How To Start And Run An Online Business
Article: 13. Building Your Online Business Website Part 3
The first thing you need to do before you start building your web site is to acquire an appropriate domain name. Your domain name may be the name as your business or the product or service you sell. Here are some tips on deciding on a great domain name.
Your domain name should not be generic but should be obvious. Opt for a name that uses the relevant keywords in your web site. So if you sell nonfiction books then nonfictionbooks.com may be an option you could consider.
If the name is taken and if you find that you have already invested a lot of time and resources in marketing your product by that name, you may consider buying it from the owner. Or else you could consider adding a hyphen, non-fiction-books.com. The verdict on whether hyphens should be used in your domain name is still out. While some believe that it makes it harder for the internet users to remember and communicate to friends, others prefer this option as search engines are clearly able to identify the keywords in your domain name.
.com, .org, .co.uk, .net? The most common option that people remember is .com. If that is taken then you could consider country specific domain such as .au and .de. This is especially a good idea if your service is limited to your country.
It is wise to first buy your domain name and register it before you begin the process of creating and developing your web site.
Web Hosting for your Online Business web site
For internet users to access your web site the relevant files must be stored on a web server. Web hosting is the process by which you can have your web site ready for the world to see. It is kind of like hiring the office space to start your business. A web hosting company may offer several options and packages and you would need to select one based on your business needs and requirements. Some of the features that you should be looking for in a good web host include web space available on the server, FTP access, available bandwidth, limitations on files that can be uploaded, technical support and back up and e-commerce facilities.
Free Web Hosts
- It is free of cost and thus reduces the expenses of starting your web site.
- Free web hosting usually offers limited server space and is alright only for small personal web sites.
- Free web hosts may insist that your web site carry their advertisements.
- Since you share server space with thousands of other sites your web site may take much longer to upload.
- You may not have FTP control and will have to depend on the hosts for support and back-up.
You may not be able to choose a domain name of your choice when you opt for free web hosting.
Regular web site Hosting
- You have independent server space and hence you have control over the FTP, operating system and hardware.
- Since you have broad bandwidth it is quick to upload your web site and you can receive large traffic.
- Depending on the kind of hosting you opt for you can choose to make updates and changes to your programs.
You can choose a package that suits the needs and requirements of your business.
- The cost of managed web hosting would depend on the web host and the package you select.
- Shared hosting doesn't give the freedom you may want over the servers hardware and controls.
- The support and back-up provided by the web host varies and you would need to select carefully.
- In some cases hardware as well as programs may be shared and leave your site vulnerable to bad coding and virus.
Template Builder Hosting
- Template builder hosting is ideal for people who want to build their site themselves.
- The web host offers a template builder that interfaces well with publishing tools.
- Most template builder hosting offer hundreds and sometimes thousands of website templates and skins to select from.
- You can create unlimited web pages and make as many changes as required.
- In case you want to change your web host you would need to consider a complete revamp for your web site.
- The web host may not provide back up for files so in case you want to revert back or lose some files you will not get any support from your web host.
Building Your Online Business Web Site
When it comes to building the web site you need to decide if you want to handle it in-house or outsource the job. Even if you don't have knowledge of web development, modern technology and software have made it possible for you to create a web site of your own. Here is a look at some of the ways to get started.
Content Management System
web site publishing traditionally required the knowledge of HTML and programming. A good CMS helps you skip through and directly write, edit and publish your web pages. There are several pros and cons of a CMS and here is a look at them.
- A CMS makes web publishing easy and simple. If you have several writers who need to access the CMS you can provide them publishing rights and they can do their writing and editing online.
- A CMS reduces the back and forth process of making changes and editing the content. This empowers both, the writers and the IT section.
- A good system offers consistent information architecture and this ensures that the content in the entire web site is well structured and constant.
- The content template of a CMS manages the meta data, and having the apt meta data on the web pages increases the visibility of the page on search engine results.
- A CMS helps you keep a track of how often content is being developed and you can track all the changes on your web site.
- A CMS may offer complicated processes that may need getting used to.
- The security features of a CMS may be lacking and can make hacking easy.
- Your SEO would be affected by your choice of CMS and hence it is vital that you research the SEO of a CMS before you make your choice.
Build it Yourself with a Blogging Platform
- A blogging platform can be free of cost or charge a basic fee.
- You can not only use the platform to post blogs but can even create new pages.
- You can use ready-to-use website templates to create as many pages as you want and your visitors won't even realize that your web site is a blog.
- This is a great option for individuals and for small businesses.
- It is a great way to interact with your customers and get feedback.
- The templates can be used by all members of the blogging platform and you may prefer something different.
- This is not a good option if you are looking at serious e-commerce.
Build it yourself using web site design software
- Using ready-to-use website templates makes the job simple and quick.
- You can choose from stand-alone and web hosted web site design software.
- The stand-alone option can be downloaded on to your computer and you can work on it even when you are not online. This is also a good option when you are working with other people on your team in the development on the online business web site.
- When you use the web hosted web site design software what you create is what the internet users will see. The web host may offer many features and tools for you to use. Also this software is complemented by the host supported scripts and hence features such as shopping carts function smoothly.
- Web hosted web site design software is easy to download and use.
- Building your site by yourself will take away precious time from your business. It may make better business sense to get someone else to do this job.
- If you use stand alone web site design software it may not be compatible with your computer software or that of your web host.
- Sometimes when you use stand-alone software the results may appear differently on the internet than it did on your computer.
- Once you use web hosted web site design software unless you are ready to revamp your web site you are stuck with your web host.
- Multiple changes may not be saved and back-up may not be available.
- Some web hosts only allow the use of the provided scripts and handwritten HTML code may not be allowed.
Hire a Web Professional to Build Your Business web site
Some people believe that tasks such as building a web site should be left to the professionals. If you agree with them then it is important that you outsource with due consideration.
- Your web site will be created according to the principles of design and will be developed by professionals. Thus, you will not have to worry about its development and only need to over see it.
- This saves a lot of precious time and resources and you can dedicate them towards your core business process.
- Your web site will benefit from the experience the designers and developers bring into your web site.
- Once the web site is up and running developers may provide regular updates and support.
- It is more expensive than developing it yourself.
- You would need to consider prior work done by the professionals and speak to relevant people to get a good idea of what to expect.
- It is crucial to select the right professionals to work with, so that they provide quality work now and also provide regular maintenance and updates.
13. Building Your Online Business Website Part 3.
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