What do you need for a website? The following is an overview of what you will need to create a website that includes five components and a brief explanation of website basics for creating a website.
The first step is the actual decision to have a website developed. You will need to determine your Internet objectives and who your audience is. These essential factors will influence what type of web hosting is required. The types of websites you may consider include:
- An informational website
An informational website is similar to an online business brochure. The objective of this type of site is to offer business information including the “who, what, where, when and how” of your business or organization. The process of outlining what will be contained in the site is called a website storyboard. This is essentially an outline of what pages and informational content will be included. For more information, please select: Web design storyboard
- An E-commerce website
An e-commerce website is for those who would like to sell products including goods or services online. This type of site displays products and provides the ability to complete the purchase transaction online. Requirements for an E-commerce website, dependent on your unique situation include:
- An Internet merchant account
- Payment processing gateway
- Storefront Interface / Shopping Cart
- Secure Internet Server
- SSL Secure Service Certificate
If you are hiring a web designer, it is important to determine if pages are created with SEO or search engine optimization. Important key words and phrases should be incorporated “naturally” in the development of the website for maximum Internet exposure. Offering unique content rich in information on your site will greatly enhance your site for your Internet audience. It is essential that ethical SEO techniques are implemented. Unethical practices may actually get a site banned from search engines. For more information, please review: Google’s information for Webmasters, which includes specific guidelines.
Other factors involved in the development of a website include your expected budget. Most web design companies require a deposit before the site is developed with the balance due before the site is launched live on the Internet. It is wise to require that all expected deliverables be written down in the form of a proposal and/or contract so that there are no misunderstandings.
Domain Name Registration
A domain name is an Internet address used on the World Wide Web to locate your website. One does not actually own a domain name as annual fees provide the “right” to use it. Annual fees vary for this privilege depending on the company providing the services and the domain name extension requested. When choosing a name it is important to choose a name that others can remember easily.
The option for “private registration” is also extremely important. ICANN requires that when a domain name is registered, that your e-mail address, physical address, and phone number are published in the public WHOIS database. This requirement makes this personal information to be available for anybody to view on the web. To protect your personal information to deter spammers, telemarketers, identity thieves, harassers, stalkers and others who “mine” the public WHOIS database, consider a private registration.
Domain Name Registration Fees:
Expect to pay: $10.00 – $35.00 annually. Fees may vary for different extensions (.us, .tv, etc.) and discounts may apply for multiple years. For more on domain names, please see: A Guide To Choosing A Domain Name
Web hosting is the actual “housing” where a website is stored. This process may be thought of as the apartment or office that is rented in a large building where the site is conducting business. The type of hosting required is a crucial factor. For example, ASP or Active Server Page programming requires a Windows NT capability. A site designed with Cold Fusion programming requires a specialized server.
Costs for web hosting vary based on the type of server needed. Static or “non-dynamic” websites may be hosted for as little as $5.00 a month on a Unix server. More complicated websites that require specialized hosting capabilities may range from $30 to $150.00 or more per month. Some providers offer discounts for those who pay hosting fees quarterly, semi annually and annually. Questions to ask the potential hosting provider include:
- What is the monthly fee? Are there semi annual or annual discounts?
- Is there a set up fee?
- How much disk space is provided?
- What operating systems are supported?
- How many mailboxes (e-mail accounts) are provided?
- Is there a control panel?
- What databases are supported?
- Is there toll free support, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week?
- Do they have shopping cart software?
Other important considerations when choosing a web hosting company include:
- Be sure the provider offers 99%+ uptime with redundant connections.
- Be certain that the hosting company offers 24×7 support.
- Greatly desired: 24×7 technical phone support with a toll-free phone number.
- Determine if the type of programming language that your site is created with is supported.
Promotion and Marketing
When the website is complete, a marketing plan to promote the website should be devised. Website marketing and promotion fees are separate and in addition to domain name fees, web design and development fees and hosting fees.
A famous line from the movie, Field of Dreams, is “If you build it, he will come.” Unfortunately, if you build it, your visitors will not magically come. You need a marketing plan. For more, please see: Website Marketing.
Web Maintenance / Webmaster Services
Keeping your website fresh with current information is an absolute necessity to portray a professional image to your Internet audience. Ensuring that your site is current and relevant is just as important as initially creating the site.
You will need to determine who is going to perform the changes, updates and programming upgrades to your site. If you anticipate ongoing edits, you may want to consider a cost effective web maintenance agreement. Fees for web maintenance are separate and in addition to web design, domain names, web hosting and promotion.
For more, please see: Website Maintenance – Webmaster Services.
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