Needless to say for many aspects of working online you will need your own website. Depending on what you want to do it is not always possible to function without one.
If you are going to be working as an affiliate or are considering doing freelancing or data entry then you may be able to get away without one but for everything else you will need to build a website. But, it’s ok, I am here to tell you that that doesn’t have to be as frightening a prospect as it may at first seem.
There are many people who will build your website for you and not all of them will cost an arm and a leg although the price does vary depending on what you want.
The other option of course, is to build the site yourself and although this is not something that you will be able to do over night there is a lot of technology and software out there that will help you do just that. Again the prices can vary dramatically depending on what you want to do but there are also a lot of free resources if you look.
But before you get to building your site you need to have a name for it. I once received some very good advice about deciding on a name for your site and it was this “Just get on with it”
Many people find themselves suffering from what’s known as ‘Analysis Paralysis’. We so desperately want to come up with a success sounding name that we spend days deciding what to call ourselves only to find when we go to register it that it has already been taken.
How to choose your domain name:
1.What does your business do?
2.Who does it do it for?
3.What is you unique selling position – in other words what have you got that the others haven’t that will make people want to come to you?
4.What is your name?
The last one may seem a bit odd but I’ll get back to that in just a minute. After considering the first 3 points come up with a list of several names that you could use and then take them to a domain registrar and see which ones are available for you to use.
Prices don’t vary too wildly but it is worth a look around.
.com names are among the most expensive and with good reason, as it is the first extension that people will type if they are unsure of your full address and also the most professional sounding. Stay away from cheaper more obscure extensions they may not cost as much but you need to consider what kind of image you want to portray to your customers.
Almost all domain registration services will offer free extras such as domain and email forwarding, if the company you are using doesn’t offer these basic add ons then say thank you and move on to one that does.
4. What is your name?
There is one domain name you should definitely register and that is yourname.com.
Why? Because branding yourself in your market is a brilliant way of letting people know not only who you are and what you do but also that you are very serious about it and take pride in your position. Think about it, would you want your name branded on something that wasn’t up to par, and that’s exactly how your customers are going to see it too “Oh, Denise has put her name to this so she must think it is a quality product/service”
And as long as it is a high quality item your name will become synonymous with quality in your field.
Warning: some domain registrars, upon closing your account due to spam complaints, missed payments or any other reason will retain the name that you purchased and assume ownership of it. Meaning that you will not be able to re-register it anywhere else and so will loose all the traffic that you may have spent months directing to that address. As with all things be sure to read the small print – it’s small for a reason.
Ok so now that you have your name it’s time to choose your web host.
Quite often this can be one I the same provider and so if you are going to use your registered name as the address for your site then be sure to register it with them as it saves you having to transfer things over at a later date.
So what do you need from your web host?
It is essential to know that whatever goes wrong with your site there will be someone that you can contact, preferably by phone 24 hours a day 7 days a week. There is nothing worse than sending a helpdesk ticket for support and not receiving a response for 3 days, and the best way to find out how good the support system is, is to ask their customers. Visit forums and ask questions or search articles and read reviews also ask your friends and colleagues who they use and if they would recommend them.
Building Your Site
As I mentioned before there are many people out there that will build your site for you. All you need to do is give them the details and the premise and they will take on all the technical work for you. To have your website professionally designed and built from scratch can cost you anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. And there are many places where you can find companies to do it for you.
However if you like a challenge and have basic computer capabilities it is perfectly feasible that you can build your own site depending on just what you want it to be.
If you decide to take the challenge on yourself then my first suggestion would be to find some help, support and guidance. If you are quite new to web design there will be many things that can throw you and if you don’t have someone to ask it can become frustrating. Again joining a forum is one of the best ways to find help from like minded people or you can just use the power of the web to find a place where you feel comfortable enough to ask.
There are some things that you will need:
A domain name – Clear, concise and easy to remember. Also be careful with names that people can easily misspell.
A web host – Good customer support is essential. Also check uptime and bandwidth.
Web page templates – Depending on your products/services your site should have a certain consistent feel to it all the way through.
Html editor software – Html is a very complicated language, if you don’t know it or don’t want to learn then you will need software that can do it for you. There are lots of free programmes.
Ftp software – This is how you get your site from your desktop to your server. All FTP software is basically the same but if you are new then stick with the more basic versions until you figure out what you’ll need the rest for.
Header, footer and other graphics – All websites need graphics of some kind. There are packages that you can buy online and edit to your liking or you can spend around $60 – $100 and get the basics done for you.
Those are the very bare basics that you need to be able to start building your site, you will also need to consider e-commerce, download protection, and a few other factors depending on what your site will do.