So you want to have a website. You have gone on to the internet and surfed but you have no idea what developing a website involves.
You are not alone
The majority of my clients know they need a website but they feel overwhelmed and intimidated by internet technology and why not? Internet technology is continually evolving and changing. What is true this month may not be true next month.
Where do I start?
The first thing you need to know is what a domain name is and how to register it. Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular websites. For example:
The whole address you see above is the URL of my business but the domain name is ArtistaDesign.com. The only way to register and start using a domain name is to use the services of a domain name registrar.
The registrar you choose will determine the cost for registering a domain name. You can expect to pay a yearly fee. The website I use is http://www.godaddy.com they have competitive prices and it is easy to transfer your domain name to any server ? web hosting service you choose to host your site.
In picking your domain name make sure it is the name of your business or something related to your business. Once you have a domain name registered it is exclusively yours nobody else can have it unless you don't renew it.
Once you have registered your domain name it is time to seriously think about building your website. You have two choices: outsource it or do it yourself.
Let me tell you my bias. For nearly all businesses and non-profits I recommend outsourcing the initial web design. Many small businesses attempt to design their own website or to hire someone merely on the basis of cost. Both of these options carry potential consequences.
Having a poorly performing ineffective website is worse than not having one at all. A true professional knows what is needed to make a website a success. There are many types of websites and each business will have a different goal in mind. A professional website developer can help you understand what your needs are and put you on the path to success.
My website is done so what is next?
Web hosting is the service that makes a website available to others on the internet. Simply put, you are renting a place to hold your website. Once your website is built your domain name is transferred to your web hosting provider.
Your web designer will upload all the files that are developed for your website to a server (host). The server gives you a specific amount of disc space and allows your website to be accessed by internet users. Web hosting is billed by the month or by the year.
It is very important to find a reliable hosting company for your website you want to be up 24/7 with out any complications. The level of web hosting also depends on the complexity of your website. Your web designer will be able to point you in the right direction.
There are many good hosting companies one of my favorites is http://www.canaca.com they are reliable and give you a good range of choices and options best of all they are reasonably priced.
I think I am ready!
Not yet, it is important to set up professional e-mail addresses. If you have picked a good internet hosting company you should be able to have your e-mails set up ? or set them up yourself. It is totally unprofessional for a business to use a free internet e-mail such as AOL or yahoo. You want your business to look legitimate and credibility is of utmost important especially when your business is internet based.
Example:My email is email@example.com that is much more impressive than firstname.lastname@example.org . When ever I get an email from a business that has a generic address I get the impression they are not very internet savvy.
Ready Set Go!
This is where the action takes place. If you just build your website and park it in cyberspace what do you think will happen? NOTHING?
I can't tell you how many times I have heard, "I have a website but it hasn't helped my business at all!" Well what would happen if you rented a store filled it with beautiful object for people to buy and just set there? NOTHING?
The same is true for the internet. You must market your website. Traditional marketing is great ? add internet marketing and you have a recipe for great success. There is much more to marketing your site than putting the proper key words and sending your site to search engines.
Make sure your URL is on every piece of marketing material you have IE: business cards, ads, banners, flyers, brochures etc.
Have a free online newsletter filled with informative information.
Send out press releases announcing your business.
Have special offers on your website.
There are many things you can do to market your internet business. This is just the tip of the ice berg. One website that will give you invaluable information on marketing your business is http://www.kathleengage.com and best of all it is free!
Did you know?
On-lines sales were up 45% in 2004 and research shows that eCommerce totals in 2005 are likely to surpass USD 133 billion.
Businesses of today need an internet presence to show they are legitimate ? tomorrow businesses will need internet presence to survive.
With a website the world is your oyster and the future is yours.
Is your website an integral part of making money in your business? Then you need to "Create the image you need to attract the customers you want." Pamela Jacob, owner of Artista Design, can help you do just that. She specializes in all types of visual mediums and has been in the new media industry for over a decade. To gain more valuable insights from Pamela Jacob visit: http://www.artistadesign.com