Five myths of managing a business website

By: Jonathan Brealey

Date: 18 July 2011

Pound coins: is your website costing too much?

Does it feel like your website is costing too much? (Image: wwarby on Flickr.)

This is a guest post written by Jonathan Brealey, co-founder of web hosting and reseller hosting company Heart Internet.

Web design terms such as FTP, bandwidth, bounce rate and UX design can soon leave business owners dizzy. It is tempting to see your website as a mixture of technical wizardry and magic that you don't understand, and perhaps don't want to.

The truth is, running a website does not have to be difficult or expensive. Here are some of the most common myths surrounding the management of business websites, and why they don't hold water.

Myth one: a business website has to cost thousands of pounds

Granted, the price of your new website will depend on how big it is and how much development work is required. But generally speaking, you shouldn't be paying the earth for small business websites.

If your website is simply a handful of static pages, with some information about who you are, what you do and where you're based, even if you are paying for a bespoke design, the final price should be in the hundreds and not the thousands of pounds.

Myth two: I've got more important things to do than manage my website

No matter which industry you are in, a large proportion of your potential customers will go online to research their new supplier. That means their first impressions will be based on how your website looks, how easy it is to navigate, and what it says (or doesn't say).

Whether you sell the majority of your products face-to-face, or you only deal with business-to-business services, your website is your shop window. It must be used to entice people in.

Myth three: you need to update content regularly

The idea you have to create new and fresh content on an almost daily basis has sprung up thanks mainly to the misconceived idea that Google rewards regularly updated websites.

Actually, Google likes good quality content that attracts links and uses keywords relevant to a user's search. There are countless examples of websites that are top of the search results that rarely, if ever, change their website's content (our very own Heart Internet website being a good example).

Myth four: good software costs money

Most leading web software won't cost you a penny. The great thing is that the free options are often the most popular options not because they are free, but because they are often the best solutions.

For example, you can use WordPress for your blog, OpenCart for your online shop, phpBB for your forum and osTicket for your online support.

Even when the software available isn't the market leader, the free options are usually more than up to the task and will be more than good enough for you. For example, use GIMP or Paint.NET instead of Photoshop and NotePad++ or Aptana Studio instead of Dreamweaver.

Myth five: You should pay someone to install Google Analytics on your website

If any web designer or agency wants to charge you for installing Google Analytics on to your website, look elsewhere because you can't trust them.

Google Analytics is free software and the installation should be included in the web design work at no extra cost. If they intend to invoice you for the work as a separate cost they are trying to trade on your lack of knowledge in this area. Adding the tracking code to a web page is at most a 15 second job, and that is if they do it slowly

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