Few questions for building my first website

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by recycledsole, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. recycledsole

    recycledsole LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD
    Messages: 3,274

    Hey guys,
    I am going to build a website. Im going to buy the domain from godaddy. Then Im going to build it myself.
    1) Which company is best to get hosting through? How much should i expect to pay a month for hosting?

    2) Which company is best for the website builder? How much should i expect to pay for this service?

    Thank you very much
    I appreciate it
  2. greg8872

    greg8872 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 300

    Are you option to the option learning to code it yourself? This makes a difference in price.

    Regular hosting (you code it, or pay someone to code it), you can find a variety of decent providers for under $10/month. Until I started running my own servers and providing hosting myself, I was with Pair Networks (www.pair.com) since 1997 (1 year after they started). They are still one of the larger privately owned and operated hosting companies in the US. Sorry I can't advise much on others, I just don't liek to endorse ones I do not directly use.

    I have also used 1&1, and they now offer a "site builder" that they are pushing hard. All I can offer there is be prepared. When things work good, they were good. When there is issues, it can be a pain in the rump. Check their facebook page for things others have posted. (https://www.facebook.com/1and1 , top of the right column) In the year I was with them (and paying them $250/month) it was a pain to try to get customer service on anything other than directly dealing with the dedicated server support. When they lost all servers in 3 different countries for 5+ hours a year ago, that is when I decided to switch. Like I said, when it worked, it was good and cheap, but the cheapness wasn't worth the hassle. (and besides, I'd rather try to support a US company instead of a German one)

    Now for other services that people seem to like, one that people love for the easy "good looking" sites is Wix. However, having a website for most businesses is more than about having one that looks good, it is about having one people will FIND when they want to get your service. Wix just fails on that front. True they have done some changes to get better listings on Google, and Google is #1 for searching, but Google is also #1 at changing their rules for how sites rank (ask thousands and thousands of people who saw their site drop from search results from the change in September I think it was). Do you want to chance that Wix's "method" will still be accepted the next change? Also, more and more new computers are out where the "regular joe" user just uses what it comes with. Internet Explorer with default search engine of Bing. I recently did some testing of sites on Wix, while they are now coming up in Google, the only way to get them in Bing was to directly look for them with the name or url. (and there are those who use Yahoo, which feeds Bing Results.

    I know, not the answer you probably were looking for, others who have practical use of hosting can give you more. Things to keep in mind for using something with a site builder:

    1. How much can you customize things?

    2. If you decide to go somewhere else, can you take the site? Some (including 1&1's), you do not have a license to use the site template except with their service (your wording and pics will always be yours)

    3. How well does the site validate? Other than content that a user enters, the site should be able to pass http://validator.w3.org/ especially any demo's they show.

    4. Is there extra cost for mail?

    For just hosting and doing it yourself, here are some more:

    5. What platform (windows/IIS or Linux/Apache), there are die hard fans in both camps who will swear the other is junk. Me, I say whatever you are comfortable in and that can do what you need. For basic static pages, both will serve you fine, when you want more, like database driven, then you have to decide. I prefer the Apache route, as that is what I have been working with since 1996 and PHP as I have been programming it since 1999. (There is far more resources out there available too). Again, depends on what you (or your programmer) is comfortable with, but for the love of the WebGods, do not get windows hosting running PHP... (shakes head in thoughts of a customer I have and the special tweaks needed for that)

    6. How many domains can you host on the account? Not only extra domains, but sub domains (www.domain.com, blog.domain.com, billing.domain.com)

    Watch out for fancy ads about how great their datacenter is. Just because something sounds overly impressive, for many, it doesn't reflect the level of the company you are directly dealing with.

    Example: I can tell you that my hosting is backed up 72Megawatts of generators with 55 hours of on-site fuel. I have 4 way redundant internet connectivity backup leaving in 4 geographical directions to keep you online! Impressive huh? Yeah, my servers have that. But I rent them for $550/month from a company that actually owns and maintains the hardware side of them, who in turn rents space/internet connectivity/power from DuPont. (http://www.dft.com/themes/dft/images/data_centers/DFT_brochure_ch1.pdf ). It is marketing. Don't let the "impressive" keep you asking "dumb" questions. Dirt cheap? WHY? Generally the very bottom price side, the cheaper they are, the more they are cramming on their servers, sucks when you site is on a server with hundreds upon hundreds of others, and one of them starts a script that starts making everything respond slow, especially now that google ranks site speed.

    In the end (if you are still reading, yeah I went geek and started rambling, sorry), when in doubt post here who you are considering, we can take a look for you, especially in terms of how well the site is built behind the scenes using a site builder. Like I have said to others, I can come do some landscaping for you, maybe even build you a pretty looking retaining wall. But, will it be built from ground up to last?

    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  3. Ben Bowen

    Ben Bowen LawnSite Bronze Member
    from PNW
    Messages: 1,182

    There is a lot of info on this board- do some digging for great advice!

    I use Squarespace for my site. I previously used 1&1. Squarespace makes it fairly simple to build a very attractive site at a reasonable price. The support is excellent. All the "builders" have issues. From the research I have done, they have the least.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,908

    I agree with Greg. :)

    I agree with Headz.

    Spend some time and search the forum here and you'll find a ton of advice on these topics. While the search by sub-forum on lawnsite is okay, I find that using google and the search operator of "site:lawnsite.com keywords" is better. If you search: hosting, wix, squarespace, builder, etc you'll find some good info and probably notice a recurring theme or two.

    Cost-wise? Decent host will probably be $5-$15/month. You're typical, non business critical site doesn't require much, so find a respected host and you'll be fine. Site builders, throw in another $10-$20/month, but that almost always includes hosting. Of them all, squarespace does a better job than most. The key is in recognizing that site builders only can do so much for you. It's a matter of rolling up your sleeves, learning about any customization you might want to make, and understanding that SEO and getting your site found are not really their strong suits. No matter who, or what, builds it for you, getting you found is the real work, something that it takes people awhile to realize.

    Today's Cheesy Analogy:
    It's like buying a car but not having it fueled. If people know where it is, we can come look at it. Or, you can get it fueled up, and you can come to us. (I swear this analogy works. lol)
  5. Ben Bowen

    Ben Bowen LawnSite Bronze Member
    from PNW
    Messages: 1,182

    One other thought: Squarespace offers a free 14 day trial. You play around with it for 2 weeks and then sign up if you like it. It also gives you time to get the site just right before you launch.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. ClipXE Software

    ClipXE Software LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    We use SquareSpace, godaddy for the domain. Learning how to put a website together is always a work in progress, in my opinion.
  7. Turf Troll

    Turf Troll LawnSite Member
    Messages: 227

    Check out Hostgator for hosting. They do provide a sitebuilder, I recommend setting up a wordpress site instead of using a sitebuilder. Wordpress is free also and can be a regular looking site although going as a blog has definite advantages in competitive areas since it is easier to add content about your business keeping fresh content to your site.

    Here are links for video tutorials



  8. kirkmbrown2001

    kirkmbrown2001 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 265

    I use Bravenet for hosting my websites. I code my own website and do not use a website builder. For my hosting, I pay $99.00 per year for their premium hosting which includes email, 10 websites, ftp, and a bunch of other stuff. I also use them for my domain names, which I pay $8.95/yr I believe. The pricing for their plans can be seen here: http://www.bravehost.com/matrix.php

    They have a website builder package which includes hosting for 3 websites, web email with custom domains, 1 GB of disk space, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited pages. That plan is $7.00/month. The pricing for their plans can be seen here: http://bravesites.com/matrix.php

    I have been using this company for my website hosting and domains for almost 10 years and I can honestly say that I cannot ever remember a time my website was down or offline. They have very reliable service and are making changes and updates all the time.

    They do have a free plan for their website builder. I would not recommend using this to support your website because they have ads and branded domain names, but, you can sign up for it and see if you like the layout and upgrade to a paid plan.

    Take a look and see if it works for you.
  9. kirkmbrown2001

    kirkmbrown2001 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 265

    Sorry, Double Post
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  10. recycledsole

    recycledsole LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD
    Messages: 3,274

    thanks alot everyone i am checking out all the info you provided.

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