Want a New Website? Read This First.
Getting a New
Website Is a Lot Like Buying a New Car
So, you want a new website!?! I’m thrilled for you! Honestly, I am. It’s a great venture that can lead to exceptional growth in your business. I hope that after you read this, you consider contacting uglymugmarketing.com about the prospect and logistics of having a website.
But first, we need to have one of those one-on-one talks. You know the type of talks I’m referring to, don’t you? Yep, the kind of talks that makes you completely uncomfortable; but at some point in the future (weeks, months, or years later), you’ll be thankful for that conversation.
You see, after building over 60 websites during the past two years, we’ve seen our fair share of people approach us with eyes glazed over. They have this grand illusion of how having a new website will suddenly catapult them toward success.
Many assume, because their website will have a global reach, their message or product will quickly spread virally. All their friends and family tell them how wonderful their message and/or product is. What most don’t realize is that their family and friends are just being kind.
However, the underlying issue isn’t about whether or not their message or product is great and worthy of sharing. The real issue is they don’t understand what a website actually is. What it is capable of doing. What it can’t do. You see….
A website is nothing more than a communication tool.
If your message and/or product sucks, your website can only communicate that to the world. If you’re message and/or product is truly amazing, a website can help you by allowing others to spread your message.
A website is no different than running television commercials. All televisions commercials can do is broadcast your message out to viewers. Just because you run television spots, it doesn’t mean that people will buy your product and/or message. So, please first make sure your message and/or product are truly remarkable. It’s the only hope you’ve got.
Getting a new website is a lot like getting a new car. When you first lay eyes on your new car, you immediately fall in love. It’s so clean and shiny. It makes people stop and stare. You can’t help but smile with pride and satisfaction.
Before you purchase your new car, you take it for a test drive. If you’re like most people, you notice two things:
- The new car smell.
- How quiet it is.
Although nothing’s changed about the car you’ve been driving the past five years, that “old” vehicle seems completely and totally unsatisfactory now. It’s as if there is some mind-altering substance in that new car smell.
The exact same thing happens in the web world. You look around, and discover your competitors website is new and shiny. It makes you stop and stare. It all makes sense now. You’ve been struggling. They’ve been thriving. It’s because they have an amazing website…right?
I doubt it. If that’s what you choose to believe, more power to you! Before you go, though, please allow me a few minutes on my soapbox.
New Car Expectations
Think back to the time when you purchased a new car. You were so excited as you drove it off the lot. You couldn’t wait to bring it by to show your friends, to watch their eyes fill with envy. Despite all the new excitement, you had realistic expectations about your new ride.
It didn’t matter that the car only had 27 miles. It didn’t matter that the car had all of the best safety features available. It didn’t matter that car had a state of the art navigation system. If you pulled out of the car lot and drove over a pile of nails, you knew you would get a flat tire. Yet you still signed the papers and bought the car.
Or even worse….
You could drive out of the car lot, and have some crazy old man run into the side of your shiny new car and total it.
Still, you were completely okay with this because you new that was just part of owning a car and things like this happen from time to time. In your mind, though, buying a new car was worth the risk, and you were prepared for these events because you carry insurance.
The same is true of a website. You can buy a website with all the bells and whistles. You can hire a former coder from the F.B.I. to help insure your website is as secure as Fort Knox. You can have your website integrated with all the latest and greatest social media tools. And….
Two Days After Your New Site Goes Live … It Could Crash
How could it crash? Maybe it’s some crazy hacker somewhere wanting to add another site to their list of chaos. Maybe you accidentally uploaded a file that was contaminated with a virus or malicious code. Maybe the place you have your website parked (hosted) had an issue.
Where You Park Matters
So you proudly pull out of the car lot in your new ride, and you remember you need to stop by the grocery store and pick up a loaf of bread. As you circle the parking lot, you spot a place right up by the front door, but the cars on either side are parked really close to the lines. You make the wise decision to park at the very back of the parking lot and walk instead of taking the chance on someone dinging your new car with their door.
Your new website is a whole lot like a new car. You have to be very careful about where you park (host) it. Making a hosting decision based on what is the quickest, cheapest, or the most convenient can lead to a nasty dent in your website.
Just because a hosting company has tons of ads, attractive celebrities, and really cheap prices doesn’t make them the best solution for hosting your website. It simply means they are masters of marketing. You need to give careful consideration when deciding where you’re going to host your website.
Here are a few things to consider:
What is their server up-time?
What large companies use their hosting services?
What type of customer support do they offer?
Are their hosting services scalable? (As your traffic grows, do they have the ability to move your site to larger servers?)
Do they offer email hosting?
Here’s Why Where You Park Matters
Hosting your new website with one of the big discount hosting companies is like squeezing your new car between two others just to keep from walking an extra few hundred feet. Sure you’ll save some time squeezing in the space, but there’s a really good chance you’ll come out of the store and discover a nice new dent. This is exactly what happens when you host your website at one of the large discount website hosting companies.
More than likely you won’t need a fully dedicated server at this point, which can be fairly expensive. You’ll most likely be able to find a really great company to host your website for around $20 – $40 per month. Sure, that seems like a lot more than those $5.00 per month hosting specials you hear advertised, but it’s important to keep the monthly hosting price in perspective. You likely just spent (or are about to spend) thousands of dollars on a new website, so don’t let trying to save a few extra dollars each month cause you a lot of grief.
The discount host companies place your website on what’s referred to as a shared server. This means they put your website on a server with dozens, if not hundreds, of other websites. Crammed together like cows in a slaughter hauler. Having multiple websites on one server isn’t the big issue, though. What the other websites on the server are doing and how secure they are kept is the issue.
The hosting companies place partitions between each of the websites on the server, which usually prevent the other websites code from getting into your server space. 99% of the time there isn’t an issue even if files were to some how cross between these partitions. However, it can occasionally happen, and this is often where it gets ugly.
What happens if you just spent thousands of dollars having your beautiful new website built, and now all of your website files are corrupted by malicious code from another website on your server? Even if your website developer codes everything flawlessly and supplies you with good security precautions, these malicious files can quickly cause your website to disappear off the internet. Whose fault is it? I promise you that your website hosting company will not accept responsibility for this.
In this event, you’re left without a website, just a bunch of code that doesn’t work thanks to the malicious code. What would you do if you found yourself in this situation? What would you do if you were in a wreck in your new car and it wasn’t drivable? You would call your insurance company right? After all, that’s why you pay them each month.
Sure, you would pay your deductible, but that would be much less than having to pay out of pocket to have your car repaired and made like new.
In the web world, commercial support is like auto insurance. Commercial Support is what keeps you from having to worry about the worst-case scenarios. Often, you can get protected from the unknown and unexpected for a small monthly fee.
Commercial Support for your website will likely vary in price based on the complexity of the code in your website. The more complex the code (i.e. a custom ecommerce website) the more you’ll pay for commercial support. This is based on the number of hours that would be required to correct any issues that may arise.
Maintenance Will Be Required
Could you image purchasing a new car, and then never expecting to fill it up with gas (or electricity), or never having to have the oil changed, or the tires rotated? Of course not! Maintenance is just part of owning a car.
Sure, if you wanted, you could skip getting your oil changed and save a little bit of money…but these savings would only be temporary.
You’ve Got To Change The Oil
Your car needs oil to survive. It lubricates the moving parts of the vehicle, inhibits corrosion, improves sealing along with several other things that keep the car alive.
Content is the oil of your website. It is the lifeblood that keeps customers coming back and moving through your website. It keeps your site from gradually corroding into an inefficient heap. Without fresh content, your website will fall apart at the seams. Updating content regularly will keep your website fresh, and it will keep customers coming back for more. This can be done by simply providing updated information on your product(s), business, or the general information.
*Hint: Sometimes changing the placement of pictures and already existing items can be used as a stop-gap between content changes, but it should not be relied on heavily.
When the New Car Smell Wears Off/And Other Bad Things
The first time you have a cheeseburger (or southwester veggie wrap) in your car…or your second cousin asks you to haul a piece of antique furniture for her…or you put your under-5 year old child in the car seat. These are just a few examples of when your car goes from having that “new car” smell to “just another” car smell.
What do you do to combat this? You get air fresheners, take it to car cleaning/detail shops, and buy products that will keep it looking and smelling like when you drove it off the lot. Still, it never returns to that initial luxury.
Your website is the same. As you experience higher volume customers and you add and change content/files, chances are you will have glitches with your site. It happens to everyone. If you let it pile up like fast food bags on the floorboard or grime and dirt on the paint job, your website won’t be very attractive or desirable to others. You can forget about how great your car runs. If it stinks inside, nobody is going to want to ride with you.
The same is true for your website. You can have the best content on the web, but if people keep having trouble accessing it because you don’t maintain your website (or have someone maintain it for you), they’ll go find someone else to give their business.
A quality host will provide you this service of keeping your website glitch and problem free, and their are several web technicians that can be contacted for this same service.
Please make sure you’re asking the right questions when you talk to these people. You shouldn’t be asking how many things can you do to prevent my site from messing up. The wrong person could use that question to exploit you into fully “shampooing” your whole website when all you need is a change in one line of code. Even an honest person might recommend services to you that you don’t really need because they have a bias towards them or they are being overly careful with your business.
The best approach is to ask “what can and will I do when [specific problem] happens?” That will narrow the list of options down so you won’t feel overwhelmed with the decision, and they won’t feel pressured to offer you unnecessary services.
It’s Going To Go Out of Style
In the end, all of the maintenance and care you put into your vehicle wont change the fact that it just won’t be cool one day. Every few years, you see a dramatic change in the models of cars. Car companies adapt them to the changes in the dynamics and culture of the marketplace.
Your website will go out of style, too. Is it unfortunate? Inconvenient? Frustrating? Yes. Is it unforeseen? It shouldn’t be. If you are keeping up with your clients and their interests, you should know when a change is needed. If you’re really tapped in to the culture, you’ll be able to have a good idea of what it should look like.
Regardless, just like with a vehicle, you’ll need to trade in your old website for a new one eventually. If you went with a good host and developer before, the changes should mostly be cosmetic. Remember, the main thing a good vehicle changes is the body design. A car company will update a quality engine design very rarely*. If you have a quality website provider, you should only be making surface level changes that appeal to your customers and their changing preferences.
*Ford used the same style of V8 engine in the Mustang for the first 30 years of its manufacture. This was after 3 full generations of design changes and multiple different body kits were implemented.
And, if you are considering getting a new website, check us out. We can help guide you through the process of determining what web solution is right for you.
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