Google boasts more than eight billion web pages. How will yours show up? When will the sales or hits start rolling in?
Recently I’ve come across a few people who are interested in joining the Internet and want some assistance in building their first web site. If you want to be online, start looking for information there, especially at a site such as http://www.webproworld.com as well as in your local bookstore and library. Read as much as you can and don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed. The best web sites are built one page at a time.
Creating It Whether you’re adding one page to the World Wide Web or thousands, you should first decide not only what you want to show to people but also which program will you use? Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia’s Dreamweaver MX are two of the most popular software programs, but there are many others and some of them are even free when you sign up with a web host. Make sure you’re comfortable using the software and that enough information is provided such as reference books and/or articles.
To determine how you will capture your audience, what will you put on your home page? A welcome sign? Lots of text? Lots of pictures? Will it be a catalogue, scrapbook, library, photo album, mall, menu or museum? The best way to begin is the most old-fashioned: use index cards and a pen. This will be your site map and this way you can physically create your site. Begin with the home page and add other cards for your additional pages. Hopefully you’ve decided on your site’s name. If not, now is the time.
Navigation How you get around your site is determined here, and on your home page, [also referred to as the index page], as this is where you decide how you will link each page. A row of well labeled navigation buttons or text links along the top or side? On the bottom? Will you need any?
For example, someone needs to create a site where they will be selling several used cars. The home page will have links to each car. Don’t try cramming all that information on your main page, as you’ll lose viewers. It’s just too much information, too much scrolling down and far too many pictures and megabytes. Each car should have its own page. Suppose that bright red Ford Mustang is on your home/index page for its visual appeal, but create a link to a Mustang page where you have all the relevant information such as the price, mileage, other statistics and more photos of the car. Same goes for a Honda Prelude, and/or all the other cars/products you are selling. Each item should have its own page as that creates additional pages and more chances of your site being found by the search engines which translates into more people visiting your site.
Enticing Your Online Audience What will drive people to your site and keep them there? Whatever you have to offer, whether free or involving a fee, you must make your site as legitimate looking as possible.
Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau? Do you have a membership to a society, organization or other group that lends credibility to you and your new site? Have you won awards in your field of expertise? Do you sell a product that is available by purchase with a major credit card or PayPal? Always display the necessary information a potential customer needs on your main page.
Contact Information Who are you and where are you located? Proving you’re not a fly-by-net operation is easier if you have provided a name, street address, phone number, toll-free is a huge bonus, and fax number. Also, make absolutely certain that your e-mail address is easy to locate.
Testimonials Sell Products Use real testimonials, with real names of people living in actual cities and towns across the world. People who have tried your product/service and have been impressed enough to jot down a line or two…these missives should be displayed on your main page in order to create an element of trust. You can also have a testimonials page. Always ask the person if it’s okay to use their testimonial.
Speed Sells Your site must be able to load quickly – check out the home page for Google and see how fast that loads. Please keep in mind that not everyone with an Internet connection is able to get online via cable modem or DSL. Some people still have dial-up, and are also charged by the minute so for them a quickly loading web page is important.
Hosting It Since you already have a reliable ISP such as AOL, MSN, Earthlink, Adelphia, Yahoo, etc., your next step is to find a place where you can put your web site out there. The above-mentioned ISP’s provide web hosting for various prices, but you are advised to always compare hosts. Make sure you read the reviews and check out: http://www.webhostingratings.com Here are the six things you should look for when considering a hosting company.
1.Monthly cost – If you’re shopping around for a free web site, be aware of the number of limitations and restrictions you’ll encounter. Oftentimes free means fee, but that’s hidden in the fine print [if at all] on the hosting company’s site. As in everything, you get what you pay for. 2.Setup Fee – Sometimes a hosting company will charge a small one-time fee, other times they will have a rather large fee. The more services you require such as: lots of e-mail addresses, shopping cart, streaming audio/video, extra disk space, etc., the higher the amount. 3.Disk Space – How many MB [millions of bytes] will you need? You can get as few as 5 MB and as many as 1000 for less than $20 per month. 4.Transfer Rate – GB [billions of bytes] of pictures, text, etc. you will be allowed to upload onto your site per month. It also applies to what a visitor on your site will be viewing and if you have an exceptionally high rate of traffic you will have to pay for it. 5.Technical support availability – Whether by e-mail, online chat or toll-free number, this is a service that many consider vital, especially if they have no experience with web sites. 6.Good uptime – If your host is on downtime that means your site will be unavailable to anyone. Look for a host with no less than 99% uptime
In Creating Your First Web Site, Part 2, you will learn about getting your site online and into the search engines and directories, along with ways to promote it and exchange links.
http://www.lisamaliga.com ~ Lisa’s Library of Writing offers advice on publishing, adult figure skating, aromatherapy, web design, and Internet promotion. This is the home of fiction and nonfiction writer Lisa Maliga.