The following article was sponsored by Alex Oni
Imagine for a moment that websites were cars. It’s a well known fact that women prefer to be with men who drive Ferraris as opposed to those who drove Mazdas and, as a result, a lot of misguided men often try to purchase or lease cars that they can barely afford all in an attempt to attract the opposite sex.
In much the same way, people often spend thousands of dollars to build a website hoping that the fancy logo and spectacular design will attract a lot of visitors and keep them coming back. Unfortunately this hardly ever works. The good news is that, just like there are cars under $15,000 that will attract Candice Swanepoel and her friends, you can also get yourself a good looking website that won’t bankrupt you and still get a lot of visitors. The trick is of course to know what features you should spend money on and what features you are better off implementing yourself or leaving out entirely.
But who am I and why should you listen to me? Well after nearly seven years of building websites and working with clients including Johns Hopkins University, Gold’s Gym, Tax Council, AVIS and host of bloggers including Roosh himself (I have worked on several projects on ROK), I believe I am in a position to offer some advice on how people without an IT background can employ cost effective methods when building a website.
Below I am going to give you some important points to keep to heart. They will save you time and money so please pay close attention.
1. Learn the basics of web development and WordPress
The most important point of the bunch. If you teach yourself how to build a website, you can save yourself a lot of money and time. While there are technically advanced aspects of web development that only a professional web developer would be able to work on, knowing the basics will arm you with enough knowledge to get your website up and running. Then you can proceed to hire a professional for the more complicated work.
WordPress is the world’s most popular tool for building websites and its user friendly interface is perhaps the main reason why nearly 70 million websites have been built with it. The best thing about using WordPress is that you can become quite proficient at using it if you can dedicate about 6 hours to learning how to use it.
Please be sure to check the special offer I have exclusive to ROK readers only about my WordPress courses at the end of this article.
2. Develop a plan for your website
If you don’t have the time to teach yourself web development, before you set out to talk to a web developer make sure you plan how you want your website to function. The best way to do this is to imagine that you are a visitor browsing through your website. What would you expect to see or do when you visit your website? As an example, if you are looking to launch a blog like ROK, some questions to ask yourself include:
- Will readers be able to subscribe to a mailing list?
- Is there an e-book that I want to offer to my readers to download?
- Will visitors be able to share my blog posts on social media?
And so on. Now you don’t have to have everything all planned out from the beginning, as you can always add extra features later on, but the more information you are able to provide the developer from the very beginning, the better.
3. Look at a similar website for reference
One of my favorite recommendations. If you want a website, try to find one or two existing websites that closely match the plan you have in mind for your own website. This is the easiest way to describe to your web developer the kind of website you want.
4. Have a budget
There are two ways most web developers charge. The first is per hour and the second is a fixed amount that both of you will agree on. I highly recommend the second option if you are looking to build a website from scratch, as it ensures that you don’t spend more money than you can actually afford.
Inform the developer how you want your website to function and how much you are willing to spend. If the developer feels the amount you are offering is fair, game on. If not he will negotiate for a higher budget, and both of you can move on from there. If you do have a website already and are just looking to hire a developer to make some changes or tweaks, paying by the hour is the way to go.
5. Functionality trumps design
The two main components of any website are its functionality and design. The functionality refers primarily to what visitors can do on your website—e.g read posts, sign up to a mailing list, pay for goods, etc. The design is the general look and feel of the website. Most people think of the design before the functionality, which is a huge mistake.
Take a look at Reddit and craigslist. These two websites have very mediocre designs but the millions of people who visit these websites don’t care about that. Of course I am not saying the design isn’t important, but if you are on a tight budget, building out the functionality of your website should be your priority while the design can be implemented later. One more thing: do not spend hundreds of dollars on your logo as a few of my clients have done in the past. Go to fiverr.com and hire one of the top logo designers out there to design your logo for about $15. Unless your logo is the Nazi swastika, no one is going to really care what it looks like or how much text shadow was applied.
6. Responsive features
A website is said to be responsive when it looks good on any device. This means your website would look just as good when viewed on a mobile phone as it would on a laptop or tablet. As most people now spend more time using their phones than computers, its a must that your website is built to be responsive.
Search engines like Google also take responsiveness into consideration when grading websites. The good news is that most WordPress themes are already built to be responsive so it shouldn’t cost you that much to have it implemented on your website.
7. Keep things simple
Do you really need that image slider or animation playing in the background? Did you see some fancy scroll effect on another website and feel that it would also look good on yours? While such features may improve your website’s design, they do come at a price. They not only cost extra money to implement, but they could also slow your website down. Think twice about adding such effects, or at the very least keep them to the barest minimum.
8. Use screenshots
Say you already have a website and need some work done on a particular section. Take a screenshot of the area on your existing website where you want some work done and also use arrows to point out the exact spot where the work should be done. This is one of the best ways to help your developer get the job done effectively.
9. Avoid web designers
Not to drive potential clients away from my sister profession, but individuals who know the basics of WordPress can save themselves hundreds if not thousands of dollars by simply spending 20 minutes researching themes and selecting one that they like. With tens of thousands of themes available, I am sure you will find at least one that you like. Of course if you can afford to hire a web designer to design your full website, by all means go for it—but I personally think it’s a waste of money.
10. Do not spend money on SEO
There are hundreds if not thousands of companies who all claim they can get you on the first page of Google. While they certainly can, the truth is unless they employ black hat techniques (which are illegal and will get your website blacklisted if found out) they will use the very same methods that you can do yourself and quite easily too.
Did you know that if you create a sitemap and add alternative texts for all the images on your website, you will drastically improve your chances of getting your website on the first page of Google? Did you also know that you can perform both actions in less than 10 minutes if you know what you are doing and that both actions require zero experience in programming? This is how easy it is and shows the true power of knowledge, but Dick Weiner who thinks SEO is rocket science will go and spend hundreds of dollars.
Be smart and don’t be like Dick Weiner. Educate yourself on the basics of SEO and save yourself some money.
There you have it. Some tips to help you build a decent website on a shoestring budget that will promote your business.
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If you haven’t got the time to take my courses but still want to build a website, or already have one but are in need of a professional web developer, why not contact me. I don’t claim to be a web guru, rock star programmer or whatever fancy title a lot of other professionals come up with these days, but I will get the job done and won’t charge you an arm and a leg either.
If you are still in doubt about the quality of my online courses or web development abilities perhaps a review from Roosh himself might convince you.
“I hired Alex because I had over a dozen programming issues to work out for Return Of Kings. From small bug fixes to more complicated re-writes, Alex successfully tackled them all. He has shown such strong expertise that I’m ready to do more complicated programming projects with him. Our communication is also excellent. I recommend his work.” – Roosh Valizadeh