So.....all of you cakers with websites. What did you do? Have someone design it for you? Use a free service like freewebs? I started a Flickr account, but want more exposure. Short of going to a web page designer to pay for a site and the hosting fees...what else can I do? I'm not looking to advertise persay, just get my name and photos out there just for the heck of it. Any suggestions?
Oh...and by the way, when you search for something in Google, and some random site comes up, how did it get there? I know some of the sites that you find in searches are not paying to be at the top of a results list, if there is such a thing. Someone told me your site has to be up and running on the internet for awhile, and in time, it will appear on Google when people do searches.
Ok. I'm lost.
We use Freewebs and we love it. We bought a domain name for $20.00 a year. As soon as our website was published on the internet, we were already getting hits off Google. I don't know if it is because we have an unusual name but you can do any part of our name and it appears. We have had great luck with it and it only cost us the $20.00 a year for our name. Good luck!!
I used to have a freewebs site, but I wanted more from my site. I wanted to to convey a level of professionalism that I believe that my business projects. So I bought a flash template site and customized it to suit my style and viola.
Free template sites are a great place to start, but I really feel that when you get to the point where you want to really push your business to the next level.. a professional looking site is the way to go, and you don't have to spend through your nose to get it.
I have a website through Homestead. It was easy to design my pages--and I am no computer whiz, believe me! I only pay $8/month for it, and although I don't recall what the domain name cost me, I know it was very reasonable. When people Google in looking for a bakery in my city, my name shows up on some free sites, such as Decidio.com and Gatheringguide.com. Some of those sites have website links, but all allow phone numbers to be listed. If someone calls and hasn't found my site, I can then direct them to it.
Great ideas from everybody, thank you! And great websites too. I really like how no one's website is like anothers.
And jkalman, I gotta say again, that pumpkin cake you made rocks. I almost can't stand it's coolness.
Don't forget about MySpace. Bands, Movies, Presidential Candidates do it -- why not take advantage of the free exposure.
Shameless plug here.... . My niece does great web stuff. She has a graphic art background (bachelor's degree), so artist flair is important to her and her work. She is quite reasonable as an independent, small business. In fact, people often hire her as a subcontractor on web site work. In fact, so is so sweet, I referred her to CC to "get a backbone" and "value your time and talents" discussions. Classic business mistake we all make as we start out. Anyway, you can find her at:
designlaurels dot com
I use Yahoo Small Business Services. They have a great web creation program that I use. I can update my site at anytime. I am in control of my site at all times. It allows you to submit your site free of charge to the 3 major search engines, and it is easy and inexpensive. Your domain name if you don't already have one is free when you do the webhosting, and their hosting fee is 11.95 per month with the first 3 months of service being 8.95. It is awesome!
I bought my domain name and building tools from Yahoo. 9.95 for the domain and $11 per month for hosting/design tools. I love how easy it was to make and then change when I wanted to.
Another idea would be contact your local high school or college and see if there is a student who wants to design your site. Some schools will allow the students to get a project credit while other students are looking to put something in their portfolio.
You can actually get a domain from godaddy.com for 8.95 they are always that price.
there are a ton of coupon codes for godaddy as well so you can get domain names from them even cheaper, i've used them for domain names and some email hosting for years and have been pleased.
I also have a site through HomeStead. As Bethkay mentioned, it was pretty easy to make yourself. They have excellent customer service if you have any questions or get in a bind when your making it.
THE WEBSITE I HAVE IS FREEWEBS.COM
I SHOW SOME OF THE GELATIN DESIGN I HAD HERE IN THE PHOTOS PLACE BUT AS SOME OF U KNOW THE PHOTOS WERE DELETED WITHOUT NOTICE BUT I WANTED TO HAVE A PLACE HWERE I CAN SEE THE PICTURE AND WHERE U CAN COME TO SEE THE OLD PICTURE THERE IS A SPACE ON THE LOWER SIDE OF THE PICTURE IF U LIKE TO LEAVE COMMENTS
I use officelive.com and love it!! It is totally free and if you make sure to plug every word you can think of related to your cakes, you get great results!!! It has templates to design your site that are really easy to use. If you want to see my website it's www.bayshorecakes.com It also gives you reports!!
I was lucky when I started my business, my husband is a web designer & SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialist. He makes a living off designing websites & getting them to pop up at the top of the list when anyone searches in Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. for that particular type of product.
Now, he's the expert, not me....but I'm pretty sure one of the main things of getting it to pop up at the top of the list on any search engine has to do with how many times the keyword is mentioned on your website. Let's say you use Google to do a search for wedding cakes in Texas using "Texas Wedding Cakes" as the keywords.....In the process of doing the search, Google will go through all the websites, looking for keywords, etc. & choose which ones it thinks has the most useful information on that subject you're searching for. It does this by quickly reviewing the information on each web page before it pulls them up & shows them to you on the list. Whichever one it thinks has the most information gets placed at the top of the viewing list (what you see when the search results come up). So, anybody with just the term "wedding cakes" would of course be listed below anyone who has the exact term "Texas Wedding Cakes" in the text content of their web page. Of course everyone most likely has their keywords included as text on their website, so there are several other factors that play a role in Google determining which site has the most information. For example if you have links on your page to other websites. Those links count as additional information that might be useful to the searcher and will help move you to the top. The problem with trying to get at the top & stay at the top is that websites change all the time so if you were at the top yesterday, you may not be there today. This is why my hubby gets paid to keep everything updated & make sure his clients stay at the top. Every now & then he has to add links, change text, etc. to get them back at the top. Usually if you are in the top 5-10 though, you're in pretty good shape. Once again, I'm not an expert (or even close to it!), this is only what I've overheard him talking about. I'm sure if he read this, he'd look at me real funny & wonder why in the world I thought I knew anything about what I'm talking about!
If anybody would like to use his services though for either just web design or SEO, he's available at http://www.prescottwebmarketing.com/