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Developing Your Website:
10 Tips for Getting Started
YOUR OWN INTERNET HOME BUSINESS FOR FREE
Developing Your Website: 10
Tips for Getting Started
by: Juliet Austin & Nathaniel Richman
1. Be clear on your purpose.
Building a website can be a long and arduous procedure if you are not
sure what you are doing. However, if you have a clear focus as to what
you expect your website to do for your business/organization, things
will flow much more smoothly. The purpose can be anything from selling
widgets online to keeping members of your soccer team updated.
Regardless, figure that out before setting sail on your journey.
2. Establish your target audience.
Your target audience will affect what sort of content your site includes
as well as how it will look and function. Obviously, writing for kids
will be much different than writing for adults. For business websites, a
narrow and specific target market, will not only make it easier for you
to market your product or service, it will also make it easier for
customers and clients to find you.
Also, consider how many graphics and "bells and whistles"
you'll want. If your audience is not very computer literate and
generally includes people with slow Internet connections, it doesn't
make sense to include large, slow-loading graphics, animations, and
video clips. You want your site to be user friendly and don't want your
visitors to leave because they've become frustrated with the navigation
or because your website loads too slowly. Conversely, if your audience
is the younger generation, including flashy graphics and other
"fun" elements might be more appropriate and even necessary to
grab their attention.
3. Determine your budget.
One can spend anywhere from $99 to $10,000+ dollars on having a website
developed. Your purpose should help you decide on your budget. Remember,
a website should ideally be a work in progress. Don't worry if you can't
do everything you want with it initially — you can always add to it
later, and it will work better for you and your customers if you keep it
up-to-date and fresh.
4. Assess the value of your time.
Many people have undertaken to create their own websites, especially
with the advent of desktop publishing programs. Still, they expend a
huge amount of time and energy and end up unsatisfied with the results.
While it may be true that "anyone" can design a website, the
same could be said about any type of work. If it takes you hours and
plenty of frustration to cut your own hair, wouldn't you be better off
going to a barber or hairdresser?
If you have a flair for design, feel confident in your writing and
marketing skills, and have the time, knowledge, and passion to build
your own website, go for it! If your time would be more productive doing
your own work and contracting out the web creation, that might be worth
5. If hiring a professional website designer, make sure you are
comfortable working with him/her.
Do you feel he or she understands your vision? Does he or she provide
useful ideas and solutions you hadn't thought about? Have you looked
through his or her past work? Do you feel like you're getting
professional service? Is the price right for your budget? What is
included in the fee you will be paying?
6. Think about how you'd like the website to look and function.
Often you will have a logo and/or other graphics you'd like to build a
design around. You probably have some colour and style preferences.
Perhaps a certain font has caught your eye. If you're stumped and
lacking ideas, go surfing! Look through a wide variety of websites —
both your competitors' and other successful businesses/ organizations.
Write down (or bookmark) the sites you like and what appealed (or didn't
appeal) to you. Do the same with magazine ads. You'll get a lot of
7. Organize and formulate a layout for the information you'd like to
Assign page names to each distinct "chunk" of information and,
if the total number of pages is sufficiently high (over 12, as a rule of
thumb), group them into sections. This will make navigating through your
site that much easier. Your designer should be able to make some
recommendations in this area.
8. Make sure you understand the importance of effective website copy
Your website copy will be determined by your purpose and your audience.
On the Internet, people have very short attention spans. If they don't
get the information within a few seconds they'll usually move on to the
next website — possibly your competition's. Furthermore, the more you
know about writing web copy, the more customers you will draw in. You
can learn some basic copywriting skills yourself, or you can hire a
professional copywriter to write it for you. Always make sure you know
what you want to say and say it concisely. If you have the need for a
lot of text that can always follow further down the page or on another
9. Choose a domain name and find a hosting company.
Your website will need to reside somewhere so that others will be able
to access it. And, you'll probably want to register a domain name, such
as www.mybusiness.com. Doing so rather than using the long, awkward name
(and free web space) provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP),
sounds much more professional and is much easier for customers to
remember. Choosing a good domain name can also help you get found in
search engines, such as Google. You'll also get related email addresses,
such as email@example.com, which, again, sound professional and
reinforce your domain name. There are plenty of hosting companies out
there at a variety of prices. Find one that suits your needs. Your web
designer or marketing consultant should be able to help you with all of
10. If you have a business website, develop a strategy on how you
will market it.
Having a website without visitors will get you nowhere. An analogy is
writing a fantastic book, hiding it in the library, and not telling
anyone about it. You will need to drive traffic to your site. There are
numerous ways to do this. You can either learn to do this yourself, or
hire a marketing professional to help you. Although hiring someone will
increase your initial costs, it can pay off in the long run when you
have more potential customers visiting your site, and ultimately
increasing your sales.
© Juliet Austin & Nathaniel Richman, 2005.
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About The Author
Juliet Austin assists
counselors, other professionals and organizations in writing
compelling website copy and marketing their services online.
Nathaniel Richman assists ethical and socially responsible
businesses and organizations in developing unique and
They can be reached at: http://www.julietaustin.com and http://www.nrichmedia.com
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