I laughed when my friend posted this photo on her Facebook page of a DIY home improvement project that failed.
It reminded me of the time my husband thought he’d save us a few hundred dollars by replacing a leaking pipe under our kitchen sink himself.
Next thing we knew, the pipe had burst, spewing a geyser of water into our kitchen. It’s lucky we knew how to shut off the main water line to our home until the plumber arrived … otherwise, our home would have been destroyed in just a few hours.
Common DIY Website Mistakes That Hurt Your Business and Cost You Customers
Small business owners who try to save money by creating their own websites and doing their own online marketing aren’t doing themselves any favors, either. Here are just a few things that typically go wrong with DIY websites and online marketing:
Your website looks unprofessional and unappealing, thereby driving potential customers to your competitors.
DIY Website Example. Note misspellings and outdated copyright date.
Your website isn’t mobile friendly. It’s hard to read and navigate from a mobile phone.
You can see for yourself if your website meets Google’s 2015 standards for mobile friendly design by going to this web page:
You Aren’t Managing Your Online Reputation. Bad Reviews Are Costing You Customers
Negative online reviews are bad for business. Pay attention to what your customers are saying about you online.
Need Website Repair? Call Us Today
CLICK HERE to schedule a conversation about your website needs or ask for a free demo website to see what we can do for you to get a state-of-the-art mobile-friendly professionally-designed website for your business.
The new website is a responsive site that complies with Google’s Mobile Friendly Standards. A mobile-friendly website is one that resizes automatically to display properly on any size screen — desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet or smartphone.
Ross Real Estate is a growing full-service real estate agency serving residential and commercial clients throughout Warrenton and Fauquier County, Virginia.
Owner and Realtor Tyler Ross is a life-long citizen of Fauquier County and has been a licensed real estate agent since 2006. Tyler’s real estate experience includes work for a private financing fund managing real estate assets and their disposition, evaluating collateral and marketing non-performing assets for sale, and managing real estate transactions sense for his own clients.
In 2012, Tyler opened his own brokerage firm, realizing a dream formed at a very young age.
Throughout his licensed tenure, Tyler has gained extraordinary knowledge and experience in both residential and commercial properties working with investors, builders, buyers and sellers. Having worked in both large offices, and now as a sole proprietor he has overcome the misconception that “bigger is better” and proven that what matters most when it comes to a successful real estate sale or purchase is trust, knowledge and experience.
Tyler stays involved with his high school alma mater, the Highland School in Warrenton by coaching several sports and serving as the school’s Alumni Association President.
Does Your Website Meet Google’s Mobile Friendly Standards?
Effective April 21, 2015, Google has announced that it will give priority in search results to websites that pass its mobile friendly test.
To see if your website is up-to-date with Google’s current standards, simply CLICK HERE and type your website address (URL) into the space provided. Google will scan your site and let you know quickly if your website passes the test or not.
Get Help With Your Website Today
If your website doesn’t pass Google’s mobile friendly test, Herbst Marketing can help! Call us today at (540) 279-4076 or Email Us Here to get a free quote.
If your website is more than two years old, there’s a good chance you can benefit from an expert business website assessment.
Are you wondering if your current website is outdated?
Are you dissatisfied with its performance?
Do you know if your website was built properly to maximize its marketing effectiveness?
Is your business getting found online by your ideal prospects and target marketplace?
Would you like to be attracting more ideal clients, and generating more qualified leads and sales with less expenditure of your time and effort?
Get On Track for Success With a Personalized Website Assessment
Well-constructed business websites save you time and earn you money.
Herbst Marketing can prepare a personalized business website assessment and customized online marketing road map that can improve your business.
Our analysis will show you what needs to be done to make your website a high-performing revenue-generating tool for your business.
Here’s What You Get in a Website Assessment
We will evaluate your existing website’s overall design and function and let you know what is working and what could be improved.
We will analyze your website to see if it:
Has been properly optimized with unique page titles and descriptions;
Has concise, well-written content that speaks to and attracts your ideal customer;
Has been indexed by search engines so that your ideal prospects can find you online using your most important keywords;
Has been listed in the most important web directories;
Is easy to navigate;
Guides your visitors to take a buying action or other action that can lead to more sales for you.
We will schedule a time to review our findings with you, either by phone, Skype or in person, and our recommended plan of action.
At the end of our review session, you will be given all the information you need to implement our recommended plan of action, or – if you prefer – a “scope of work” you can use to request proposals from experts who can help you.
How to Order
Click on the “Buy Now” button below. This will take you to a PayPal link where you can order your website assessment. (You don’t need to have a PayPal account to order your assessment online. You can also use your credit or debit card).
One-Time Fee: $298.00
Important: Once you’ve paid for your assessment, we will email you a questionnaire asking you to provide information we need to begin our analysis.
Once we receive your completed questionnaire, we will contact you to schedule our phone consultation. Allow one week from the time you submit your request to the time of our phone consultation. This will allow sufficient time to prepare your Business Website Assessment and Plan of Action.
Together with his attorney daughter, Lynn E. Aiani, Ronald J. Aiani assists individuals and businesses with:
Business Entity Formation
Corporate Legal Matters
Estate Planning: Wills and Trusts
Personal Injury Cases
Federal and Virginia Tax Matters
If you are in need of legal assistance with any of Aiani Law Firm’s areas of specialization, call (540) 347-5295 to request a consultation.
Ronald J. Aiani, P.C. is conveniently located in Old Town Warrenton, Virginia at 86 East Lee Street, near public parking and just a few short blocks away from the Warrenton, Virginia courthouse on Main Street.
Website Pricing Guidelines and Website Design Costs
What Does a Small Business Website Really Cost?
If you are a small business owner in need of a new or updated website, one of the first questions on your mind is probably:
How much will it cost me to get a new website?
From a business owner’s point of view, this seems like a simple question that should be easy to answer.
From the website designer’s and website developer’s point of view, it is a complex question that cannot be answered straightaway without some preliminary information gathering. (You may be wondering whether a website designer and a website developer are one and the same thing. They are not — but that is the subject for another future article.)
Buying a Website Can be Compared to Buying a House or a Car
If you have ever bought a house or a car, you know that your final purchase price is determined by a host of variables.
Housing Cost Factors and Variables
When buying a home, your purchase price will be determined by factors such as:
Location: Is your home centrally located, close to quality schools and shopping? Or will you need to commute an hour each way to work every day?
Size: Total number of rooms, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, total square footage, etc.
Age: Is it a new home or an older home that will need costly renovations and repair?
Acreage: What size is the lot on which the home sits?
Taxes: What real estate taxes apply to this home and how much will they increase your monthly mortgage payment?
Neighborhood: Does the home belong to a neighborhood that has covenants, restrictions, and home owners’ association fees?
All other things being equal, identical homes can vary in price by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars depending on where they are located, the size of the lot they sit on, and other pricing factors.
Car Cost Variables
Likewise, when buying a car, your purchase is determined by variables such as:
Car Make and Model
Age of Car
Additional Accessories (leather seats, premium sound systems, power steering, premium wheels and hubcaps, etc.)
OK, I Get That: But What Should I Expect to Pay for My Website?
As a general guideline, you should expect an expert website designer and developer to devote a minimum of 40 hours to the website design and development process.
Website design and development tasks include:
Preliminary consultation: Meeting in person or over the phone with the business owner to gain a proper understanding of his or her business and business goals, as well as his or her design vision for their website.
Initial website design: creative envisioning and incorporating the essential graphic elements in a visually pleasing layout that effectively communicates your business message. Effective design will guide and persuade website visitors to take one or more desired actions that will grow your business. Those “calls to action” could include invitations to call you, visit you, schedule an appointment, request a quote, or purchase products or services online using online order forms.
Design refinement: Reviewing the initial design concept with the client, revising design according to client requests, advising and educating client if desired design changes are ill-advised and why.
Keyword research and consultation: Identify top-level keywords and keyword phrases that are relevant to your business, have high search demand and are necessary for search engine optimization to ensure your website gets found online by your best prospects and customers.
Web Content Development: Ideally, clients provide ready-made content that is properly written for online viewing. Website content should be structured in small chunks of 5-6 lines per paragraph for easy scanning. Website content also should incorporate the relevant keyword or keyword phrase in the page title, in the first paragraph, in the last paragraph, and link to other related or supporting pages within your website. In actual practice, it is a rare client that provides ready-to-go content that does not require some degree of professional copywriting and / or copy editing.
Image Editing: All images or photographs should be edited so they load fast (website visitors are impatient and hate to be kept waiting while large image files load). They also should be properly identified through “meta tags” (image names, image titles, image descriptions, image captions) that tell search engines what the image or photo means and how it relates to your business. It also takes time to upload images into your website and test to make sure they look right and that related text is placed correctly relevant to that image — i.e., does the text wrap correctly to the left or the right or beneath the image? Does there need to be more white space or margin between the image and surrounding text?
Add-On Features, Bells and Whistles: Many clients want at least a few add-on features to enhance their website functionality. Such features could include customized contact or request quote forms, image or photo galleries, web video, ecommerce functions (paypal buttons or full-fledge online stores), social media integration (Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and RSS feed hotlinks, social sharing buttons allowing visitors to share or email page links to other people, etc.)
Under-the-Hood tasks: Tasks that few small business owners understand but are also essential include creating and submitting site maps to search engines, installing anti-virus and anti-spam tools to keep your website secure, checking to make sure your website looks right in all popular browsers (different versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari); setting up Google Analytics to measure traffic to your website, etc.
Search Engine Optimization: Optimizing website content for search engine visibility and indexing to make sure that your website is getting found by your best prospects. This includes adding your business name, address, phone number and relevant keywords and keyword phrases in search-engine-readable and consistent standardized format to every page of your website. It also includes adding relevant, unique titles and page descriptions to every page, and building external links pointing back to your website from at least 5-6 external “authority websites” like Google Places, YellowPages.com, SuperPages.com, Merchant Circle, Yelp, InsiderPages, and more.
This is a high-level overview, and by no means exhaustive, list of the tasks a professional, qualified website designer and developer will perform for small business clients.
Hopefully, it will give you a better understanding of the time required to create and deliver a well-built, properly optimized website for your small business.
So What Is The Bottom Line? What is A Reasonable Price to Pay for a Small Business Website Costs?
The fairest website pricing model from the website designer/developer point of view would be to charge by the hour, because it is hard to predict how long any one website project will take. A fixed-price quote can result in a net rate of pay of $10 an hour or less, which is not a sustainable rate of pay for professional assistance and expertise.
Some small business owners are easy to please and approve designs quickly with few or no revisions; other small business owners may require two, three, or even dozens of design revisions before they are satisfied.
However, few small business owners are willing to commit to an open-ended website price based on the number of hours a designer spends on their website project. Most designers will, therefore, agree to a fixed price with specific limitations on the number of revisions that will be included for that fixed price.
In the American marketplace, professional website designers and developers typically charge between $60 – $120 per hour for their time and expertise. Using that figure as a guideline, you should expect to pay somewhere between $2,400 and $4,800 for a basic 8-10 -page small business website if quality design and workmanship are important to you, and you want a customized design and a few custom add-on features.
Wow! That’s a Whole Lot More Than I Want to Pay for a Website!
If you think about it, a $60-$120 hourly rate is pretty common and standard for a wide variety of personal and professional service providers: hair dressers, massage therapists, personal trainers, accountants, lawyers, plumbers, electricians, copywriters, graphic designers, and other professionals typically charge fees in this range, and even higher.
To put these rates into a livable wage perspective: At $60 per hour, the professional will only keep about $40 per hour after paying federal and state taxes. There are also costs of doing business that reduce their net pay — investments in computer equipment, software, professional training and tools, and more.
Assuming the individual’s productive work hours are about 30 hours per week (discounting time spent in client meetings and consultations, professional development activities, and more) then at a net $30 per hour, your website designer or developer is only earning about $900 per week, or $43,200 per year for a 48-week work year.
Even at $120 per hour, your website designer or developer will only be earning a net $86,400 per year after paying taxes and typical business expenses. This income level does not support a lavish lifestyle in our American economy by any means.
I Really Can’t Justify That Cost So I’ll Build My Website Myself
Some business owners decide to build their own websites using cheap or free website building services to save costs on website design and get the web presence they need. This is a mistake for the following reasons:
If you want to be perceived as a professional business, you need to invest in professional design.
Do you build your own house, do your own plumbing, or do your own car maintenance to save money? Most people hire professionals to do these and similar jobs for safety reasons and peace of mind. Website development is no different. Your website presents your professional face to the world of online consumers and prospects; the first impression you make will be a lasting impression. If your website is not designed to impress your prospects the minute they arrive, and guide them towards an action that will lead to a purchase, your time and money are wasted.
As a business owner, your time is better spent managing your business than spending time working within limited free or cheap website design services to create a web presence that will market your business professionally.
Websites built on free or cheap services usually don’t get found by your target marketplace.
Page 1 Local Search Results: Essential for Local Businesses
Very few self-built websites will ever get found online by your best prospects and customers. It’s unlikely you know what you need to do to optimize your website properly for best search engine results.
If your best prospects and customers can’t find you by typing logical search phrases into their computers or mobile phones, you may as well not have a website at all.
As you can see from the pie chart on the left (click the chart for a larger view), you need to include at least 17 different elements for a complete local business directory listing.
Know the Top Local Search Ranking Factors Before You Start
While you can create and submit your local business listings yourself, this task is not as simple or straightforward as you might imagine. Before getting started, you should read and understand how to apply these local search ranking factors.
How Much Time Does It Take to Create and Submit an Effective Lead-Generating Local Business Listing?
An effective lead-generating local business listing starts with keyword research. You will want to spend some time researching which business categories are the best choices for your business. Here for example, is Google’s list of official business categories.
Whenever possible, you should list your business using at least one of the “official” business categories used by each directory. If your business does not fit neatly into any of the listed categories, choose the category that best fits your business.
Every directory has its own set of business categories. Unfortunately, there is no standard list of business categories that is used by every local business directory, so you must use your best judgment in each instance to decide where your business best fits within that directory.
Next, you will need to craft a concise, well-written business description that incorporates highly-searched keywords and keyword phrases. You can use Google’s Keyword Research Tool to research and identify keywords and keyword phrases that are most likely to generate search traffic for your website.
Your business description should include a call-to-action that will motivate online visitors to call or email you right away to get something valuable, such as a time-limited coupon or special offer.
Realistically, you should budget 10-20 hours to do the preliminary keyword research and then create and submit a properly constructed lead-generating local business listing to the top local business directories.
This Sounds Awfully Complicated: Is It Really Worthwhile?
Once your complete, well-crafted business information is listed everywhere it needs to be online, you can expect a high return on your investment. Local online business listings can get found by hundreds — even thousands — of people every month who are searching for businesses just like yours. When you make it easy for them to find and contact you online, you can expect to generate many more highly-targeted leads, with little or no additional effort.
I Don’t Want To Do This Myself: Can You Do It For Me?
If you do not want to take the time to learn how to create and submit effective local business listings yourself, Herbst Marketing can do it for you.
We can get your business listed everywhere it needs to be listed online. Pricing depends on the number of directories in which you are listed. We will need to talk with you first and get a better understanding of your business in order to identify the best business directory listings for you.
Like many small business owners, Kelly assumed that “if I build it, they will come.” She didn’t realize that Godaddy’s website-building tools were not enough to create a website that works. It takes specialized skills and know-how to build a website that works — experience that few small business owners possess, or have time to develop.
Kelly knew she had to do something different, because (more…)
More and more Warrenton and Fauquier Virginia small business owners are realizing that they need a robust online presence to compete effectively in today’s marketplace.
As a Warrenton VA / Fauquier VA website development and internet marketing expert, I have helped many local small business owners create their online presence.
Websites, Email, Blogs and Facebook: The Four Essential Marketing Tools
I always advise the business owners I work with that they need to have and maintain a website, an email newsletter, a blog and a Facebook page to compete effectively in today’s marketplace
Mobile Marketing: The Next Big Thing
This year, mobile marketing looks to be “the next big thing.” As more and more consumers use their cell phones to locate and research local businesses, more and more business owners are realizing that they need to create and manage a mobile internet presence as well.
WordPress Small Biz Theme: The Single Best All-in-One Small Business Internet Marketing Tool
So, what is the best all-in-one small business internet marketing tool?
Few small business owners I’ve met have the time, the know-how, the desire or the budget to design, create and manage their online presence. At the same time, they realize that it has to be done, and are confused about how and where to start.
I personally use and recommend the Small Biz WordPress Theme from Expand2Webfor creating and managing your online business presence. There are many “premium” wordpress themes that you can buy today; but this one is specifically designed for small business needs.
It streamlines the website development process, and has built-in features that can increase and maintain your business’ search engine rankings.
This Small Business WordPress Themealso makes it easy to maintain and edit your website content. If you know how to create and edit documents in Microsoft Word, you can create and edit your WordPress website.
Fresh, Engaging, Relevant Content is Essential to Your Business Success
Creating fresh, relevant, and engaging content on a regular schedule, then distributing that content in various forms throughout the internet, is a “must-do” business-building strategy.
Just as our bodies need to be replenished daily with nutritious food, fresh water and sunshine to maintain our health, your business also needs to be nourished through throughtfully-developed online content that attracts and engages your best customers and prospects.
The Expand2Web SmallBiz WordPress Themesimplifies the task of creating customized business websites and blogs, and is specifically designed to enhance small business local search results.
Built-In Mobile Website Feature
The SmallBiz WordPress Theme also lets you instantly create touch-enabled mobile websites that will look good and perform well on iPhones, iPads, and Androids.
Google tells us that:
50% of all searches on mobile devices today
are for local goods and services!
That’s why every local business owner needs to have both a mobile website and a standard website to reach every possible customer and prospect at the moment they want to find you online.
Built-In Facebook Management Feature
The new Small Biz WordPress Theme also lets you create and manage your own Facebook pages from WordPress. This means that you can customize your Facebook pages to match your website and your brand identity, and add fresh content to your Facebook page as easily as you add it to your blog or website.
An Affordable Turnkey Online Marketing Solution for Small Business Owners
The Small Biz WordPress Theme offers a turnkey solution for anyone who wants a website, blog, mobile marketing, and effective Facebook presence, in a tool that does it all.
If you want to build your own website on the best website platform for small businesses today, you can get this fantastic business-buidling tool plus a lifetime of upgrades and a pile of helpful support tools.
How to Get the Small Biz WordPress Theme
I highly recommend the Small Biz Theme as the single best business investment you can make in creating and growing your online presence today.
The Small Biz Theme allows you to create Facebook specific pages in WordPress, a Facebook specific navigation menu, and it comes with a Facebook App that connects your SmallBiz site with your Facebook Page.
The Expand2Web SmallBiz Theme gives you the perfect state-of-the-art all-in-one solution for creating and managing your Facebook/Mobile Website/Blog and Small Business Website, in one convenient place.
SmallBiz WordPress Theme Overview:
Price: Under $100 for single-user license
Stellar support and customer service from Expand2Web
Create and manage Facebook page tabs from within WordPress — a full content management system (CMS) for Facebook comes built-in with this theme!)
Automatically display touch-enabled mobile landing pages to mobile visitors using iPhone, iPad, Android or Blackberry devices
Build your professional website and small business blog in a half-day or less
Social Media integration for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn
Built-in Search Engine Optimization features for top Local Search Rankings (hCard microformats, SEO tools)
User Guide with Video Tutorials
8 design layouts out of the box
Customize the header graphic, color scheme, navigation menu, business information and much more without coding.
Facebook specific pages and menu
Facebook App included: based on Facebook Iframes for page tabs
Brand new Image Rotator Layout with easy image uploading, linkable images, scalable text area
Collapsible Options Panel for tweaking and styling your site
Color picker for Mobile Call and Directions touch buttons
Many small business owners use free do-it-yourself website building tools to create a web presence for themselves.
Then they wonder why their free website isn’t getting found by their target market, and isn’t generating inquiries, leads or sales.
Like anything else worth doing in life, building an effective business website involves learning and applying new skills.
When you think about it, “free” websites aren’t really free when you factor in the cost and value of your time.
If you spend 50 hours learning and applying the skills required to create an effective website (the bare minimum time required), and if you value your time at $50 an hour (the minimum value a business owner should assign to their time) — then you have actually invested $2,500 worth of time to create a website that probably won’t deliver the results you want — because even after spending 50 hours educating yourself, you will still be a novice at website design and development.
Website Development Action Plan
Here is the action plan Herbst Marketing follows when designing and developing small business websites:
1. Keyword research. Do you know what words or phrases real people use when searching online for businesses like yours? Building a website without doing your keyword research first is like trying to hit a pin the tail on the donkey while you are blindfolded. Keyword research is a necessary first step in building any website if your intention is to make money.
2. Once you’ve compiled a master list of keywords and keyword phrases related to your business niche, narrow the list down to the 10-20 most profitable keywords that have the the highest search volume.
3. Consider buying a domain name that incorporates your best keyword or keyword phrase. For example: Town Name Chiropractic, or Dog Grooming Anytown.
4. Create one page of content for each of your identified keywords or keyword phrases.
5. Select good photos or images related to each keyword or keyword phrase. Crop, edit and resize them for fast loading (they should be resized to 100 KB or less). Be sure to give each photo an “alt tag” with a photo description and photo title. Upload photos and images into each page.
6. Write and add a keyword-focused title for each page. The title must be 60 characters or less.
7. Write and add a page description (160 characters or less) that incorporates your keyword or keyword phrase. Make the page description concise and include a call to action. Many people will only read your page title and page description when searching for local businesses online – so it should be a well-crafted blurb. Professional copywriting talent is a must for this task.
8. For each keyword or keyword phrase, write a blog post with helpful tips, news or information that will educate, entertain, or enlighten your target market.
9. Set up the platform for your website: We use premium wordpress themes with built-in small business website optimization features.
10. Add your content pages and your posts. Schedule posts to be published several days apart over a period of 2-3 months.
12. Make sure every page of your site links to at least one other page, and that you use “keyword phrases” as “anchor text” for each “internal link.”
13. Add a lead-generating form to your website home page and internal pages, where appropriate. This is a place where people type in their name and email address to request something of value. For service businesses, this could be a service request form or a quote request form.
14. Create a compelling offer with a time limit. Create a concise and compelling description of your offer, and put it near your lead generating form wherever it appears in your website.
15. Set up a delivery system for your time-limited offer. If it’s a coupon, people should receive it immediately after submitting their name and email address. If it is a special report or informative video, they should receive a follow-up email message immediately instructing them how to download the report or access the video.
16. Set up your business facebook page. Be sure to create a special welcome page that invites new visitors to join your email list, or sign up to receive your special offer.
17. Add a Facebook and other social media icons to your website – make sure they are clickable and link to your Facebook page and any other social media accounts you have set up.
18. Send email invitations to your social circle and business network. Ask them to visit your website, sign up for your special offer, and “like” you on your new Facebook page.
19. Claim your Google Places listing. Make sure to include all relevant information, including business name, address, phone numbers, website URL, categories that “show up on the Google map,” product and service descriptions, relevant photos, videos, hours of operation, methods of payment received,and any other information you want to include.
20. Submit your site to Google, Yahoo, Bing to get it indexed.
21. Verify your site with Google to prove you own your own website. Insert the Google Verification Code into the proper section of your website header.
22. Sign up for Google Analytics and insert the Google Analytics Code into the proper section of your website header.
23. Set up an RSS feed and a system for automatically syndicating your feed to your social media properties.
24. If possible, create one or more videos and upload them to several video hosting sites. Make sure to put a backlink to your website in the proper place in the video description field. Write a concise and compelling description for each video, and be sure to include it in the proper place in each video submission.
25. Begin link building: Identify other business directories, social bookmarking websites, and blog websites and directory information, and articles with backlinks to relevant internal pages of your website.
26. Create and publish at least one new page of content and one new blog post each week.
27. Syndicate your content and blog posts via social media with backlinks to your site.
Need Website Development Help?
If you know how — and have the time — to do all these tasks the right way, to get the best results, then it may make sense to build and manage your website yourself.
If, on the other hand, you have concluded that effective website development and management is, indeed, too complex and time-consuming a task to undertake and manage on your own, Herbst Marketing can help.