Creating your very first website can be a harrowing experience. For whatever reason websites are always much more complicated than we expect them to be. Even for professionals. It’s like there are digitrolls that get in your computer and screw with all the wires. For the first time web buyer your first web site can prove to be a time consuming pain-in-the-butt. Now, whether you read this article or not you will get through the bumps and hassle of putting your site together even if you don't read this article. But by writing this, I hope to save you a bit of time:
We are going all the way to basics: For the Average site, there are three main components. (After you have bravely waded through that stuff, I’ll give you a little information on Search Engine Optimization):
1) The Domain Name
2) The Hosting
3) The Actual Design
None of these components are necessarily married to the other. You need all three of these things to put a basic site up.
1) The Domain Name is the address that you type into your url browser. It's usually set up as www.mysite.com. Domain names range in price from $3.99 on sale to $21.00. Your domain can be purchased in yearly increments–meaning each year you will pay $3 – $21 to own that name. You want to get this first, domain names that are common ( such as www.mypuppy.com) are not likely to be available for long, if at all. So if the name you want is available, snatch it up. If it's NOT available, you have a choice to add another extension to your site, such as .biz or .net. Your other option is to adjust your web name. I much prefer the familiarity of “.com” on the end of my site. It makes my customers trust that my brand is solid. When www.thejamgroup.com was not available, my solution was to drop a couple of vowels so that my design firm ‘The J+AM Group' is reachable at “www.thejamgrp.com”
**I advise against putting an underscore in your name. Such as www.Magic_Show.com. It's really annoying for the end user to type in, and less likely to be remembered, if they are trying to look you up and your business card isn’t handy.
Bonus: If you are so inclined you can purchase multiple domain names and have them all point to your site. You may have noticed some of the bigger brands doing this. For instance when you type in www.yaho.com you are still pointed to www.yahoo.com. Added to this, you can even pick different url’s strategically. Www.doggiebites.com and www.puppypal.com can be the same site.
2) The Hosting is where your site is housed. If your domain name is your site’s address, then the hosting would be the building itself. Hosting packages usually come in separate plans to give the clients features and options, such as extra room for heavy files, emails, or client tracking. All of these are decisions that you have to make to suit your needs. I would always recommend getting yourself an email for your site: [email protected] is miles more professional than [email protected]. Websites like GoDaddy.com offer email accounts with even their most basic package. Hosting is typically paid monthly, although many hosting sites offer to charge you for a year or more at a reduced rate. You can expect to spend anywhere between $6.00 to $20.00 per month for your average site. (Average meaning there is no added technology like online shopping or gaming technology).
3) Lastly there is the actual site design. This is where the bulk of your upfront money goes. If we are holding onto our ‘house’ metaphor your site design is your furniture. This is the thing that makes people want to visit your site, kick their feet up and stay awhile. Studies show that the longer people stay on a site, the more money they eventually spend.
There are so many options to help people create their own site. There are great pre-built templates that you can purchase and rework and sites like Wix.com or Squarespace.com that you can pay a monthly fee to use one of their attractive templates as well as have hosting. I highly recommend doing what your budget allows. After all, you’re not getting married to the website. While I always advocate taking your time and building a good brand. The most important thing –by far– is that you get your business going. You can always upgrade your site or make changes as your funds become more available.
However if your budget does permit, The advantages to hiring a good design professional is that He or she will help you create a site that is not only attractive, but also navigable and addresses your concerns( information, sales conversions or user participation).
So Lets Talk SEO!
SEO or ‘Search Engine Optimization’ is the process of making your site more visible on the world wide web. The simplest and most common form of Search Engine Optimization is to create meta tags. Meta tags are are HTML codes that are inserted into the header at the top of a web page. These meta tags are used to provide a description of what the website is about and keywords (words that potential site visitors enter into search engines). If your SEO is working well, when people google “Plumber” “Dog-Breeder” or “Relationship-Advisor”. You will end up on the first page of a Google search. That makes you more visible and therefore snatches more clients for your business.
That is part one of ‘Purchasing Your First Website For Dummies’. I hope you enjoyed it. Next Article I’ll delve into the wonderful world of Ecommerce…Ooooo Sexy!
As Always Good Luck with your business, And don’t hesitate to email me with questions about How to Build Your Site or How to Brand. I love to chat with you!
Owner / Creative Director
The J+AM Grp
email me!: [email protected]
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