In addition to writing content for this blog, I often cross post to a blog that was made available to me on the Stitches Magazine Social Site. One of the articles I posted there was a discussion of what your website says about your business. In the comments on that post, I was asked if I had any tips for a business that was thinking of starting a web site. Since I have started several sites in the past, I do have a few tips I’d like to pass along.
The first tip is about selecting a domain name. Try to keep your domain name simple. The best domain names are the same as your company name. Getting cute and selecting a funny domain name generally doesn’t work in your favor. You want your domain name to be easy to remember and easy to type. Shorter is generally better.
You should also make a decision about hosting before you start designing your site. There are several companies out there that offer hosting packages that are quite reasonably priced. Many of them will offer packages that also allow you to buy your domain name at the same time your purchase your hosting. Make sure you do your research and compare a couple of companies. You should also make sure that you know what the bandwidth requirements for your site will be. If you’re planning on running a video heavy site, you may need a different hosting package than you would if you were just setting up a static web page.
After you’ve secured your domain name and hosting, the next thing to do is research. This is a vital and often overlooked step in the website building process. You need to spend some time on the web to find out what your competition is doing. You also need to look at a lot of web sites to get some idea of what you like in a web site and what you don’t like. Learning about awkward navigation and other issues from looking at other websites will save you from having to confront those problems with your own site.
Once you’ve done your research, sit down and write a sitemap for your site. A sitemap is a list of all the pages that make up your site. You should have a detailed plan that lists all the pages you want your site to have before you start building the site. The sitemap will also be your guide for the content you need to create.
After the sitemap is done you can start creating your content. Write any text that needs to be written. Do some keyword research so you know for what keywords you would like your site to rank. Pair your text with the photos you will be using on the site. Select the dominant color scheme for your site.
Finally, you’re ready to build your site. There are several options for building a site, everything from hard coding it to using a program like Dreamweaver to purchasing a site template. The method you use will most likely depend on your level of expertise.
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