Friday, June 8, 2007

So you want a website? (Part 2)

Once the domain name is purchased, you then tell the domain registrar to point the domain to the address of the server you purchased hosting from. The hosting company will have their own name servers. These are servers that direct the people trying to locate your website. Let us compare a name server to an apartment building directory. You are in the lobby, and know the name of the person you want to visit, but not the apartment number. Look in the directory, and you have it. So, the internet surfer has click on your link, they are taken to your hosting company’s web server, and then the name server tells them where your site is located on their servers. The internet visitor sees none of the behind the scenes work, they just get to your site.

Now, you have a name, and a hosting company. You then setup all the emails you need for each department, or person and configure your email software to access those accounts on (outlook, thunderbird, Eudora, etc.) they will retrieve the email from the server and deliver it to your home pc. You may also try simplifyThey are offering free webspace hosting for a limited time.

You then need to build a website and promote it. Companies offering these services are typically split into smaller specialty services – website designers create the graphics, webmasters build the site and place it on the servers. All in one sites such as onsiteguys can build the site with you, make it available on the internet and maintain it for you.

Each change modification to the website requires it to be placed on the host server. Website maintenance and updating is an ongoing, never ending task, and unless you learn to publish your website on your own, be prepared to pay for updates on a regular basis. Each time you need something changed, you have to call the webmaster, or graphics company to make those changes. Making them go live will cost you at minimum an hour of labor.

Shopping carts, e-commerce and credit card payments also require extensive integration with your website, and cost more money. These are considered add on services to your hosting package. Prices vary, and some may include some components free. If you intend on selling products, you may consider using paypal initially, as they are easier to setup. Accepting credit card payments requires a merchant account, and has monthly fees, as well as percentages off of the sales made.

Promoting and marketing your website is if not the most important fact in success. People have to know that it exists. Simply creating a website does nothing for promoting it. You may enlist the services of a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) professional, or purchase search engine submission software to assist.

In a nutshell, decide on a product or service, buy the name and hosting, build the site, promote it, and keep it current by updating it regularly.

If you are unsure about whether you need a site, think of what is already available for free:

- photo storage, photo albums, and photo sharing
- blogs
- product reviews
- online file sharing, storage
- music – storage, sharing, playlists
- web storage space (not for domain names, just empty space)
- paypal, google pay (for buying items over the internet)
- free shopping carts – they take a commission off your sales

You may find that what you need already exists – for free, or a lot less than you anticipated.