Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How to Create a Website for Your Business Cheaply

If you are a running a business and you don't have a website you should be ashamed of yourself. In this day and age when everything is moving online, not having a website is setting yourself up for failure. You need to make it a priority to create a website and there are dozens of cheap website design options these days.

Kenyans are no longer just using the Internet for fun. They are increasingly using it to locate businesses, make price comparisons and for online shopping. So, by choosing to stay offline, you are losing out on potential business opportunities. The cost of a website is no longer an excuse. You actually don't need any money to start a basic website for your business.


So, where do you get a cheap website? Read on below.

Free Website

While I would not recommend this option for any serious entrepreneur, it is better than having nothing at all. Visit Google's Kenya Business Online pages and create an account. Your website address will be something similar to http://yourbusiness.kbo.co.ke. This is not a professional web address but like I said, if you really have no money to invest in a proper website, you can start with this free option. Watch the video below to learn more.




Cheap Website Design

Unless you have basic HTML, CSS and CMS skills, I recommend that you hire a cheap website designer to create a professional looking site for you. Sorry ... you don't know what those initials stand for? ...my point exactly! There are many competent designers in Nairobi who will charge you a modest fee of between 5 and 10k to create a five-page basic website. Search Google using the phrase "Website Design Kenya". You can also try OLX. Insist on seeing a portfolio and a list of references before you hire anyone.

You could also visit any of the following online freelance marketplaces and hire a cheap designer from any part of the world.

A simple five-page professional website will cost you an average of $100 (8,500/=). However, our sister company is currently running a promotional offer where you can get a 5-page website for 5,000/=. This cost includes one-year domain registration and a year's hosting. 

You should also consider hiring a web copywriter to write your site's content. Even if you are naturally a good writer, writing for the Internet differs in many ways from writing offline content. You need to consider keyword placement and density and you have to do so without compromising on grammar. Web copywriters are also available for hire at the sites listed above.

Domain Registration & Hosting

One of the reasons, I said the KBO website is a bad idea is because you don't own the domain, you only own the sub-domain. You should always use a domain name for your website. It is more professional to use "yourbusiness.co.ke" or "yourbusiness.com" as opposed to "yourbusiness.kbo.co.ke". For more about domain names, please read the article, "what is a domain name?"

Register a Kenyan domain name (.co.ke) at a Kenyan registrar. See the list of Kenyan registrars on this KENIC page. If you prefer an international .com domain name, register one at Godaddy.com. Most Kenyan registrars accept Mpesa. You will need a Visa or MasterCard debit/credit card to pay GoDaddy. The cost of a Kenyan domain is about 1,500/=, renewable annually, while a .com domain costs roughly $12 (about 1,000/=) also renewable every year.

Hosting refers to the server where your website "sits" so that it can be accessed by the rest of the world. You can pay for hosting monthly or annually. The average cost for a small site is about 300 bob a month.

You can register a domain name at any time before you hire the designer though many web design companies offer a complete package covering website design, domain registration, and hosting.

Web Design Tutorial

There is a third option for those willing and with time to learn a new skill. You can teach yourself web design. Content Management Systems such as Blogger, WordPress, and Joomla are extremely user-friendly. Begin by teaching yourself basic HTML and CSS by reading the tutorial at W3Schools.com

Resources


Suggested Reading
Mpesa Integration to Website

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