So you want a website, cool!
The first thing to think about is what do you want to put on the site.
I’m serious – don’t go out and buy a domain name or sign up for web hosting until you do that, you’ll end up staring at a blank screen feeling overwhelmed.
Why do you want this site, do you want to share pictures? Why would you rather have a site then use one of the oodles and oodles of picture sharing services like http://www.flickr.com/, http://picasa.google.com/ ? I’m not saying it is a bad idea but consider the pro’s and the con’s of having your own website for image sharing.
- Easier to say go to me.com/pictures then flicker.com/me
- Get to feel cool having your own site
- Greater flexibility’s in the layout and functionality
- Get to have other ppl of the same interest group share pictures
- easier to control access *
- You have to pay of it yourself
- You have to do much if not all the legwork
- You are responsible to for making sure you and your users are responsible
As you can see it is an even split depending on your needs. For the sake of giving me something to write about. Lets assume that you have decided that yes indeedy do you want / need your own site
Many people assume that at this point they should by a domain from register.com and arrange for webhosting. But actually they should not. Shocking I know but hear me out. What do you do when you go to a webpage?
- Read content?
- Look at pictures?
Ok, so if you buy a website and begin hosting it before you have any content, well that is really just a waste of your money and the time of someone who visits your site. So begin to develop content. (* I know that some businesses have email accounts with unquie domain names without having a website, if that is your situation. Don’t worry, it just means that you already have your domain name )
What content should you consider putting on your site? Well lets abandon the example of loading pictures on your website and assume that you are a small business, lets assume you make widgets for your clients. Well your company is not the first manufacturing company that wants a website. Go on the net and check out other business websites, what sort of content do they have on their sites? Do you feel that some information is missing? (omitting a physical address is a personal pet peeve of mine) What do you feel is working for them?
Time to make another list. List types of content on sites, and why you like or dislike that content. This will come in handy when it comes time begin to build your site.
Once you have completed this list you have a rough idea of the content you would like to have on your site. You might as well begin to develop that content. Reach out to clients to get their testimonals or their approval to be used as a case study or listed on your client page. Develope your mission statement, and pull together product images and discriptions of widgets. Now would also be the time to reach out to a designer or a webservices firm.
You will likely go through a selection and pitch process when choosing a design firm. But there is no harm in gathering content for you website concurrently to this process.
From this point on the design firm will likely guide you in the process of building your website and promoting it on the net. They will also likely manage the webhosting for you.
If you are planning on building out the site yourself. I would still highly recommend working with a graphic designer. A professional look to your site is very important. Also, please feel free to look around mysite for reference information, and best of luck to you.