|Setting Up the Website
To set up an acceptable commercial website (as opposed to a personal home page) you need the following:
A domain name, such as www.mysite.com
Web space—a home for your website’s files, provided by a hosting company
The website itself—a collection of pages and images, linked together to make a complete site
First, a web address or domain name is needed. There are scores of companies such as www.reg-ister.com and www.dotster.com that let you check that the name desired is available and, if so, register the domain name online. Domain registration is not expensive, and often the domain name will be registered with the same hosting company that provides the web space. Most companies will “park” your name until your website is ready.
Web space is space on a computer owned by a hosting company. It is set up so that anyone who types your domain name into their browser will be connected to your site. There are numerous hosting companies, but some research is needed on the Internet to find one that best serves your needs.
Anyone can put a website together, and it seems that just about everyone does, with greater or lesser success. If you can use a word processor, you can create a website. However, creating a good website is an entirely different matter and requires a lot of thinking and details.
Website Components and Details
The website should articulate the services offered. This may be outlined in a mission or vision statement. When you are starting out on the Internet, you are starting with something close to a clean sheet. The majority of Internet users probably won’t actually know who you are. You can project any kind of image that you wish, and, moreover, you can emphasize any particular aspect of the organization that you wish to.
Sit down with some colleagues and some paper and brainstorm until you come up with a series of points that match your organization and what you do or wish to do. Next, you need to match these points to the kind of image you want to portray on your site. Consequently, when it comes time to actually put the site together, you can ignore the flashy graphics and animations and concentrate on guiding the user quickly and effectively to the information that they need. Use your site to display your particular abilities to their best advantage; in other words, play to your strengths.
Corporate image comes into play here as well. You will probably want to make sure that the image on the web pages matches that of the image displayed in other formats and media. However, don’t forget that you are starting from scratch, so you have a free hand. It might actually make sense to have some subtle changes on the website; if your corporate color is blue, think about changing to another shade or be radical and go for red! Decide on a theme and stick to it. Use the same logo on your pages, in the same position, in the same size.
Today, it is easier than ever to create a website; you can even do it overnight. With a wealth of tools and options available on the web today, you don’t need to be a graphic designer or web developer to capture the basics. Templates are a great way to get started in developing your own website, and you can choose from a variety of simple but attractive designs. There’s always room to upgrade, and it’s easier than ever to find a unique template so you’re not simply imitating another site. No coding is involved— you don’t even need to learn HTML.
It is illegal to copy another company’s web page, but tracking down a free template is simple: just download it from the internet, and you’ll have the framework ready to go. Once you’ve found the right