The 7 Steps to Creating a Successful Web
many steps along the way between the decision to become a web-enabled
company and actually being there. Below, you'll find our checklist containing
the seven steps you'll need to take to become a web-oriented company.
You can use this checklist as a step-by-step guide to actually setting
up your site yourself, or you can use it to select the parts you want
us to do. Either way, it gives you a really good idea of what needs to
be accomplished in creating your web presence.
If you are unfamiliar with how
the whole "world wide web" thing works, you should start with
our "Internet Primer"
to get comfortable with the terminology.
1. Decide on the domain name your company
The domain name is the name people type
into their browsers to see your web site. Our domain name, for example,
is sutherdyne.com. Use a Domain Name Registrar to see if your domain name
is available. A Registrar is the company that you will use to register
your domain name...that is, they make it yours so nobody else can use
it. The Registrar will want some money to register your domain (of course).
We use GoDaddy, only
because they offer a good service at a reasonable price. There are many
other Registrars, so look around.
2. Decide what capabilities
you need in your web site.
Do you need a shopping cart? Do you need
a secure server to process credit card transactions, or possibly an on-line
credit card processor? Do you need membership pages or search capabilities
or catalogs or Flash graphics or database support? The list is long. If
you don't know what those things mean, or if you don't know whether you
need them, worry not. That's why we're here! We can help guide you to
making the right choices. Or, if you'd rather not make the choices at
all, we'll do it all for you.
3. Develop your web site
These are the pages that people will see
when they visit your web site. It is best to draw a map, or "wiring
diagram", of your pages and how they will link together before you
actually start building pages. Then, use an HTML Editor to develop your
pages...an HTML editor is a program that lets you see the page the way
your customer will see it, while writing the HTML code in the background.
If you are using a shopping cart, be sure to integrate the shopping cart
into your web pages, as well as the payment processes you'll use. If you're
not artistically inclined, consider outsoucing this, because you really
need to have your web pages looking as professional as possible.
4. Purchase hosting support.
Complete steps 1 - 3 before proceeding to
this step. The web host is the company that will actually have your web
site on their computer. They have a bunch of computers called "servers",
all of which are hooked up to the Internet on really fast connections.
You need a good host, one with good equipment, good technical support,
and a broad range of capabilities. Review your list of web site requirements
and find a host that will give you the services you require at a price
you can be happy with. There are literally thousands of web site hosts,
so you'll need to do some research to find one that offers the services
you need to make your web site work. Then, sign up! Once signed up with
a host, they will provide you with your passwords to log in to your new
site. They will also provide you with the names of two "DNS Servers",
which you need to give to your Registrar (step 1) so they can direct your
Internet traffic to your web site.
5. Move the web pages to
your new web site.
Use an FTP application to do this...FTP
stands for "File Transfer Protocol", which only means that it
is a program that understands how to talk to a web server. Using an FTP
program, you can move all of your web site page files from your computer
over to the web server at your hosting company. Make sure that the main
page of your web site is called "Index.htm", so that the web
server will know that it is the main page. That way, when people go to
your web site using only the domain name, the web server will serve up
the Index.htm page by default. Like, when you go to "www.sutherdyne.com",
you get the main page, the same as if you had typed "www.sutherdyne.com/index.htm".
6. Market your web site.
Your web site is absolutely worthless unless
people know it's there. As soon as your site is up and running, you need
to explore the various ways to make it known. Your web site address on
business cards and letterhead is certainly a necessity. Consider joining
one or more professional associations in your industry. People will often
use an association directory when looking for a business. But probably
the most important marketing tool is the Web search engine. There are
only three that really matter (the rest are associated with one of these
three)...Google, AltaVista and AllTheWeb. Definitely submit your site
to them (still free as of this date). Likewise, the only Web Directory
that matters is Yahoo, but it will cost you about $300 to submit your
site to them. If you can afford it, having a listing in the Yahoo directory
is almost certainly worth your while. Before submitting to any search
engine or directory, do some serious research on the "Meta tags"
for "keywords" and "description", as well as the placement
of all-important keywords in the body of your pages!
7. Manage your web site.
Now that you are on-line, (congratulations!)
you will find that there are tons of people running weird computers and
archaeic browsers, and all of them will be writing to you and saying "I
can't buy this item", or "I can't see my shopping cart",
or whatever. The point is, once your web site is on-line, the fun doesn't
stop. Now you are a webmaster and you must deal with the daily problems
of managing and maintaining not only the items you sell at your web site,
but also the technical parts of the web site itself.