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Small Business website - I'm new at this

by Travis2k7 / October 24, 2008 9:35 PM PDT

My employer has been in the machine shop business for 38 years with virtually no advertising other than yellow pages and word of mouth. I managed to convince him that a website would be a great idea to increase business. Our local competitors all have websites and I think it's time for the boss to step into the 21st century.

I am the computer guru of the shop running a CNC waterjet cutter and designing with Autocad. I was given the task of putting a website together. I have no doubt I can do it, I just don't have much experience with it so far.

I've started to look around and am wondering what all I need. Would http://www.networksolutions.com/web-hosting/index.jsp?siteid=246&channelid=P61C246S570N0B9A1D255E0000V1486 be a start or should I look elsewhere? I don't expect traffic to be overwhelming at the site. Are these http://www.networksolutions.com/create-a-website/index.jsp "Do it yourself" website design programs acceptable? A domain name and web hosting along with links to the search engines is what I am pretty sure I need but am unsure about what else.

As far as prices I estimated $250 or less, I hope I am not wrong there.

If anyone can give me some pointers on what I need and where I can go to get started on this small business website it would be greatly appreciated. If you need further info please let me know.

Thank you very much.

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It's been discussed but for you...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 24, 2008 11:38 PM PDT

Look at http://www.emachineshop.com/ It's very discouraging to those that want to break into the new machine shop age. You may not want to know it decimated a company's CAD group since "what do we need them for?" was asked and answered with a R.I.F. They use that site now.

You may have more work to do. While even godaddy.com works fine for those with ready made stuff to sell, it's a fraction of the cost you noted.
Bob

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Lots of options
by expatsBelgium / October 26, 2008 3:43 AM PDT

Travis,
You have many options, but in my opinion you have two things that will influence you.
1. What do you really want to do with this website (the things you list are obviously a good starter - but could you imagine more, making it more part of your business as opposed to an extension of advertising).
2. How much you personally want to get involved - is this a one off project or do you want to get more involved.

The website you mention is perfectly good, but a bit expensive given the basic nature of what they offer. If you eventually want to do more, then you are going to have to start again with something more sophisticated. What they will do is get you on the map with something that looks fairly professional.

Other more DIY options might be to use something like servage.net, they give you hosting with a free domain name, and a bunch of ways to startup your website, with open source content management systems, blog sites etc etc. This requires more technical savvy - but has lots more spae for you to expand the scope - to say offer your customers to securely access their job info etc etc (say with a content management system like joomla etc). You could even put an ecommerce site together (like oscommerce) to offer online products (this doesnt sound like what you want to do actually).

This is going to cost you lots more of your time, but also there are loads of people out there who can help (lots of communities offering their time for free, and obviously some for cash).

So I would summarise by saying of the answers to 1 and 2 are "just advertising" and "not a lot", go for your suggestion (or google for some cheaper options) if the answers are "more than advertising" and "lots", then pick up a website hosting company that lets you install some of the open source systems and get going on them.

Either way - lots of luck.

regards
Simon

http://www.expatlist.be

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Simon. What's with that link?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 26, 2008 3:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Lots of options

It doesn't belong since tags with links that don't pertain get edited out or your post removed.

Did you really need to do that?

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Bob, Links
by expatsBelgium / October 26, 2008 3:56 AM PDT

Hey Bob,
Didnt thinnk I was being pushy - Just my standard sig; I didnt know it was frowned upon round these parts.

Not sure if I can edit it out now.

Oops - Simon.

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Thank you.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 26, 2008 6:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Bob, Links

It's fine for a one time oops. These forums have a very low bar and you find nearly no advertising in the posts. Thanks for the comeback and welcome.
Bob

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For now...
by Travis2k7 / October 26, 2008 11:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Lots of options

I am going to start with making it an extension of advertising and go from there.

Obviously I would like to make it an important part of the business but for now I'm going to take baby steps. As said my employer has virtually no advertising and I for one think that our $200,000 waterjet could get a lot more business if people knew it existed. We are the only shop around with a machine this size with dual cutting heads. The work possibilities are amazing and it's frustrating to see it idle more often than it should be.

I will browse around to see what I can find and of course if you have any suggestions feel free to toss them my way.

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Company to Help
by hoobear15 / October 27, 2008 5:42 AM PDT

Howdy -

My small business was in a similar situation (we are a property management company) - We found a new company that helps set everything up for you using google - They are called G-APP solutions

They were incredibly cheap too compared to our alternatives - all we wanted was a website (not much traffic was going to be heading there, we just needed something simple and easy to use) - then we also got email accounts with it too.

Guy I talked was Cory - I'll leave his email below

Hope this helps! good luck!

Mike

Cory from g-app solutions Email: g-appsolutions.com

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oops!
by hoobear15 / October 27, 2008 5:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Company to Help

sorry - thats coryhooyman@g-appsolutions.com

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cost?
by Aaronwood70 / December 8, 2008 12:40 PM PST
In reply to: oops!

how much did they cost ? please give details if possible

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I went with...
by Travis2k7 / December 8, 2008 10:06 PM PST
In reply to: cost?

Hostgator.

It's about $20 per month and does everything I needed.

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