Monday 04 April 2011 at 12:50 pm.
Setting up a website
- Domain registration, reserve and own your url. The yellow pages guy will sell you a package where they 'set up you website for you'. Guess what - you don't own it. Any traffic you build goes to build the yellow pages brand, not your own. An example of a domain name, or url is hp.com for Hewlett Packard or wachoiva.com for wachovia banks. Your business may not be as large as Hewlett Packard, but you still need to establish your brand on the internet, and the root of this process is reserving and paying the annual fees to keep the domain. Note also, that companies will own variations of the domain name, for example hewlettpackard.com. Examples of companies that allow you to reserve and setup domain names are 1and1.com, godaddy.com, and networksolutions.com.
- Web hosting. Now that you have a brand name, or domain name, or URL reserved, you need to rent a physical computer to host your website. All three of the above named companies also have hosting packages, that cost between $50 and $12,000 a year. Start off with a cheap one, the more expensive ones handle higher traffic, and few local businesses have enough traffic to require more than the economy plan. The hosting package also includes email. You will want to setup an official business email account, for example email@example.com. This will give your customers a secure feeling that they are dealing with the official business and its representatives.
- Web design. There are really two components to this, graphics and technical. You may already have dealings with graphic artists in designing logos, stationary, and advertising layouts. The technical web developer takes the artwork, which these days is all done by computer and stored in files called jpegs, gifs, pngs, and eps files, and incorporates them into the computer code to present web pages. You will need to start with a home page, an about us page, and a products or services page. The home page is where prospects first see your website. It tells people about your business, and directs them to call a phone number, or fill out an email form. The 'about us' page lists contact information, such as your address and fax number, and may even include a map to reach your location, if for example you are a retailer.
- Analytics. I use Google analytics, but there are other engines out there to provide spreadsheet data on visitors, where they came from, what they searched for, what pages they visited, and how long they stayed. More on this later, but this is a must, if you are going to learn how to leverage your web presence into gaining audience with your prospects and customers.
- Blog. This optional component allows you to add to your website without paying the technical web designer. Since the search engines, google and yahoo for example, try to match up what people are looking for to a web page, this is a way for the business owner to express themes relevant to their customers, products and services.
- Form mail
- payment portals
- link exchange
- shopping carts