Think Before You Go Daddy

You may well have experienced a bombardment of digital promises either online or on TV and radio recently – Set up your website in minutes! Online shops from just 99p! 

Covid restrictions have given a lot of businesses the motivation to get online and hosting companies are ready to take full advantage of the situation. Quick and cheap website solutions sound enticing.

Oak Creative has partnered with hundreds businesses to produce a website which is a true extension of their brand and delivers outstanding results for their business – because every site is unique.

So we’ve put together exactly what you need to know if you are looking to take your business online:

The Basics

To get up a website up and running, you need a basic shopping list:

  • Domain name – www.this-is-a-domain-name.co.uk
  • Hosting – This is where your website files and images are stored 
  • Email – Access to email server details so you can set up email addresses that match your domain, e.g. hello@this-is-a-domain-name.co.uk
  • SSL Certificate – Keeps data secure between servers and increases customer trust and boosts your search engine presence
  • …and if selling online, a Payment Gateway such as PayPal, Stripe or Amazon Pay

Some domain companies will charge extra on top for any of the above features – we’ve seen SSL certificates being charged at £90 a year, whereas companies like one.com automatically include SSL certification in all of their packages for a low annual price.

Here are a few danger signs to look out for when considering investing in a quick-fix website:

Hidden Costs

A low price is always appealing. However, we should dig deeper – a lot of website hosting companies will offer an extremely low price for the first year, then hike it up to an unreasonable monthly cost to you.

As mentioned earlier, an SSL certificate is just one of the ‘extras’ a hosting company may charge you for, along with a range of services that sound necessary and good value, but may well be complete overkill for your website. They are counting on you not really knowing what you need.

Any domain and hosting package that is costing your business more than £70 a year, should ring alarm bells.

Another grey area is what payment options are actually going to be available to you and your customers? Out-of-the-box solutions will be limited, usually to safeguard themselves. They may also charge 1-3% per transaction. You should consider the transaction from the point of view of your customers what do you look out for when shopping online?

Design, or Lack Thereof

You could have a website up in minutes – this is actually true – but what would it look like? Creating a successful website that looks and works well takes time, knowledge and skill, especially if you’re hoping to sell online. 

We’ve seen some real horror shows where the client has been promised the world then abandoned and left with a “website builder” that doesn’t allow them any flexibility or creativity.

Cheap website builders rely on you having an understanding of how a website works, a sitemap, your own high-res photography, structured content and knowing where to place all of that in order to create a successful website.

“Get to the Top of Google”

This is a popular and ridiculous promise. Getting to the top of search engines involves a process called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The idea behind SEO is to meet the expectations of Google and other search engines’ criteria for what makes a good website. They reward meeting this criteria by pushing you up the listings.

Companies invest thousands per year into SEO and are still unable to get that promised top-spot. For a hosting company to try and sell you this is extremely dishonest. They might word it differently by “assigning you an SEO specialist” but don’t fall for it.

They also promise that coveted top spot without actually knowing what you do.

For example, your product could be T-Shirts. T-Shirts are a very competitive search term online. Your competitors for that search term will be big hitters such as Next, ASOS, Matalan, Sports Direct, and then every other start up that has thought about selling T-Shirts online – these companies will either have a dedicated team for SEO or have a huge head start on you in terms of website size.

Support

Is there any? It’s all smiles to begin with, but new customers can often be left to it once they’ve paid up.

Online chat is often manned by a bot with pre-loaded responses to certain key words. The phone line is either hidden away in a labyrinth or simply doesn’t exist and the sole customer support option appears to be “write us a letter”. Not helpful.

So what is the answer?

A creative partnership with Oak Creative could be the way forward for you.

We’ve been helping brands for over 30 years, and by having a creative partnership with us we can figure out the best options for you. We can talk through your aspirations as a business and produce a brand audit that will lay down guidelines on how you can grow: Your website being a key cornerstone of that plan.

Our team’s experience and skill set means we can offer:

  • Bespoke designs that champion your brand and products
  • Advice on the best hosting packages to suit your budget
  • Advice on the best payment gateway for your product
  • An honest translation of any web jargon you may be confused by
  • Updates on the performance of your website
  • Training on how to update and manage your site

You can launch your brand lift-off mission with Oak Creative today with a no-obligation conversation – drop Laura an email on laura@oakcreative.net.

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