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:: How To Build A Website ::


   This page will discuss in detail what you need to do in order to create and sustain a professional website on the internet. You'll find that the internet is a huge and effective platform for your company and that it would be in your best interest to build a website that is clean, effective and easy to navigate for your visitors. Follow the steps below to build a useful and successful website.


1. DRAW UP A PLAN

2. DEVELOP WEBSITE CONTENT

3. GRAPHIC DESIGN

4. PROGRAMMING

5. WEBSITE HOSTING

6. MARKETING AND PROMOTION

7. MONITOR WEBSITE TRAFFIC



1. DRAW UP A PLAN

For any person who is thinking about making their own website, you need to plan out specific details before you can start. You don't want to just jump in and get started. You need to have some kind of idea where you need to begin and what you wish to accomplish before you start making your website. Here are some points to consider:

  • Will your website be a personal, commercial or informational site?

  • What kind of audience do you wish to attract?
    • Adults or Children?
    • Do they have high speed or low speed internet?
    • Do they want entertainment or information?

  • Your site MUST be organized!
    • Visitors must find your site easy to navigate.
    • Map out your site in a schematic format.

  • Surf the web and take notes on sites you like.
    • How did they set their pages up?
    • Did they design it themselves, or use a company?

  • Your website will be a work in progress. If you set up your website in a logical way, it will be easy to add content or make changes later on.

  • For further information on website planning, please visit:

    Web Developer's Virtual Library


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2. DEVELOP WEBSITE CONTENT

One of the keys to developing a good website is to provide your visitors with the information they came looking for. Thus, it is very important for you to provide up-to-date and useful content. To develop content, here are some things you need to consider and do:
  • First, ask yourself these important questions:
    • What is your site about?
    • What will visitors be looking for?
    • What do other websites similar to yours offer?

  • Sit down and write out possible questions visitors may ask of you.
    • Now answer all of those questions!

  • Make your content relevant to your site topic! If you website is going to be about birds, don't offer content about fly fishing.

  • As time passes and you begin to receive questions from visitors, instead of answering the questions over and over again, answer those questions in the form of content on your site.

  • The more potential questions you do answer on your website, the less likely you'll be asked the same question over and over again.


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3. GRAPHIC DESIGN

  • The "look" of your website is very important. It tells the visitor if your website is professional or not.

  • Don't get fancy with graphics. Keep your site clean, practical and easy to use.

  • Stay consistent in your design. Each page should have a similar look and feel. That way visitors are less likely to get confused.

  • Keep your graphics to a minimum. Not every one of your visitors will have a high speed internet connection and you want your website to load fast on anyone's computer!

  • Are you not too good with graphics designing? The internet has several sites that offer free website templates for you to use. Here are some such sites:

    Free Web Templates
    Steve's Templates
    Free Site Templates

  • Or, you can hire a professional designer to design your site for you. Although this tends to be expensive, you should get a good product in return.


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4. PROGRAMMING

  • Now that you've planned out your site and created content and graphics for it, you need to convert it into web form.

  • This is called HTML (HyperText Markup Language). If you know how to program in HTML, great! If you do not, here are some sites that offer free HTML courses:

    HTML Clinic
    Dave's HTML course
    3 Schools

  • As you program your website content into HTML, you may want to add some applications.

  • By applications I'm referring to: A clock, guestbook, discussion boards, chat and many others. For these applications you will need to use cgi scripts.

  • There are hundreds of free cgi scripts online. All you have to do is cut and paste the cgi script right into your HTML code.

  • Here are some sites that offer free cgi scripts:

    Matt's Script Archive
    The CGI Resource Index


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5. WEBSITE HOSTING

  • Your website is more or less complete. Now what? Well, you need to find a website "host", or a place for your website to reside on the internet.

  • There are many places on the internet that will host your site for free. However, many of these free hosts will require for you to put up some kind of banner or ad right on your website!

  • If you want your website to appear professional, this would not be acceptable. It may be ok if you only wanted to make a personal or hobby website. Here's a site directory of free hosts:

    Free Web Host Directory

  • For those wanting or needing a more professional package you will need to pay for hosting.

  • Hosting packages come in all different sizes and pricing categories depending on your needs.

  • How large your site is and how many visitors you expect will determine what type of hosting package you will need.

  • Search this site to browse through the top 25 recommended hosting companies:

    Host Index

  • Many hosting companies will offer to register a domain name for you if you go with their hosting package.

  • If you haven't registered a domain name yet, this is a domain registration site that I recommend:

    Great Domainia


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6. MARKETING AND PROMOTION



7. MONITOR WEBSITE TRAFFIC

  • It's important to collect information on how the visitors found your website and where they go once there.

  • A good hit tracker will allow you to determine:

    • What country did my visitor come from?
    • What search engine did they use to find my site?
    • What phrases/words did they search with?
    • Which sites/URL's are sending me traffic?
    • How did my visitors navigate my site?
    • Which of my pages are the most/least popular?

  • Using the information you collect above, you will be able to develop strategies that will improve your site and make it more useful to visitors.

  • Here are a couple of sites that offer free visitor tracking services:

    HitBox
    Extreme Tracking


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    **Let Ken Evoy show you step by step how to build an extremely successful site with Site Build It!**

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