So you want to start a website? Well before you go throwing your money around unwisely there are a few things you need and need to know before getting started. The following information can save you time, money and headaches down the road.
1. Have a goal. What is the goal of your proposed website? Is it promotional, entertainment, educational, e-commerce, or some other purpose? Outline what pages will be on your site and what they will contain.
2. Obtain the essential requirements. Two basic things are required for any website those are a domain name, and website hosting. When purchasing website hosting you’ll most likely want to purchase a package which includes a database. Most web hosting companies provide both domain name registration, and web hosting services. Some people have varying reasons why they believe you should use different companies for purchasing your domain name and website hosting, I say keep life simple and just use one company for both of them. In any case you’ll want to make sure you purchase these services on your own so that you maintain control of your site and avoid some unscrupulous person trying to hijack your site down the road. Some popular web hosting companies are Godaddy, 1&1, and Network Solutions. If you plan on starting an e-commerce site/online store then you’ll also need some type of payment service you can opt to get your own merchant account which can be a difficult to acquire and implement online, and which would make you completely liable for every transaction, or you can opt for a third-party service like PayPal, WorldPay, or 2Checkout.
4. Design it. Have an idea of what you want your site to look like, draw a rough sketch of it if you can (your designer can polish it up and make it look pretty). If you don’t know exactly what you would like your site to look like at least know what colors you would like to use in the design. Save yourself some money before having your designer do 101 mockups. Before jumping into the site development you should have a definitive design to work from. Prior to trying to have anyone build anything you should have designs detailing what graphics will be used, what pages will be on the site, and where the links/buttons to those pages will be on the site. If your designer and your developer are one and the same person then they’ll more than likely have you approve a design before they begin building, otherwise have a design ready before asking some poor developer to build something for you on the fly and then making a million change request along the way.
5. Build it. Before hiring a developer to build your site (which you already have a design for) have an idea of what technologies you want to use. You don’t want to build your site using technologies that cost a lot to implement, or obscure programing languages where developers are few and far between. PHP is probably the most popular web scripting language around, that is because it’s free to use, relatively easy to learn, and can be installed on pretty much any kind of server. Another popular web scripting language/framework is ASP because it’s also relatively easy to learn, and is built into Microsoft servers. The final language I’ll mention is Java, most often used by large-scale enterprises Java is a full-fledged programing language it is cross-platform but difficult to learn so there are fewer developers for it who as you may imagine charge more for their services. While building a web site the files should be stored locally on the developers local server or on in a directory not accessible to search engines.
6. Have your content ready. You should have the text content you want on each page typed out into a common file format so it can easily be transferred into your site. You should not expect your designer/developer to write the copy for your site, unless they are also your copywriter in which case you’re probably paying them a lot of money. Many small business and startups tend to write their own copy instead of hiring a professional writer.
7.Go Live. Once everything is in place, all of the t’s are crossed and the i’s are doted it’s time transfer your site files to their new home on the web, you then want to test and retest the site to make sure everything is working as it should in the live environment. Once you’re confident everything is working as it should you’ll want to start your promotions and campaigning.