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Setting up your own website; hot tips for the small business on domain names, hosting and web design

As a small business or business start up, setting up a website may seem a daunting prospect when you have got so much else on your plate to deal with, but it needn’t be that complicated.

This practical no nonsense guide talks you through the basics of domain names, web hosting, web design and shows you how to get started.

“Help!  Where do I start?”

There are 3 simple steps to setting up your website;

  1. register a domain name, such as www.mybusiness.co.uk ;
  2. find a hosting provider to rent you the webspace to house your website;
  3. produce a design for your website.

1.  How do I register a domain name?

The first thing you’ll need to do is check that the name you want is available. You can do this online and there are lots of companies that also let you register your domain name online. Registration is typically only around £10 a year.   Many designers or hosting providers will sort this out for you.

2.  How can I get webspace?

Webspace is space on a computer owned by a hosting company. Your hosting provider will connect your webspace with your domain name so that anyone who types your domain name into their browser will arrive at your website. Prices vary so shop around.

3.  How do I sort out the design?

There are four key options.  Here they are with a list of pros and cons for you to consider;

Option 1:  DIY using a software package such as Microsoft Frontpage

Pros

  • Save on agency or freelancer costs

Cons

  • You may have to purchase software
  • Potentially time consuming
  • Do you have the skillset or, if not, the patience to learn?
  • You are on your own if you run into problems

Option 2:  DIY using an off the shelf site builder package

Pros

  • Relatively cheap option
  • Template driven so it is easy to pick it up

Cons

  • Design will not be original and may carry a reference to the package on each page of your site
  • Package may not be able to deliver all your requirements

Option 3:  Appoint a web design agency

Pros

  • Team of specialists  likely to deliver professional results
  • Good option for complicated requirements

Cons

  • Likely to be most expensive solution

Option 4:  Appoint a freelance web designer

Pros

  • Professionally designed site but likely to be cheaper than an agency and able to work within your budget.

Cons

  • For more complicated sites check freelancer’s skill set can cope with your needs.  Unlike an agency this is a ‘one man band’ 

What to include on your website

Each business will differ, but a typical simple business start up site might consist of;

  1. a home page to welcome your visitors
  2. a page containing background information about you & your business
  3. a contacts or enquiry page (with email form)
  4. a high level product/services pricing page
  5. a portfolio page with some examples of your work and customer testimonials

Top tips for search engine friendly web sites

Whether you decide to build your website yourself or appoint an agency or freelancer it is important to make sure your site is search engine friendly so that people can find you online.  The following will help;

  1. Think about how customers might search for your site and include these keywords in your page titles and in prominent positions on the home page.  A well written home page containing important keywords will help boost your ranking.
  2. Label your images with suitable ‘ALT’ tags (alternative text tags).  Many search engines also use these to help rank your relevance to searches.
  3. Include appropriate meta tag descriptions and keywords in your source code.
  4. Use the H1Psychology Articles, H2 tags for headings in your source code and ensure these include words from your ‘hitlist’ of desirable keywords.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll be up and running on the web in no time! Good luck!

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Julia Odgers has over 10 years professional experience of web design, production and online marketing ranging from hands on design, editing and management to developing and implementing marketing strategies. She is currently working as a freelance web designer based between Poole and Bournemouth in Dorset focusing on offering affordable websites to small businesses and individuals. Visit her online at http://www.juliaodgers.co.uk



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