Having a website is now considered as necessary as a phone or fax number even an email address for corresponding with customers. Since the site will be a reflection of your organization, its product or service, the most important step is to research and plan. For most businesses, a Web site can serve as a resource for information and to promote the organization, its brand, and the value of the product or services being offered. But many times, businesses as well as individuals create a site for the sake of having one, without taking time to understand what customers and the business expect from a site. When you set down to create your site, consider the following first:
- Decide on a budget.
- Decide on a name (Domain Name or URL). Check http://www.whois.com to see if the name is already taken.
- Register the name (Domain Name or URL). Login to a registrar like http://www.godaddy.com and follow their instructions for registration.
- Decide how the site will be designed and maintained (who will handle this).
- What will be the content of the site?
- Decide on a hosting company for the site. There are hundreds, if not thousands of hosting companies will host your website for as little as USD 3.95 per month. A simple Google search will turn up many candidates for you in your locale. To get an appreciation of the kinds of hosting services that are available from US-based companies, go to http://hostingreview.com.
- Decide whether you will hire someone to build the site for you or if you want to use one of the many template-driven software packages to build it yourself.
Finding out what kinds of information your customers want, and then designing and developing your site to provide up-to-date, ongoing resource materials can help you better position your products or services and serve as a credible “go-to spot”. A web site can go from a simple one-page site with your name and mission statement to a site with multiple pages that include on-line sales, newsletters and discussion forums.