Many customers will judge whether or not your business is legitimate based on your online presence, and for others it is the first place to go when looking for a way to contact you or get more information about your products or services. A fully functional site can cost up to R100 000, but it doesn’t have to.
- DIY domain registration
Internet service providers and hosting companies will charge you to register the domain name for your website, but it is possible to do it yourself and only pay the yearly fee of R50 to own the name. All you need to do is submit your application to UniForum. You can also check whether the domain name is available on the website.
Get it from: www.whois.co.za
Cost: R50 per year
- No cost web design
Launched by South African entrepreneur, Vinny Lingham, Yola lets you create a website for your business at no cost. The website is also hosted for free by Yola. When comparing this offer with prices other web design and hosting companies charge, it may seem too good to be true, but there is a downside. You will be allocated a sub-domain, so the URL will look like this www.SiteName.YolaSite.com. You can however, choose to upgrade to a custom domain name for $99,95 per year.
Get it from: www.yola.com
- Cheap and easy site builder
As the website states: “Why do over eight million people and businesses use Weebly? For the easiest, most powerful, and affordable website-building experience.” Weebly offers a drag and drop website builder which makes it really easy for you to build a free website for your company. Again if you choose the free option you will be using a Weebly sub-domain, but you can also use a domain name you already own, or register a new domain through Weebly.
Get it from: www.weebly.com
- Build your own site, for free
Even if you don’t know the first thing about coding or programming, you should be able to use Wix’s do-it-yourself website builder. The online tool lets you create and customise your own website for free. Like Yola and Weebly, you can use one of the free website templates and upload your own content. Your free domain will look like this: www.wix.com/yourusername/yourwebsitename. You can also choose to upgrade to a premium package to have your own domain and use advanced features, including an online shop and tracking site traffic with Google Analytics.
Get it from: www.wix.com
- Low cost web solution
LIT Creations allows small business owners to structure their website package to suit their needs and budgets. You can get a domain name for R200 once-off, up to five personalised email addresses for R100, and for R200 per webpage you get your entire website uniquely designed. There is also a package on offer for R800, which includes hosting your website for one year, unlimited bandwidth on your site, up to five email addresses, webmail access for email worldwide, submission of your site to over 300 search engines and a fax-to-email service.
Get it from: LIT Creations (www.litcreations.com)
Cost: Ranges from R200 to R800
- The inside track
You’ve put a lot of time and effort into your website, so now you want to know if it was all worth it. While many hosting companies will offer you the option to track visitors, Woopra has a free basic service that will give you some insight too. The Basic option will track up to
30 000 pageviews a month, but requires that you have ads placed on your site. You can upgrade to one of the other options available – the cheapest Bronze plan gives you up to 100 000 pageviews per month, has no ads and includes three monthly email reports, for $4,95.
Get it from: www.woopra.com
Cost: Free – $4,95
- Grade your site
Do you know if your website is achieving what it should? Is it getting the traffic you expected it to and does it have any SEO problems? Do you know if it is generating any hits from social media? Website Grader offers a free report to answer these and other questions. All you need to do is enter your website URL and click on Generate Report. You can also enter the URL of a competitor and compare their report with yours.
Get it from: http://websitegrader.com
- Optimise your site
Google Website Optimiser
Google offers a tool that allows you to test your website and optimise it so that you can attract more visitors. Website Optimizer allows you to increase the value of your existing website and traffic without spending a cent. Take the guesswork out of customising your website by providing Google with content (headlines, images, text, etc) and design alternatives you’d like to test. Website Optimizer then shows these alternatives to your visitors and monitors which combinations lead to the highest conversion rates.
Get it from: https://accounts.google.com