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Planning Your Web Site

Do you fall into one of these 3 categories?

  • You have an offline business and want to expand your horizons to the Internet

-OR-

  • You are involved with an online business and are looking for marketing information

-OR-

  • You are looking for an online business

Before you create your first web site you need to put some planning into it in order for the site to be successful. You are investing your time and money into this and you want it to create revenue for you. 

Basics in Planning Your Web Site

  • What do you want your site to accomplish for you?

  • Who will design and maintain your site?

  • Will you need a Domain Name?

  • Who will host your site?

  • How do you want visitors to place orders?

  • Who is your Target Market?

What do you want your site to accomplish for you?

Do you want to generate sales or provide information? Do you want to create a community area? Do you want to focus on your local market, national, world wide? 

Who will design and maintain your site?

If you will be designing your web site yourself I would suggest knowing some html before starting. I used an html editor and didn't know the first thing about html. It was a bit of a struggle for me to learn in the process. There are some great tutorials online. Just do search for "html tutorials" with your favorite search engine.

A Few Cautions:

  1. Designing a web site yourself can be very time-consuming, especially if you have a very large web site or if you intend to update it frequently. If you don't have the time to commit, you might consider hiring someone to design and market your site for you.

  2. Many people will have Cousin Vinny or the high school kid down the road design a site for them. This is fine IF that person has some knowledge from a marketing standpoint. Most times, though, the intent is to show off the design capabilities and the site will be so full of the latest bells and whistles, yet have no way of contacting you or no way to order. I think this is one of the most common mistakes I see in business web sites.

  3. Be wary of phone solicitors or even online offers to build you a web site. Many of these are rip off scam artists, and you will be wasting your hard-earned dollars.

If you need a webmaster click here for a list of designers I have worked with and recommend highly. As you will see Clearwater Web Solutions does offer hosting and design services.  

Will you need a  Domain Name?

If you are serious about your online venture I can't stress enough the importance of getting your own domain name. I learned from personal experience why a domain name is so important. You can read my story in my article "Is Your Own Domain Name Really That Important" by clicking here or you can get it from my autoresponder by sending a blank email message to art9@i-m-r-c.com.

Additional articles may be found in the Article Library.

To register your domain through Clearwater Web Solutions click here.

Who will host your site?

When you have your own domain you will need to decide who will host your site. There are many hosting services available on the Internet, each offering different packages and pricing. Some hosting services offer only the space for your site with no technical support or backup. Others may offer lots of extras but charge a higher price for the services. Searching for the right web host can be overwhelming.

You can have your webmaster host your site. A good webmaster will guarantee that your site will always be "up" and/or will be moved in case of a catastrophic occurrence and can get your site back "up" in minimum time. In essence, the webmaster handles all the problems related to server actions/interactions and isolates the web site owner from the intricacies of the Internet.

You can find a few resources to hosting services by clicking here

Clearwater Web Solutions offers hosting services and we would be happy to speak with you about creating a package to fit your needs.

How do you want visitors to place orders?

Will you be selling products or services from your site? You will want to give your visitors a variety of ways to order from your site. The more ways offered to order, the more orders you will receive. Will you need an automated shopping cart and merchant account? If so, does your host provide a secure server?

Additional information about credit cards and the Internet may be found in the Article Library.

If you already have a merchant account, you can use that for online ordering if you have a secure page. Your host should be able to help you get it set up.

If you do not have a merchant account there are many places online that can help you. Here are a few you can check out

Who is your Target Market?

Who are the people you want to attract to your site? Are they business people, men, women, young adults, children, trade or professional people, anyone and everyone? Will you want to market locally, nationally, internationally?

The more targeted your site is to your audience the more visitors you will receive and your sales will increase. Consider what your main focus is and who you want your audience to be and create your site with them in mind. Put yourself on their side of the fence when planning your site. Always look at the information you provide as if you are the visitor.

  Creating Your Web Site

 


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