I’ve had a couple questions come up in the last few years regarding how to get a  business online and getting sufficient exposure.  Its always been the same set of concerns that they have had, specifically around these key areas:

  1. Email hosting
  2. Site Hosting
  3. Web Design & Development
  4. On-going Support

Now, items 1 & 2 are easily attainable and something I always recommend to small businesses with great success.  Email and web Hosting can both be purchased from goDaddy for cheap.  Personally I would recommend Google Apps [email for your domain + calendar + more] and stay away from some of the hassle you would find with godaddy.

For hosting, depending on your exposure need I would most likely recommend a goDaddy shared hosting plan for $5 bucks if you just need a ‘website’.  Most small businesses just need stable exposure so a dedicated or virtual dedicated server is overkill in most cases. If however you are in the business of eCommerce, another option would need to be looked at.

The beauty of goDaddy hosting is that your domain is purchased there as well (if you choose to go with that of course) and your account management complexity is largely reduced. So you get full DNS controls (none of that resticted crap like 1&1 and some others) and hosting all in the same account, for a relatively low price.

Web Design is a touchy subject, as most businesses want a GREAT site, but they don’t want to pay for it.  So they turn to either a rip-off style from another site (“I want what they have!” you can usually hear) or they get a foreign (outsourced) designer/developer who promises something great for cheap and delivers short.  Outsourcing usually leaves a north American client disapointed or without support for the site, not to mention the language barrier (try communicating something to someone who is not very fluent in english).

All in all, businesses should be open to committing some resources to a great web development project.  $500 is entry level design (you would be lucky to get 5-8 pages of content for that much).   $1000 is getting better, and $2000 and up is what you would expect for a decently planned web presence.

Hope that clears up a few things for all those businesses trying to take off on the net.