. A significant and increasing number of customers are Internet-savvy and regularly use the Internet to search for a wide range of products and services. In response, company websites are becoming more sophisticated and interactive, allowing customers to make reservations and payments online, submit feedback, and follow company blogs and newsletters to stay current in the latest offerings. More sophisticated websites can also take advantage of integration with other sites like Google Maps and Flickr to supply additional information and creative content.
As the demand for professional and commercial websites has increased among companies of various types and sizes, so have the options that business owners now have in creating a website. A number of companies specialize in providing a wide range of website building services, from basic site building and web hosting, which are usually free, to custom website design by specialized design teams and additional services such as e-commerce, online marketing, and lead generation. Finding the perfect site and web hosting service for you depends on a variety of factors, including your business type, budget, and the level of interaction and feedback you seek to have with clients and potential customers on the Internet. Here are a few basics that you should consider when starting a website for your company.
The first and most fundamental step of creating a website is buying a domain name. A domain name is the web address that Internet users type into their browser to find your web site online (for example, www.yourcompanyname.com). For those who have the desire and skills to build their website independently, a domain name can be searched for and leased from the appropriate registry, which gives the domain name buyer the exclusive right to use that domain name. As an alternative, most web design companies offer domain name searches and leases as part of a design package, either as an included feature or for a separate fee.
Once you have a domain name, the next step is creating the layout and content of your website. If you do not have any technical experience in programming a website, this is where professional web design companies become especially helpful. Established web design companies usually offer hundreds, sometimes thousands, of pre-designed layout templates that you can choose from, separated based on subject, theme, color, industry, and many other categories. No matter what your business type, you will have plenty of options and styles to choose from.
In addition to a layout and color design, web design companies usually also offer large stock image libraries to help your website look more attractive to potential clients and customers. Stock images usually include professional photographs and other creative depictions of different objects, products, or services.
Equally important to having a good basic design and layout is the ability to revise, edit, and improve your web site over time. Look for a web design company that simplifies this process by offering user-friendly, instant point-and-click editing.
Almost all web design companies offer custom web design by a specialized design team, for a higher fee. This is usually a better option for companies seeking a highly sophisticated or interactive website. Custom web sites are also ideal for companies that offer unique goods or services that do not fit well into pre-designed templates and stock images.
Email and web storage are basic services that are offered by most web design companies. Having an email account that has the domain name as your website (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org) is much more professional than using popular free email services like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL. A professional email account will add extra credibility to your online business. There will usually be a limit on how much email storage memory you are entitled to.
Web storage allows you to store many different types of files that you use to build and customize your website. For example, you can store and transfer documents, photos, music and video files.
Different web design companies employ varying business models in terms of what services they provide, and how they charge for services. The two companies below are good examples of different features and fee structures. These companies are recommended by MyUSACorporation.com
Web.com is a leading provider of online marketing services for small businesses, offering a full range of web services, including website design and publishing, online marketing and advertising, search engine optimization, lead generation and e-commerce solutions. According to their statistics, more than 15 million successful websites have been created with Web.com tools and services. These tools and services are offered as part of three different service packages.
The most basic package is the Website Builder package, ideal for companies that are budget-conscious and want only a simple web presence with basic design and functions. For a monthly fee of $19.95, Website Builder provides a domain name of your choice based on availability, over 9500 starter templates, a large stock image library, unlimited web storage for documents, photos, videos, and music files, as well as an unlimited number of email accounts with up to 10GB of email storage. In addition, the package also includes $150 in advertising credits for Google, Yahoo, and Facebook.
The Business Builder package provides a slight upgrade at $29.95 per month (currently $19.95), adding a Marketing Bundle which includes Local Directory Submission, Search Engine Submissions, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Consultation, and access to the Do-It-Yourself Logo Design software. In addition, Business Builder increases the advertising credits to $200.
Finally, for businesses with more specialized needs and a bigger budget, Web.com offers its eWorks! XL package. At $94.95 per month, this package offers all of the services listed above, but adds custom website consultation and design, as well as professional copywriting. In addition, eWorks! provides extra online marketing services including search engine submission, Internet Directory submission, and Google Maps submission with online coupon. Results tracking for website statistics and telephone call activity is also included. These services are essential to companies that substantially rely on the Internet to attract new customers and generate sales, by allowing these companies to maximize and track the effectiveness of their website traffic.
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Yola.com is another website builder and hosting service that helps small businesses stand out on the web. The company’s services and products have received recognition from a number of publications, including Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, ABC News, CNET, and The Wall Street Journal. Yola.com offers web design services similar to those of Web.com described above, but with some significant differences.
Yola.com’s online marketing services are somewhat less comprehensive than those of Web.com, but it offers more focus and flexibility, as well as affordability, in its web design services. Its pricing structure is also significantly different, offering a wide range of options from a free sub-domain name, to highly customized web design services for $349 for the first year.
There is a range of options available on Yola.com for small businesses with varying levels of web needs. For companies that want a simple web presence to increase visibility and accessibility to current and potential customers, Yola.com provides sub-domain names on its main site for free. This means that if you’re not picky about having a custom website name, you can have a relatively basic website on Yola.com for no charge at all. As part of this free service, Yola.com offers over 100 customizable templates, easy point-and-click design and editing, unlimited bandwidth, and free site traffic statistics for the past seven days. As additional options, you may choose to purchase a custom domain name for $19.95 per year, or a premium website style for a one-time fee starting at $19.95 each. You can also buy Yola Mail as a consolidated source of emails from your website for $9.96 per year.
Yola Silver is an upgraded package that includes, as part of its $49.95 annual fee, a custom domain name, premium styles, and site traffic statistics for the past thirty days. Also included are stock photography credits, Yahoo! Search Marketing credit, Facebook advertising credit, and HP Logowork Logomaker credit. In addition, the Yola branding is removed from your site and all sub-sites.
Finally, for the most comprehensive services, Yola.com also offers Yola Premium, which includes one-on-one consultations with a professional website designer, resulting in a professionally designed, completely unique 5-page website, which you can expand as needed.
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