How does the healthcare bill affect you?

I am hoping for the best, though I admit I’m scared to death of being forced to buy health insurance. Sure, I would love to have good health insurance and I do shell out some of my hard earned dough for the smallest bit of coverage I could get. But I always knew that if times got tough (tougher than they already are) I could drop that policy and have a little extra breathing room in my budget.

From what I know of the new healthcare bill, that breathing room is about to vanish.

I’m a small business owner. So small that I can be thankful that I don’t have employees that I will have to cover. Instead, I only need worry about myself. But as a small business owner, I know how tight budgets can be. That’s why I offer my own services at very affordable prices. If you have a small business and have been considering getting a website, you may have been shocked to see how expensive hiring a designer can be.

My job is to make that a little less painful. I do simple, attractive websites that are built to attract new visitors to your business. I highly recommend building your site using WordPress. WordPress allows you the ability to continuously add content to your site. The more quality content you have, the more people will find your site.

More visitors means more business. And in this economy of falling income and rising expenses, more business is good. If you want to talk to me more about how I can build you a site in wordpress and how wordpress can help you, use my contact form to send me an email!

Web Hosting Reviews

Finding the right web hosting service provider for you can be overwhelming and frustrating. Maybe you’re not sure how much space and bandwidth you need. Maybe you don’t even know what bandwidth is! I am here to help by reviewing some of the service providers I have used for the past few years.

Host Gator

Host Gator - Host unlimited websites Host Gator is my current hosting provider for all of my sites. The unlimited websites option is what attracted me.

Their regular hosting plans start at $4.95 per month for one domain. You can bump that up easily to unlimited domains for only $7.95 per month. Still a reasonable price for a valuable service.

The business account starts at $12.95 per month. Host Gator offers a number of extra perks for their business customers: Free SSL certificate on the primary domain. Also you can get a free toll free number for your business.

Reliability has been very good. I have not had any experience with customer service yet. I will soon when I install the SSL on my domain. I’ll post an update on customer service when I can!

My only complaint is I wish I could put the free SSL certificate on a different domain. I don’t need it on my primary domain. I can still get one, but I have to pay for it.

Host Nine

I first learned about Host Nine through my employer at my part time job. The experience I have with Host Nine is with their reseller account.

The reseller account is an excellent program where for a very reasonable monthly fee, you can sell hosting accounts under your own name. The profits are yours to keep. Host Nine is not only a reliable host, they also offer one of the best reseller plans.

They’re offering an unlimited hosting plan for $6.95 a month. There is no contract to sign. You can host unlimited domains and have unlimited bandwidth and storage.

Up time has been 100% since we joined Host Nine. Customer service is fairly prompt by email or phone.

My only complaint with Host Nine is the occasional technical glitch when I create more than one new account at a time. The positive in this is customer service takes care of it right away for me.

With the reseller plan, since it’s shared hosting, there are times when I can’t create an account in a certain area because that location is full. I’m forced to create it on a server elsewhere. That’s only a slight inconvenience as long as the customer doesn’t care whether his site is hosted in New York or Texas.

Godaddy.com

GoDaddy.com $7.49 .com Sale 120x90My first hosting provider was Godaddy. Godaddy.com is a great place to start for several reasons:

 

  • They are affordable.
  • Set-up is easy.
  • Customer service is fast and effective.
  • They offer a variety of service levels to fit your needs.

Here is some basic information regarding the hosting packages they offer:

Website hosting:
As low as $4.24 per month. There is no setup fee. They offer 24/7 support. You can purchase plans with up to unlimited storage and bandwidth.

Virtual Dedicated Servers:
With a virtual dedicated server, you have full control over your server space. Up to 50GB in storage and 2000GB in bandwidth.

Prices for virtual dedicated servers start at $23.99 a month.

Dedicated Servers:
With a dedicated server, you can customize and configure your own server. A dedicated server is great for high traffic applications like gaming and multimedia websites.

Prices for dedicated servers start at $63.99 a month.

Click for more info on any of these packages.

My experience with them was a mostly positive one. While I have been testing the waters with other hosting providers, I still use Godaddy as my primary registrar.

My only complaints with Godaddy are what I think are overly aggressive sales tactics and the customer service number is not toll free. Since I use my cell phone for calls anyway, toll free doesn’t really matter to me.

More recently, I’ve seen issues with running scripts. Not all of their hosting plans allow scripts, which severely limits what I can do with a website. I’m not familiar with their higher level plans to know if and when scripts become available. This is a definite drawback to their service, especially when I can run scripts with other hosting companies for the same low prices.

Web Design Guide for Small Businesses

So you want to put your business or organization on the internet. Maybe you want to give your customers more information about your company. Perhaps you have valuable information that will help others, or maybe you want to expand and sell your product online.

These are all great reasons to put your business on the web. In this article, I will help you understand the web design process so that your website can be a successful part of your business.

A common mistake business owners make when deciding to put their business on the web is to rush into calling a web designer without first having a plan. The following steps should always be taken first, before ever picking up the phone:

  1. Define your project.
  2. Find a designer who fits your needs and your budget.
  3. Think about your target audience.
  4. Decide how you will keep your information fresh.

Define Your Project.

Defining your project is probably the single most important step in the process of creating your website. By asking yourself these important questions, you are increasing the chances that your website will do exactly what you want it to do… maybe even more!

  • What is the main purpose of your website? Is there anything else you want to accomplish with your site?
  • Who is your primary target audience?
  • What elements are a MUST HAVE for your website?
  • What do you NOT want to see on your site?
  • What content will you want on your site and how many pages will you need to accomplish that?
  • What will you put on each page?
  • What kind of feeling or mood do you want your site to show?
  • What will make your site different than other similar sites?
  • What do you expect your site to accomplish within a year?
  • How much are you willing to spend on the initial site as well as ongoing maintenance?

Knowing the answers to these questions to the best of your ability will put you ahead of the game when it comes time to contact a web designer. Knowing exactly what you want out of your site will help your designer better meet your expectations and help your site accomplish its goals.

Find a Designer Who Fits Your Needs and Your Budget.

Does the designer fit your tastes? Take a look at his or her portfolio. Don’t take the designer’s word for it that he can do what you ask. Make sure he can show you samples. If you like what you see, move forward. If not…. move on.

What about your budget? How much are you willing to spend? Even a simple site will require an initial investment and could cost hundreds or even thousands.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for within your budget, you may need to adjust your budget. Or perhaps adjust your site to better fit within your means.

Take the time to shop around. Designers will vary greatly in talent as well as price. That doesn’t mean cheaper designers are less talented or that the more expensive designers aren’t worth the money. It’s important to find the best person for what you are willing to pay.

There are many factors that could affect the price of a website:

  • The price scale of the designer.
  • The number of pages you want on your site.
  • The coding required to complete the project.
  • The types of elements you desire.
  • The time it takes to write or edit your content.

You can keep your costs down by finding a designer who fits your budget. Have your content complete and in its final form before submitting it to the designer. Eliminate unnecessary content/pages. Keep revisions to a minimum.

Think About Your Target Audience

What YOU want to see on your site is not necessarily what your USERS will want to see. Try to think about your project from their point of view.

  • What you take for granted about your business may be completely unknown to your user. For example, certain industry terminology may be like a foreign language to your readers. Avoid suc terminology where possible.
  • What are your users looking for when they visit your website? Can they find it easily? If they can’t find what they are looking for quickly, they’re more likely to look somewhere else.
  • Do you expect your users to find your site by looking for your company name or by the services you offer? Keep your keywords in mind when writing your content.

Never forget that the most successful sites were written with the USER in mind.

Keep the Information Fresh

A good website is constantly changing and adding new content. It’s important to keep updating your content because people tend to return to sites that always have something new to offer. Search engines also prefer sites that continually grow (as long as the content is relevant.)

Don’t be tempted to add boring filler content that does not add value to your site.

Some ideas for adding content:

  • FAQ Page
  • Newsletters
  • Blogs
  • New Articles
  • New links to helpful resources

Mariposa Web Design is committed to your success. I am constantly researching web design practices and tactics to learn what will get you the best return for your investment.