Table of contents
- SMEs and the managed directory listing portals
- 1. The content management and its limitations with portals
- 2. The control on servers and your brand name or domain by the portals
- 3. The control on your content and ability to design a website with ease
- 4. Full e-commerce functionality on your website
- Pricing factors and comparison
SMEs and the managed directory listing portals
Portals like India Mart, Trade India, and/or Justdial have done a great job in bringing the SMEs of India online. Without them, it couldn’t have been possible for these SMEs to make the best use of the very evolving open market of India. The SMEs are the backbone of this country and they contribute to the country’s growth very massively. Portals like India Mart, Justdial, and/or Trade India have helped them take the advantage of internet and eCommerce technology. These Portals have helped them at a COST, which needs an eye now. As we know the internet and eCom technologies have been very versatile and continuously evolving; it’s time for these SMEs to take an adaptive move and walk progressively. Let us talk about how easy it is for you to design a website.
1. The content management and its limitations with portals ↑
Though these portals manage your listing, they also tend to give you limited space and features. Let us understand the CMS (Content Management System), it is basically software or a set of tools that serve to create, administer and manage a website with ease and without the need for web programming knowledge. Portals like India Mart and others have an integrated CMS that allows you to manage and update your content with ease. But, they have limited the power of a CMS by giving you limited control and freedom.
1.1. The power of a CMS for a website design project ↑
A CMS can help you design your website according to your need with the help of their integrated tools and plugins. You have the freedom to build your brand around the theme and colour palette you choose. Change the layout completely to your need and showcase your products in the best of your space. You have control over your content. You can either hire an expert freelance copywriter to write an effective copy that converts; or hire a freelancer to design your theme and the logo that captures the attention of the viewer. Or, all these can be done by a person who is willing to push their business to a new height using some simple and free-to-use SAAS and IoT. To name a few, here are some recommendations for tools, CMSs, and services you should start LEARNING now.
- Use Canva to design your logo or a banner for your website
- WordPress is a powerful CMS that allows you to manage your contents
- Buy a templated theme package from ThemeForest
- Hire a Freelancer from Fiverr to write a great and appealing copy or to design your website.
2. The control on servers and your domain by the portals ↑
When you use portals that manage your listing and CMS e.g. India Mart, Trade India, etc. They only allow you to add some images and a copy of your product on a self-hosted server they own. These servers host their domain and serve your listing as a subdomain with your brand name. This is a good practice to some extent as far as search engine optimization (SEO) is concerned. But this will be even better if you serve your domain hosted on a server that you own and control. It is always a good idea to have a domain in this order www.MyCompany.com rather than having something like www.their-company.com/your-company or www.your-company.their-company.com.
These listings are also considered to be vital, but you have to take into consideration that it’s a time now and you have to evolve. By now you should get a dedicated website that showcases your brand in the right order.
2.1. Book a unique domain name ↑
The first and one of the most important moves you should take is to buy a unique domain name. A domain name refers to your website URL (Uniform Resource Locator). This is what users type in a browser’s address bar or the search bar to directly access your website. A domain name has to be a unique name, which you can choose from a wide range of TLD (Top Level Domain) extensions, for example, magdigit.com, magdigit.in or magdigit.biz, etc. You can easily book a domain from portals like GoDaddy, ResellerClub, Hostinger, or even Google. Once you have booked the domain you need a server to host your domain. The average price of a .com TLD is ranging from USD $7.99 to $12 with applicable taxes; equivalent to INR Rs 900 -Rs 1000.
2.2. Having a dedicated or managed server ↑
When you are starting to build your website, the second most important thing you have to buy is a server. Now, since you have purchased a server, you can host your domain on it now. It will give you complete access and rights to control and change your contents with ease. You can either buy a dedicated hosting plan, shared hosting, or even managed hosting services (recommended) from GoDaddy, ResellerClub, or similar. The price range for a managed hosting plan starts from as low as $5/Mo which will be around INR Rs 4500/year.
3. The control over your content and the ability to design a website with ease ↑
While these portals will give you a difficult time managing your contents in the way you want; having a self-hosted website will give you the freedom to control and plan the contents.
As we have stated earlier in this draft about the CMS; now, you can get a CMS installed on your server, add your domain to it and point the DNS to the server. This might sound technical, to avoid any confusion you can hire a freelancer to get this setup done as quickly as within a day and as low as $5 or maybe INR 1000/-.
3.1. You can choose from a wide range of CMS or page builders ↑
Out there we have a number of CMS and page builders that will help you incorporate the design developed by your designer. Read this article here to learn more about the CMS that you should choose for your web project.
We recommend WordPress CMS; it is powerful, flexible, and open-source packed with tools and features. You can build a robust website with little tech knowledge and customize your design. WordPress supports some of the best page builders like Elementor and WP Bakery; this makes your CMS even more comfortable and flexible.
3.2. Get a website design done or pick a template ↑
If you planning to opt-in for WordPress or anything similar; you can either start with the free built-in template set or buy one. WordPress comes with built-in free themes with all the base features, it is easy to use and customize. However, if you are looking for something super cool for your website and looking for bundled layout pack; you can browse designs from the Envato Elements or ThemeForest template portal. It will cost you a one-time fee for the design license for single-use and you can incorporate the design on your website in a few steps. You can buy a theme for $59 (one time) from ThemeForest.
3.3. Potential risk of data ↑
Listing portals offer an embedded form that is available on your landing page. These forms are made to capture the leads and then the leads are forwarded to you if you have a premium listing enabled. In case, if you are not subscribed to a premium listing there is a probability these leads will be forwarded to your competitors who might have a premium subscription. Some portals also ask for a subscription to the users who are requesting a quote. Therefore it is completely in their control where the lead will be forwarded to.
Having your own website will give you improved control and you can build a database of leads. You can design a form with multiple fields, giving your users ease to submit a detailed request. This process will help you in marketing automation by enabling campaigns like Email Marketing and also Text Marketing.
3.4 Track the data and improve your website performance ↑
Owning a website will enable you to track the data with some free and open-source SAAS tools. Google Tag Manager, Facebook Pixel are to name a few that will help you understand the flow of your data. You can easily monitor which page on your website is receiving quality traffic and how they are getting converted into a lead. These tools will help you optimize the pages and improve overall performance.
4. Full e-commerce functionality on your website ↑
Listing portals will give you an option to showcase your products on your page hosted on their website.
With CMSs like WordPress and Joomla, they offer user-friendly and easy-to-use plugins and extensions that will convert your website into a fully functional eCommerce portal. Virtuemart and WooCommerce are the two main plugins that come with Joomla and WordPress respectively.
Pricing factors and comparison ↑
Managed listing cost breakup
- Very costly
All the major directory listing portals have a subscription plan on a monthly and/or annual basis
- Price range
The subscription price range starts from USD $10/Mo to up to $99/Mo or even more.
- Leads and enquiry form
Some of the listing portals ask the leads to sign up for a subscription plan before they could see the company details they were looking for. Also, if a listed company is not on a premium subscription they will be asked to pay for each lead request.
- Limitations of enquiry
Some listing portals limit the number of enquiries based on the subscription plan, making
- Domain cost
If you want to add a landing page for your business domain the listing company may ask for additional pay requests or upgrade subscriptions.
- Email setup
These listing/directory portals may ask for a hefty sum to get you an email account. The IP quality is still not assured.
Dedicated website cost breakup
- Less costly
Pocket friendly, low recurring cost
- Price range
Server cost and domain cost are the only two recurring services on annual basis. A decent server will cost you nothing more than $30/Annum or $2-3/Mo. A .com domain will cost you flat $11/year on GoDaddy.
- Leads and enquiry form
Since, you will have your dedicated website with a built-in enquiry form it will cost you nothing for leads and enquiries.
- Limitations of enquiry
There will be no limitation on the enquiries submitted on the built-in form
- Domain cost
You can buy the domain from GoDaddy or even Google at a fixed annual price
- Email setup
Email set up fully depends on the type of server you purchase, some servers offer PHP mailer which will offer you to create your business emails at ease, but these PHP mailers are considered spammy by Google at times, it depends on the IP quality and reputation. You can also signup for Google mailer separately or Office 360. Zoho also offers email solutions and it keeps evolving.
At the end of my note, I would like to encourage and motivate businesses to build a dedicated website. Keeping in view the reach of the listing portals, it is very vital to keep your business listed on the directory. It is not recommended to completely delist your business but one should evolve to get a brochure website in order to remain in the league. Moreover, a website is helpful in building the authenticity of your existence.