Creating your first website
November 20, 2012 | By Brooks Roche, KMNI
Stepping into the world of web design and the internet can seem intimidating. With so many options it can be difficult to know what is best for you and your business. The first step is to decide whether you want to try to build it yourself or hire a professional web designer. Some web hosting companies offer template-based sites where you customize the colors and add whatever pages you need. However, these sites often end up looking amateur and won't deliver the results you would expect from a site designed specifically for you. You could also try to design it yourself, but unless you already have the design programs and knowledge of website development, it can be a costly endeavor with a steep learning curve. Hiring someone to design and develop your site for you has a lot of benefits. You want to find a company that has plenty of experience designing successful websites, in-house designers and developers, all of the online services you need and of course, a helpful and friendly staff. A good web design company will be able to craft your site to meet your goals, whether it is increased sales, increased donations or improving your brand identity.
Once you've decided on what route to take, you will need to purchase a domain name and hosting for the site. Your business's name can be a good title, but remember to keep it short, easy to remember and easy to type. You may also want to purchase additional domains that can forward visitors to your site. You may want example.com as your name, but also purchase theexample.com and theexamplecompany.com. Your web design company should be able to set all of this up for you and recommend and additional domains to purchase, but if you are doing it yourself there are some websites that offer domain registration and hosting together, although you may need to do some research to set it up correctly.
Next it is time to decide what the content of your site will be. Your web design company can help you determine how many pages you need, what content should go where and how it can be organized so that potential customers are able to find what they are looking for easily and are most likely to buy your product or whatever you want them to do. With the structure of your site clear, you can then begin to work on the design.
Speak with the designer about your favorite colors, photographs that inspire you, or other websites that you like. Your designer should use this, along with research into your competition and years of experience creating brand identities on the web, to come up with a design proof of your site. You will then be able to look over it and make any changes you would like. When the final version is approved, it is time to take those beautiful images and make them into a functioning website.
Now what? Once the site is online it will need to be maintained to keep the content up to date. Its best to hire a company that can provide all of the services you need; domain registration, hosting, web design and development, as well as maintenance. Creating a website can be a long and tedious process, so it is fortunate that you can hire someone to do it for you! With the help of an experienced and innovative web design company, you will have a beautiful website that will bring in new customers and grow your company.