Getting Started Guide
Getting Started on the Web
This guide is written to provide information about how to get started with a web site. It is a comprehensive guide that will cover all aspects of starting a website. The guide was written after conducting a search for information about how to start a website and was unable to find a comprehensive guide anywhere. It seemed like the information that was on the Internet covered parts of starting a successful web page. Either the guides were written in a technical language that was hard to understand or so simplistic it was almost insulting to read. With that said the intention of this guide is to be the everyman (or everywoman) guide to creating a successful presence on the web.
Defining a Successful Web Presence
Before you jump feet first into setting up a website it is important to determine exactly your goals for the website. Do you want the site to primarily act as an advertisement for you business? Are you hoping people will contact you through the site? Setting up clear goals for your site is critical to help answer questions that will develop along the way. Once you have established your expectation you can also clearly budget your expenditures. There are many aspects to setting up a successful web page beyond simply creating the files and placing them on the Internet. Your web page should work for you and if set up properly it will work for you, tirelessly, twenty-four hours a day.
Questions to ask yourself
- What is my primary goal for my web page?
- To Increase my customers
- To Generate sales leads
- To Advertise my business
- To generate some extra revenue?
- How exactly will this page make money?
- How much can I reasonably expect from this investment?
Select your web address
Once you have determined your needs you can select a domain name. You should try to get a domain name that is easy to remember so you can share it will your existing customers easily. Remember that is if it hard for you to share and remember it will also be hard for your potential customers. (Even if you aren’t selling any products think of all your potential visitors as customers)
Check to see if your domain name is available
The easiest way to see if your ideal name is available is to type it into a browser. If it isn’t available try a few different things until a page doesn’t load. Beware checking sites that offer this service as someone may reserve the domain based off your interest. Make sure you pick a name you like, it can be changed later, but doing so can effect things like how your site ranks in Google and can traffic to your site
Determine how to design the site
There are usually three options available for a site design: Design the website yourself, have someone design your web site for you, or use a program to help design the site (Yes it sounds a lot like designing it yourself, but using a program will often have its own limitations)
If you don’t know how to design at all you will have to select a designer or a design program.
Choosing a designer can be a difficult process if your not familiar with web design. Be sure to select someone reliable and clearly define your expectations. If you think you will need to update the pages at a later date it is in your best interest to learn how to do this process, otherwise you will be at the mercy of your designer to make changes. Stating everything you expect at the beginning before contracting a designer will save yourself a lot of stress later. Keep in mind that most designers are still going to require you provide the site written content and promotional language!
Selecting your Web Host
So at this point you should have set your goals for the web site, selected an web address (or domain name), and determined how you will get your site designed. Now the next step is to select where your files will be stored by selecting a web website hosting company. Here at web pages 101 we have compiled a list of web hosts that meet certain criteria. These website hosting companies offer reliable service and are proven industry leaders. We have hosted web sites with all these companies and have been satisfied with our service. These companies are generally well reviewed and provide acceptable levels of technical support. The only factor we have left for you to consider is website hosting price and we have taken the guesswork out of getting the best deal for website hosting by continually updating our site to list the best promotional offer of the day
Publishing your website
Once you have selected the host and registered your domain name (usually during the signup process) now what do you do? Now you will have to publish the site to your online storage space. If you contracted a designer they will be able to do this with the login information you received during your signup process.
*Important Note* Most website hosting packages offer site editing software that is very user friendly. Will our guide directed you to design a site before selecting a web host, you may want to select a host and try out their editing software. If you can achieve your web site goals by using this software you can often skip hiring a professional designer. Just keep in mind that all new software has different learning curves and limitations.
Getting traffic to your website
Ok, now after what may have been a rough start (expect a few bumps, but once the site is running everything is generally smooth) you set for smooth sailing, right? Unfortunately not, many people make the mistake a quiting once your site is running. But remember the goals you set for the site? Now you need to make sure your site is achieving these goals. Now regardless of your goal the first thing you will need is traffic. How do you get traffic to your website? There are many different options for you to explore, however the most successful are to optimize your site for search engines or to purchase traffic directly from search engines.
Search engine optimization
So what is search engine optimization? Really this is making sure your site gets understood by Google the way you want your site to be understood. Some optimization rules are quite simple like making sure your intended keywords appear in your site. If you want your page to appear in the search results for a term “my ideal phrase” there should be places on your site that state, “my ideal phrase.” Other aspects of SEO get much more technical. Depending on your sites goals (remember you decided these before even getting this far?) will help you to determine your best strategy to increase traffic. Should you hire an consulting company to help you understand how to optimize the site, should you try to learn the rules yourself, or are there other methods to increase traffic.
Traditional advertising to increase traffic
Web marketing tactics such as SEO or SEM may not be to your liking. Before proceeding keep in mind your goals, (If one was to establish an online presence you should never skip web marketing) however, remember your traditional media outlets. If your business has a yellow page listing make sure the address is listed there. If you have business card be sure your domain name is included. If you have a store with walk in customers, consider investing in pens or other takeaway items with your domain name printed on them. This simple tactics can help increase your web site exposure. That being said, having a detailed web marketing campaign or advisor to guide you through this new world can help considerable
We hope to expand this guide to be a comprehensive document to get anyone started with a presence on the Internet. If you have any suggestions or concerns please email our administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org