As you look over the content of this site, it can be overwhelming. Most people imagine that it is a simple process to get a website and really, it is easier than it looks when it is broken down into individual steps and considerations. You can make the process much easier by determining and performing these things in advance. It requires some careful thought, but when you are manifesting your own online personality, it is important to be specific:
- Be clear on the purpose of your site. Do you want to sell something? If so, what? Do you want to “blog” or “journal” and have a space that reflects who you are and what you want to say? Do you want to have a family site where you share photographs and family experiences for your friends and extended family? There are more website themes and purposes than you can possibly imagine. What do you want YOUR site to do?
- Explore other websites that have a purpose similar to yours. What features do you like or dislike about them? Keep a list of websites that make you feel good and impress you. This will give you a good start for what will make you feel good about YOUR website. Above all, you should feel that your website adequately expresses who you are and what you want to show to the world, regardless of the purpose of the website. You should feel good when you come to it, so choose colors, designs and layouts that please you.
- Have your site logo designed if you are going to use one. Not all sites have a specific logo and certainly, none is required. If you want one, get one and have it ready to include in the website plan you submit to your website designer. Also gather and create any charts, photos, graphics, etc you intend to use. Remember that copyright laws are very real and the use of photos or other materials without the permission of the people who created them can result in uncomfortable confrontations or legal actions.
- Decide the information that will be included on your site and how you want it arranged. As you look through other sites that are similar to yours, pay attention to things like the menu arrangement and placement. Think of each web page as the page of a catalog that is promoting you. What pages and sections do you want to include? It is important that you be clear on what information you want to post on your website so your web designer can promptly post it for you. If you are unclear about the specifics of the information and intend to manage your website yourself after it is completed, you can have your website designer create the pages you will use with “Under Construction” posted as content to be replaced with text later by you.
- Decide on a name of several names for your site and begin looking for domain availability. Sometimes, if you have named your business “Karen’s Crossword Puzzles” and “karenscrosswordpuzzles.com” is taken, perhaps “karenscrosswordpuzzles.net” is available or “karenscrosswords.com.” The trick is to keep playing with the name of the site and the domain name until you find one that is available. Go to a domain registrar like GoDaddy.com and check the availability of the domain names you are considering. Remember that once a domain name is purchased, it cannot be changed unless you purchase a different domain name. (Domain name purchase is not refundable) It is essential that you be certain of the domain name and spelling before actually purchasing the domain.
- Decide on where your site will be hosted. Click here for a full explanation of the web hosting process.
- Decide who will maintain your website when it needs to be updated or changed in some way. Will you be your own webmaster or do you wish to employ someone else to maintain your site? (See our menu under Website Services for our webmaster fees)
- Determine your budget for web creation: The cost of designing a website is completely related to the complexity of the website and the amount of content the website designer will need to post. Some sites are simple and can be completed in a couple of hours. Some take days to finalize. Be realistic about your budget and know how much you are able to spend. Once you have established your budget, discuss this with your web designer and determine whether your website vision can be achieved at or below the budget you have determined. It is also possible for a website to be developed in stages so the cost does not accumulate all at once.
- Now you are ready to compile all of the work you did in numbers 1-8 into a web design package and contact your web designer!