Creating a small business or personal website is much easier than it was some years ago. Internet is completely changing the way businesses are being conducted and having an online business for your small business or organization is more important in today’s ICT connected world. People are spending more time looking for things the internet before they actually move around to locate the physical places of businesses. So, creating an online presence of your business is leaving digital footprints of your company name, location, type of goods and services provided other relevant information on the internet. This electronic information will be then located by the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing and create an index or listing and provide it on the computer or mobile phone screen of the user (the potential customer).
How Search Engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing Create Search Index List.
Online business presence doesn’t mean your business will have to create a fully pledged online shop or most fancy and good looking website. Major online search engines like Google, Microsoft Bing, Yahoo and etc uses complex computer programs called algorithms to create what is known as index (list of websites that matches the search word or phrase). So, the best test is to type your own name in the Google, Bing or Yahoo search engines and see the list they display which is the online index of your name. You will be surprised of the different list of results about yourself. If you have a business, then type the business and do a search on Google.
So the idea of having a website is to have several web pages providing the key information about your business like, the location, contact details, services it offers and then a regular blog post about some your business’ current business activities to leave a digital footprint for search engines to pick up and display to potential customers.
Requirements for creating a website.
Most small business owners in PNG think, creating a small business website is expensive and technical. In fact, it isn’t. Any small business can have a website running at a cost of about K700.00 to K800.00 a year. If you have technical skills in any IT related field background, whether a Diploma level or Degree level qualification or self taught, you can do it yourself, otherwise, this information will assist you to find a ICT person who can assist you with the technical side. Since you have a fair idea of the cost and whole process, you can negotiate for the labor charge only.
- Have a Debit Visa Card with your local ank. Check with your local bank for Company Account linked Debit Visa Card. BSP announced to replace all existing business account bank cards with Debit Visa Cards. You will need the visa card to pay for your website hosting to a Website hosting provider.
- Your business domain name. If your business name is long, you have consider making it it somehow. Example For the Bank of South Pacific, the domain name for it’s website is bsp.com.pg. Domain name should be short and easy for customers to remember and associate with your business.
- Spend some time and do a bit of online research on web hosting sites. Use key words phrases like “Top web hosting sites”, “ Best hosting sites” “Popular hosting sites” etc. See their pricing for different hosting subscription plans. Key things to look for are not necessarily the pricing, but look for things like Word Press Hosting, Web space size, their support reviews and etc. Here is link from techradar.com to get you started. https://www.techradar.com/web-hosting/best-web-hosting-service-websites
- You need to have a working personal or business email that you usually use to communicate. This will be required during the time of registration and payment to host your site. If you haven’t have a email account, create one at www.gmail.com or www.outlook.com.
- Once you have decided on business domain name and hosting, then you are ready to pay for your website domain name and hosting by vising the website of the hosting company of your choice.
Paying for your website hosting
For most website hosting companies, payments are based on type of subscription services needed. To start off, start with the basic or start plan and later when your company expands and you want to add more features and functionalities to your website, then you can always upgrade to the next upper level plan. Otherwise, startup plan should be enough.
If you are not a IT technical person, I recommend you can go ahead select the hosting plan, register your domain name and pay for the initial 1 year and domain name registration payment using the hosting company’s website. That process is so simple and straight forward you don’t need technical assistance. This is also important because you enter your Debit Visa Card number and other details. Once the first payment is done, later renewal payments will be automatic as they become due. If you change Debit Card then you can always login and change the details as needed. Doing this yourself is also important because later renewal payments are direct from your Debit Card and you don’t have to pay for extra fees if you pay through third-party arrangements like the individual who will actually create your website.
Make sure you write the login details safely in a notebook or so and keep it safe.
Creating Your Website.
Once you have purchased your domain and hosting fees then, it time to start creating your website. This time, you need to have a nice template. Reason is because, hiring a technical programmer to create the website on Word Process is going to take time and money. This is where the cost can get expensive. So, best option is to buy your desired website Theme (template) and then install that template and rest is just modification and polishing it up with content.
Where to buy the Website Theme Template.
I recommend you visit the most widely Website Theme market place which is https://themeforest.net/
Here you will find lots of Themes, nicely categorized and also the reviews of each template and you can even view the demo, to get a feel of the color, layout and look of the website. Once you have decided on the website theme, you buy click on the Buy button and buy it. Buying is straight forward. Once the payment is done, you will be given opportunity to download the Theme file. The file format is normally in zip file format. Save the file in your computer.
If you want to explore more places for Themes, there you can check out the different places for themes. Otherwise, www.themeforest.net will do for your theme selection.
Why you need a paid website theme? The reason is simple. You need a website that is responsive. This means whenever, a visitor visits your website, the website layout will automatically fit into the device screen. More people are using Smart phones to access internet. So whether they use a smartphone, tablet laptop, desktop, the site will be displayed perfectly well. The other reason, is themes are created by professional web programmers or developers so you don’t have to waste money on paying for someone to develop your website from scratch and the output may not be the one you want. In Papua New Guinea, there are limited web developers and companies specializing in website related business. As a small business, why waste money when you can use a ready made Theme, install it and polish it with content.
Finally, the Theme creator will provide a link to download the theme documentation. This is your manual guide to configure the template with your own business content (text and images) into the layout.
Create the website.
Once you have paid and downloaded your desired Theme file, you can start the processing of creating the website.
- Go to your web hosting website and login in. This will lead you to what is known as Dashboard. This is where you will create your website.
- Take some time to explore what features are available.
- Install WordPress (world’s most popular open source free website creation tool)
- Once WordPress is installed, you have free Themes to get you started. Just activate one free Theme to make it default.
- Then you can install your paid theme by Clicking on New Theme button. Locate your theme file and open it. The theme will be installed and become active.
- Use your theme documentation to start modifying it with your own content and polish it up.
Note: If you are not a ICT person, than, it is recommended you find someone with ICT background to assist you with the creation. You need to provide the following to him/her.
- Login details for your site hosting website. This is needed to login in and start working on your website.
- The website Theme File that you paid for and downloaded. This is the pre-designed structure of your website.
- Domain and site hosting fee. Paid annually or 6 Monthly fee. Less than K800.00/Year for starter plans. Other plans will be much higher. Prices vary depending on Hosting company and PNG Kina Exchange rate.
- Website Themes-One off payment. Professionally designed layout structure. Cost will be less than $70 dollars which is equivalent to K300.00
- Labour fee-Negotiable with whoever engaged to modify the theme and polish the website. Also update fees whenever, you want changes done to the content. If you can do it yourself, then can do it.