CI QUARTERLY

Vol. II, Issue I

65 Hicks Pond Road ~ Brooks, ME 04921 ~ E-Mail

September, 2003


Web Site Basics

What is involved in building a Web Site? If you have been considering a Web Site, but feel you don't have enough knowledge to know what you want, here are some answers.

Contents: Web Sites contain text, images (graphics or photographs), and links. In order to create a Web site, you need to know the purpose of the Site. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is the audience?
  • What am I supplying them with - something to buy or information?
  • Where is my audience - local, regional, national or international?
  • Why would I want to take my business online? What do I expect to gain from a Web Site - increased sales, more walk-in customers or gratification in supplying information?
  • As you answer these questions, you will begin to get an idea of what information and images you need to put on your site to fulfill your goals. Jot down your thoughts for text. Make a note of which pictures might complement or supplement your text. Separate your text by using headings or categories. These headings or categories may help you decide the number of pages required for your Web Site. A page on the Web is different from a page in the book. A good rule of thumb is no more than 300 words with 3-5 images per page.

    Domain Name: After you gather your content, now you can choose a domain name. Should you choose your business name or something related to your site's content? Here are some guidelines. Is your business well known? If so, than buying your business name as a domain name is a good thing to do. If your business is not well known but you have a popular product or service, then buying a domain name that contains words pertaining to your product or service may be better. For example, Jack owns the XYZ, an antique store in Maine. He has only been in business for six months and is not well known. Since not many people are familiar with his store name, he may select a domain name with the word antiques in it such as maineantiques.com or maineantiquestore.com rather than xyz.com. People who see xyz.com have nothing to associate it with and therefore, do not know what to expect. However, seeing maineantiquestore.com tells you what to expect.Shorter domain names are better than longer ones. They are easier to remember and

    to type. Try typing or writing the domain name. Think about how the name looks in print. Is it easy to read? Multiple letters that run together are hard to read. The name 'Miss Sylvia's Ice Cream Shoppe' will look like this in a domain name: misssylviasicecreamshoppe.com. This is very long and hard to read. Think of ways to shorten it and make it more readable like: sylviasicecream.com.

    Web Designer: You have your content and an idea for your domain name, now you must find a good designer. You can hire a professional or build your Web Site yourself. If you do not have much available time and want your site completed sooner rather than later, hire a designer. Cost can vary so shop around. You can find local designers in your area. Call and ask them questions. Find someone you are comfortable with and who knows something about advertising as well as design concepts. After all, your Web Site is a major advertising medium for your business. If you don't have capital and lots of time, than you can spend some time learning a program that will allow you to design your own Web Site. Remember, your site should be professional, quick loading, easy to maneuver and user-friendly. If you don't know what you are doing, hire a professional.

    Hosting: The last thing you will need is hosting for your Web Site. Hosting is like renting a computer hooked to the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so your Web Site is available to the world 24-7. People will not see your Web Site unless you purchase Hosting. Hosting prices and packages vary greatly. Find a Web Designer who provides hosting as part of their service package. This will simplify your bill paying and chances are your designer is already working with a reliable company. Hosting is not the same as ISP (Internet Service Provider). Your ISP provides you with a connection to the Internet to allow you to surf the Web, download email, chat, etc. Your ISP may also provide hosting, but this will be an additional cost beyond the regular ISP service. They will probably charge you more than a Hosting company, so shop around.

    Reminder
    Update your virus definitions at least weekly

    The CI Quarterly is a publication of Computer Infotech®, providing technical information in lay person’s terms. Watch for the next issue coming in December.

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