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There are several very good reason why you should conider building your own web site versus having someone do it for you. It's more cost efficient, you can make it much larger in content, you are more involved in how you want the pages to look, and I have actually enjoyed learning the dos and don'ts of website profiling. I have run into some definite don'ts as I thrashed my way through building the few that I have needed , but I envy the professionals that get paid to make websites. Although I'm sure that I've made mistakes on my sites, I'm pretty happy with the results so far.
I wanted to give all those conidering building their own website a heads up on the parts I have mastered. I am hoping that my determination to build a quality site coupled with my cheapazz instincts will help alleviate some of your stress as you follow the same path of righteous web design. As a brief article, I can clearly not cover everything that you will need to know here, however, if you have question feel free to email me at the address provided.
These are things that you will need to conider for your website.
1. Outline the type of plan you will need for your design:
What size site you need. Will a five page program work or do you need the server space for hundreds or even thousands of pages?
Are you selling products or services on your site?
Do you need a merchant account or Paypal to accept credit cards?
Are taxes an issue?
2. Find a name for your site.
Choose one that is easily remembered for return visitors. If you can get a dot com as your domain you should conider this first. It is what the majority of people will automatically use to reach a website. I have actually watched people take my address directly off my business card and still type in a dot com rather than a dot net.
If you can't get a dot com, try one with a matching URL under a main domain such as dot net or dot org. There are obviously others available, but these seem to be the most popular right now.
If you can get all the domains you should, you can use dot com as your primary and have the others redirected from dot net and dot org to the dot com address. The redirect URL's are about $10 a year or less if you shop around.
3. Plan a General Layout:
Plan a basics of both the page and total site layout you want. The typical basic page may have a header at the top, two columns in the middle--one for content and the left for a menu, and than a footer at the bottom of the page.
If you will have many pages and they will have the same header, menu, footer, etc., and you plan to make changes on your site sometimes, you should conider an "includes" system. This system allows each area of a page to be a separate page in itself. If you make changes on one page with this system, it will show on every page. It's slightly complicated and if interested there are many free tutorials all over the net.
With many pages you will have to conider your method of navigation, such as main menu's and submenu's. You need to know if you will use button, java, CCS, flash, or just plain html links. If some of this sounds foreign and unfamiliar, don't worry, you'll learn the basics pretty quickly.
If you are not quite sure yet what you are looking for, check around. There are many free or very cheap templates that you can use that can really make a difference on how professional your site looks. A quick search you produce an almost endless supply of templates.
There are many sites who will offer great deals on many things as long as you provide a link on your site to theirs and site templates are no exception. This is a great way to get things cheap or for free.
4. Factors to conider to reach your audience:
Will your customers use dial up or broadband, newer equipment with the latest operating systems or windows 98? These are important things to conider when you decide what graphics to use and the overall file size.
The browser that your audience will be more likely to use. Do you have eye grabbing details for a broader spectrum of visitors, or will a specific and to the point website be better because your products/services are already targeted to a certain audience?
5. Find a server:
Find the deal that best meets your needs. There is a huge price difference in the hosting companies and plans, and this is something that should be researched to a certain extent as far as what you want for what you're paying.
Question to ask:
Is there a set up fee?
Will I have customer support with a actual contact phone number? Do I have the option to upgrade to more space, more email accounts or add a store front?
What is the average up-time for their servers?
You need software to build, edit, and upload your site from your computer to the server. I have only used Microsoft FrontPage ®. I like Frontpage® but then, I have nothing to compare it to. I use this because it came free with my computer, but if you look around there are sure to be free or relatively inexpensive programs that will work great for you.
Now you have a layout for your site and a place to put it, but what will you put on it? If you are concerned that you can't provide enough info for a whole site, don't worry. There is certainly not a shortage of free content available. In fact, it can be overwhelming and distracting searching for exactly what you need. Not all articles and info are as clearly stated as in my article--LOL. You can find everything from complex calculators to one-line random quotes.
Free maps to light bulbs to tooth picks---okay, I'm exaggerating, but it can be overwhelming. Many sites simply use their content to draw traffic to their site to promote their products or services, and there is definitely nothing wrong with that. Again, this is providing the content for links to their sites on your website. You can afford to be choosy though, the price is the same, so pick suitable material for your design that will compliment your website.
As one final note, I guess the most important thing I can say is, "Get started". I have mentioned some concideration and there are many many more, but don't let any one of these slow you down. Look at these as caution zones and open toll-free road - not road blocks. Good luck...
Brian lives in Michigan with his wife and love of his life of 21 years. They have 4 Children and 2 Grandchildren. Brian works a more than full time job, has too many gray hairs and spends all of his free time working on too many sites. But he's never been happier. Entrepreneur, Online business consultant, Author. Site owner and administrator of: http://www.cheapazz.net and several other sites listed at http://csc4u.com
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