6 Tips To Seriously Save On Your Businesses’ Website Costs.

Saving Money On Your Website Costs.

Need to save on the cost of website design for your small business? Having been in a position of running a local business. I can empathize with the business owner. Every penny counts. I personally started a business that suffered liquidity problems. So I know what it’s like to reach into your pocket; only to come back empty-handed.

In our role as consumer champion. We are going to share with you these tips on how to save serious cash on your design and development charges.

Saving an extra few thousand on website fees is a no-brainer. This means you have that bit extra to put towards paying wages or marketing your business. Maybe even starting an expert SEO campaign with a measurable ROI?

1. Is Your Web Designer Building Your Website Using a Ready-Made Template Design?

Template websites are ready-made, turn-key websites that come pre-built. These websites typically just take a few hours or days to install and build. All the designer has to do is change around some colors, text and add images.

If your designer is charging you more than 2000€ for a template site. You might want to think about saving money by creating your own website using one of the many website builder websites out there such as Shopify or Wix.

Certainly, see whether you can market your business online before splashing out 4 to 5,000€ on a template site. Ask your designer can they code custom websites? And what design experience do they have?

Or alternatively, if you do want to design a website that’s easy to Search Engine Optimize (SEO). You might think about commissioning a bespoke, custom designed website with a great ROI instead.

2. A Big Save On The Website Cost For Your Small Business. Make Sure You Own Your Own Domain Name.

We’ve seen clients in the past get caught out by unscrupulous operators who claim ownership over a businesses’ domain name ie. website address.

This usually happens when the business owner tries to change the webmaster. Make sure you own your domain name and that its DNS info is registered with your details. Not your webmaster’s.

3. Don’t Overpay For Website Updates.

If your webmaster charges by the hour for updates or fixes to your website. Save money by getting him/her to update as many different issues as possible at one time. Instead of being billed 5 times. Ask for 5 updates altogether to save cash.

Alternatively, in order to save on website design costs for your small business; find a webmaster that’ll charge you by the half-hour for updates.

4. Build Your Website With SEO in Mind From Day One.

SEO is a process. Not a one-time job. The first area of SEO. The one that’s most important when you are building your website. Is called technical SEO.

Technical SEO involves writing website code that is search engine friendly. This can become a lot harder if your web designer is using website design templates, see above.

Also, your designer should be SEO-proficient and be able to code. Ask to see websites they’ve created that rank on the first page of Google.

5. Ask About Your Web Designer’s Skill Set.

Designing websites is more complicated today than ever. To be a proficient web designer. The designer should be not just be able to design. But also be able to write server (back end) and browser (front end) code. SEO. Administration. Copywriting. Marketing. At the very least. Knowing HTML isn’t enough.

If they aren’t proficient in these areas and more. It’s going to cost you extra time and effort to source someone who can take on these extra jobs.

6. Be Wary Of Proprietary Content Management Systems.

Proprietary Content Management Systems (CMSs) are a bad idea in our opinion.

Not only do they add extra expense for less security and features. But they also tie you in to your web designer. Should you wish to change web designer in the future. Then you have to start your website all over again.

The best CMS on the market is undoubtedly WordPress. It’s open-source, free and runs 38% of websites on the Internet.

Finally

Taking all these tips on board. Should save you at least 5000€ over a year on your website design costs. Money that can be better spent elsewhere. Remember to sign up to the Hahamarketing.com newsletter for more money-saving tips for your business.

If you have any questions. Or need any advice on ways to save money on your website charges. Then by all means, feel free to contact us.

Maybe you have some tips on how to save money on website charges of your own? Leave a comment below.

Happy Hunting!

Trading Online Voucher Scheme Tips #2: ThinkBusiness.ie Advice

Next in our series of articles about the Trading Online Voucher Scheme by the Local Enterprise Office in Ireland. We talk to John Kennedy from the Bank Of Ireland business resource site ThinkBusiness.ie.

If you’ve never visited ThinkBusiness.ie, we suggest you check it out for information that concerns Irish businesses.

For more information on the Trading Online Voucher Scheme read our blog post. For specific advice from the Local Enterprise Office please view our article.

What is the current state of Irish e-commerce in 2021 John in your opinion?

Better than it was certainly. At one stage only 1 in 4 Irish companies had an online payment facility. It’s improved a lot lately. Back in 2014 it was estimated that 70% of all e-commerce transactions left Irish shores. Nowadays it’s estimated that 60% of irish people buy from overseas.

The government started the Trading Online Voucher Scheme 5 or 6 years ago. They made it a big focus. Today companies such as Salt+soul, siar photography, ps i love you and many others are reaping the whirlwind.

Salt+soul used to do 70% of their business online. Now it’s 100%.

Multyfarnham cookery school did only 10% of their business online. Since the pandemic, that’s increased to 100%. So 100% of their revenue comes from the Internet. They received the help of their Local Enterprise Office in Westmeath.

How has the pandemic changed the way people do business in Ireland?

Online matters now more than ever. However, there are still disadvantages to shopping online though. Such as waiting weeks for goods to come from abroad. Then there’s Brexit and customs charges.

What would your advice be to business owners who are thinking about expanding their online presence?

Enquire at your Local Enterprise Office. Online marketing is hard. The Local Enterprise Office will help you with site, training and ongoing support. Take this opportunity with both hands.

A lot of shoppers and consumers won’t be going back to shopping offline in my opinion.

The bigger sister to the Trading Online Voucher Scheme is the Online Retail Scheme. So businesses should check that out if they don’t qualify for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme.

Has the Trading Online Voucher Scheme been a successful business-incentive program in your experience? How could it be improved in your opinion?

It could be improved by having more case studies coming to the surface. It’s a great thing that it exists at all. Anything that helps.

Which online tools should small business owners know about when beginning to trade online?

Pointy.com helps you bring all your inventory online. It’s an Irish company that was acquired by Google. They created a piece of hardware that interfaces with your Point Of Sale software. They help drive footfall to your brick-and-mortar shop.

Sharing your site to a local community group on Facebook is a good idea.

Shopify.com covers everything to building website, training, online promotions. It may not be your own website but allows you to trade online.

Also, some retailers display a QR code in their window for customers to scan and be taken to their website.

Which niches are in the best position to capitalise on the scheme and on online trading in general?

I would have thought it’d be clothes and physical goods. But really it’s people being inventive. Necessity is the mother of invention.

The ones that surprised me most were people who had something to train or teach.

What is your advice to business owners who are thinking about applying for the scheme?

If you don’t already have a relationship with your Local Enterprise Office. You should have. Start by enquiring.

Local Enterprise Offices are keen to help. Talk to them. See what’s feasible. 

How can business owners maximize their budget with the scheme?

Do your research. If you plan to spend on tools, courses and platforms. How does that fit in with your working capital cost?

People don’t have time, the problem is lack of time and trying to keep the lights on.

The Local Enterprise Office will direct you better in terms of what is a priority and what isn’t. 

Study other businesses and see what they invest in. Make sure you spend your cash on the right things. Web designers aren’t cheap. 

What sort of support does the banking sector (and BOI in particular) offer to SME’s that they should know about?

We did some work with Shopify, Pointy and the E-commerce Association before Christmas. Talk to your bank manager and check out what’s available. The banking sector is a key part in keeping the lights on. Do your research. 

Having taken on the government schemes is a string in your bow. The Credit Guarantee Scheme helps with funding if a business needs to expand. These are loans underwritten by the government.

Anything you’d like to add that might be important to readers?

Just that digital is the future. People are shopping online out of necessity and convenience. You can still have a relationship with your loyal customers.

Online selling means your business keeps selling while you sleep.

Conclusion:

A big thanks to John Kennedy from ThinkBusiness.ie for taking the time to share his experience.

Online trading is clearly the future and is here to stay whether you like it or not. Contact your Local Enterprise Office. Do your research. Start today.

If you would like to discuss any of these tips. Please leave a comment below.

For a free consultation about developing, marketing or designing a website or expanding your online presence. Contact us.

Trading Online Voucher Scheme Tips #1: LEO Advice

Article continuing our series about the Trading Online Voucher Scheme. For more info on the scheme and to see if you qualify. Read our blog post.

Our series will consist of interviews with participants of the scheme and with other business professionals that are tangentially connected with the scheme.

Today is the turn of Paul McGuirk. Head of Enterprise for the Local Enterprise Office in Ireland. Paul has some tips for people participating in the scheme or thinking about participating.

Let’s get started…

How do most businesses hear about the Trading Online Voucher Scheme Paul?

Most people hear about the scheme by word-of-mouth. From friends or their accountants. Either that or online. We also ran an Irish radio ad campaign to promote the scheme.

What do most businesses use the grant for?

The majority of businesses use the grant for developing or enhancing the website/e-commerce facility of their business. Some people only have a social media presence.

Others have a brochure site and upgrade it to fit an e-commerce, online booking and/or payment facility. Many use it for their Shopify or eBay subscription.

Also, many businesses apply and receive the grant twice.

Is the 90% grant over? Or will it return?

The 90% grant scheme ran from Apr – Dec 2020. It’s back to 50% now. There are no plans to bring back the 90% grant rate.

What do you wish businesses knew before applying for the grant? 

Participants of the scheme should first have a firm idea in their own mind of what they want from the grant.

For example, they should know which social media channels their customers use.

They should know how they want to drive traffic to their website. They might need to commission ongoing maintenance work for their website.

Having a strategy for driving people to their website is a must. They should also have a process in place for online ordering.

How can businesses maximize their budget?

To maximize their limited budget. Business owners should only spend 30% of their budget on social media.

They should be able to identify what they want on their website. Be able to prioritize what they want. They might want 5 or 6 things but only be able to afford 4.

Eg. They may wish to do some online training programs such as SEO, LinkedIn and Facebook training. The more they can train themselves the better.

What other supports does the Local Enterprise Office provide business owners?

Local Enterprise Office supports come in 3 parts.

  1. First the Trading Online Voucher Scheme.
  2. Next is ongoing online marketing training classes with experts eg. Facebook, SEO and Twitter training. 
  3. Finally, there’s one-to-one mentoring in running a business online.

What’s the best way to source a Trading Online Voucher Scheme services/partner? 

Ask around business colleagues, friends and relatives. The best method is through word-of-mouth.

What’s the key takeaway from the online introduction webinar?

Business owners should be able to understand what they want. Be able to define the 3 or 4 objectives that they want from this. It’s not just about creating a website and letting it look after itself.

Social media marketing, maintenance and driving people towards the website are all key ongoing factors.

Conclusion

So there you have it. Tips for participating in the Trading Online Voucher Scheme from the LEO Head Of Enterprise, Paul McGuirk.

The key takeaway in our opinion being that business owners should be as knowledgeable as possible about web marketing and their ideal customer in order to have a better idea of what’s right for their business.

One way to stay up to date with online marketing trends is to sign up for the Hahamarketing email newsletter below. Also, check out your local LEO office for more information.

Need help with your Trading Online Voucher Scheme application? Or just web advice in general? Contact us and we’ll be happy to give you a free consultation.

The Trading Online Voucher Scheme – Everything You Need To Know.

Intro To The Trading Online Voucher Scheme

You may not be aware, but the Local Enterprise Office in Ireland is offering a grant of up to €2500 to small businesses to get them trading successfully online. Sound too good to be true? This might just be the shot in the arm that your small business needs to open a lucrative sales channel by trading successfully online.

The voucher scheme can be used for training, design, development and marketing expenses. The scheme will provide a 50% cashback grant on expenses up to €2500.

We provide advice and step-by-step instructions on applying for the scheme below.

“The Trading Online Voucher Scheme is designed to assist small businesses with up to 10 employees to trade more online, boost sales and reach new markets.”

https://www.localenterprise.ie/Discover-Business-Supports/Trading-Online-Voucher-Scheme-/

Businesses that have availed of this scheme before, are entitled to reapply. Be one of the thousands of Irish businesses already availing of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme. Watch this short Local Enterprise Office online video below for more information.

LEO Advice Video on the Trading Online Voucher Scheme

The scheme offers advice and training as well as cash. The Irish government wants to help more small businesses in Ireland trade online. Since the scheme began over 5,000 small Irish businesses have received funding and over 12,000 have received training.

“40% of Irish SMEs don’t have a website, and 68% of those that do have a website don’t have the facility to process payments online.”

IE Domain Registry

Who is eligible for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme ?

Your business qualifies for this scheme if …

  • Your turnover is less than 2 million euros.
  • You employ no more than 10 persons.
  • You apply to your local Enterprise Ireland office.
  • You have been trading for at least 6 months.
  • You have limited or no e-commerce presence;

If you qualify for the scheme read on, and we’ll explain how to apply and what you should know.

How does this help my business?

“Businesses that participated in the scheme reported that on average they saw their sales increase by 20%, with an 80% jump in sales leads and 3 in 5 exporting for the first time.”

https://www.localenterprise.ie/Discover-Business-Supports/Trading-Online-Voucher-Scheme-/

According to the relevant government minister….

“The Trading Online Voucher Scheme provides much-needed support in this regard and I am delighted that at least 3,000 small businesses will avail of it in 2019.”

Irish Government minister Bruton

How Do I Get Advice On The Scheme?

The best advice we can give someone applying for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme. Is to talk to as many people as possible. Also, read everything you can on the scheme. Including our advice on Marketing Your Business Online.

Start your Voucher Scheme journey by reading the Hahamarketing Trading Online Voucher Scheme Tips article created in conjunction with the Local Enterprise Office. Afterwards, you should read the Bank Of Ireland Trading Online Voucher Scheme Tips from Hahamarketing as well.

Do as much research online as possible. Remember that the voucher is available, not just for website development and design. But also for marketing expenses as well.

Developers, designers and marketers you deal with should provide you with a free consultation. Like the free Trading Online Voucher Scheme consultation provided by us at Hahamarketing.com.

You will have to pay the costs upfront. Then apply for your cashback grant from LEO through the proper channels.

How Do I Apply?

To apply for your Trading Online Voucher Scheme grant. Simply follow these steps…

  1. Contact your Local Enterprise Office.
  2. Watch the mandatory 90minTrading Online Voucher Scheme webinar.
  3. Obtain your tax clearance cert.
  4. Source 3 separate quotes from 3 separate vendors for the work.
  5. Fill out the application form.

Then simply apply for the Voucher Scheme and wait to hear back.

Conclusion:

It’s important to note, Enterprise Ireland is willing to match 50% of the funds required to create your online e-commerce, booking or training/consultation expenses up to a value of 2,500€.

This is a really great deal that your business should take advantage. For more info, check out the Local Enterprise Office, Trading Online Voucher Scheme information page.

Contact us and we’ll help you get started on your own Trading Online Voucher Scheme journey today.

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