Get Your Business Online
John Noveske   07/15/2012

1. Determine what kind of website you need.
If your business is not properly represented on the internet yet, we would like to help your company achieve the kind of presence that will meet your goals. In the first phase of our consultation, we will try to establish what those goals are and what kind of website you need.

Whether it is increased visibility at a local level or nation level, we have ideas that can help. By adding a shopping cart system to your site, you can open new markets and increase sales.

2. Select a Domain Name
Domain names have extensions or TLDs (top-level domains) that originally were designed to distinguish different types of sites. This is the right-most portion of the domain name and is preceded with a period. Domains with COM were for commercial sites, NET were for networks and ORG were for non-profit organizations. In addition, GOV was for government agencies, MIL for military and EDU was for educational sites. Although much of that is still preserved, many more extensions have been added including BIZ, INFO, NAME, US and the list goes on. There are now 21 generic TLDs and 250 two letter country code TLDs. For a business domain, I strongly suggest staying with the COM.

The second-level domain is to the left of the TLD and is seperated by a period. This is the name you want to select to represent your business, trade or profession, MyBusinessName.COM or Widget.COM.

Time should be taken to get the right domain name for your business. In many cases, registering more than one domain name for your business is a good idea. Domain names should be as short as possible, be easy to spell and easy to remember. They should not contain mis-spellings, intentional or otherwise.

I try to avoid words with any ambiguous combinations such as 'ie - ei' combinations or any words that are commonly misspelled. Most short names or generic single word domain names were registered many years ago and are either in use or offered for sale with huge premiums added to the price. Search engine optimization, or SEO, was not originally a consideration when selecting a domain name, but that has changed. I now find that domain names containing key search terms rank high in search engine results. I'll go over SEO more in another article, but it should be considered when selecting a domain name.

If you want some help picking a name for your business, you can always call me for a free consultation. (541-474-5547 ask for John)

3. Website Design and SEO

A good website design needs to incorporate Search Engine Optimization into its HTML/CSS coding, page layout and text content. Many companies today have one entity create a website for them that deals with graphic design and page layout alone and then hires another company to do the SEO work. This method is inefficient at best and will be a source of much frustration, lost time and possibly total failure.

Making a site 'friendly' to search engines requires optimization of the HTML code with the efficient use of CSS and optimized ad copy that is written specifically for the intended market. Good graphic design is not just something aestically pleasing to the eye, it should also convey a message about your company in a non-verbal form. Easy to understand navigation will help keep visitors on your website once they land there.

4. Hosting Your Website

Your website is made up of a group of files. The simplest website may have a few HTML files, a CSS file and several image files for logos, photos and graphic elements. More complex sites will include more of these files plus custom CGI (common gateway interface) programs, database files and other configuration files that control how your website functions. This group of files must exist on a computer called a server that is connected 24/7 to the internet with a high-speed connection. It must also have assigned IP addresses, back-up internet connections, back-up electrical power, various server software programs installed, a security firewall device, a back-up data system and a technical staff available to fix any of these systems if they fail anytime, day or night.

There are many offers available on the internet for hosting ranging from 'free' or nearly free, all the way to multiple dedicated servers costing thousands of dollars a month. We have several servers that we have configured for our design and programming styles. We host all the sites that we create and maintain on these servers. We host hundreds of websites, and with so many variables in server setups, software configurations and server operating systems, it would be too time consuming and too expensive to try to work with servers other than our own.

5. Whats next?
Gather any existing advertising art including logos, graphic themes/colors and pamphlets or brochures. If you do not have any of thses items yet, browse the internet and make note of sites you find that appeal to you. We don't want to copy another site, but it could be used as an inspiration or starting point for your site.

If you already have a Graphic Artist or Designer, we can work closely with them to obtain your design elements that may already be 'web ready' or can be with very little modification. We can create original artwork for you in-house or bring in one of our professional graphic artists that are already familiar with our requirements and methods.

Any informative ad copy used in radio ads, print ads or business letters is a good start for content on your site.