Steps to get your site on-line:
- Before you get started
- Register a domain name
- Determine your site needs
- Organize a web strategy
- Host your site
- Build your site
- Market your site
- Keep your site alive and current
Step 1 – Before you get started
The Internet is a business tool. Most businesses
can increase profits by maintaining a web presence. For some businesses, a multimillion-dollar web site investment can pay for
itself within months by increasing internal efficiency and
improving sales. For other businesses, any money spent on a web
site is wasted money. A business whose market does not use the
Internet will not benefit from web presence. Most companies fall
somewhere in between these extremes. More and more households are
now on-line, and people of all ages are logging on. Not only are They logging on, but they are also looking for products &
services of all types. If your target market includes people who
use the Internet, chances are they are looking for your services
on-line. A great way to decide whether or not a web site is right
for your company is to visit the New Jersey Small Business
Development Center. The New Jersey SBDC is a free service that has
assisted thousands of growing businesses statewide. The New Jersey
SBDC can provide free assistance through the entire process of
getting your company on-line. Check out http://www.yourbizpartner.com for more details.
Step 2 – Register a domain name
Even if you have a copyright on the name of your business, www.[your business name here].com may already be taken.
To ensure that the domain name that you desire is available when
you decide to build a site, you should reserve it as soon as
possible. If you attempt to find your domain name by typing it into
your browser, you may be prompting You can search available domain
names and register a domain name at http://www.TheRealNIC.com. If
the domain name that you desire is no longer available, it may be
possible to retrieve it. The owner may be willing to sell the
domain name to you. If the owner has no legitimate claim to the
name, and your company has a copyright for the name, it may be
possible to retrieve the name through legal action.
Step 3 – Determine your site needs
To determine what type of web site your company needs,
look no further than your current customers and desired customers.
If your customers are interested in buying your product or service
on-line and paying with a credit card, then you should provide a
site that does just that. If your customers simply want to find
your company phone number, then providing more may be a waste of
money. Other things that might be useful to your customers are
on-line brochures, automated monthly billing, inventory information,
event calendars and chat rooms, just to name a few. Fulfilling the
demands and expectations of customers is the lifeblood of any business, and your web site should not be an exception.
Step 4 – Organize a web strategy
Once you have decided your web site needs, you must
develop a web strategy. You may want to assign the task of creating
and maintaining the site to someone in your own organization. If
you have an IT department or a full-time IT specialist, they may be
able to do all of the work. Otherwise, you may want to consider
outsourcing: hiring another company to build and take care of your
web site. In any case, your web site should be built and maintained by experts,
so that your customers are never disappointed.
Step 5 – Host your site
Whether your site is going to be built by your own IT
department or an outside contractor, it must be hosted on a server.
If your company has a server and a system administrator, you may be
able to host the site internally. If your company does not have a
server, then you must outsource your hosting.
Step 6 – Build your site
Even if you have an IT department, your company may not
have the human resources to build a site that fits your needs.
Building a site requires programming, debugging, graphic design and
quality assurance. Most companies hire an outside contractor for
Step 7 – Market your site
If you are looking to attract new customers with your web
site, then marketing is a must. Search engine and index placement
is the first step. At some search engine and index sites, it is
possible to register your web site for free. Listings at other
search engines or indexes may cost hundreds of dollars. Google.com, Yahoo.com, hotbot.com and lycos.com are a few examples of
search engines and indexes. DMOS.org is a non-profit index that
costs nothing, and it’s a great place to start. Some other
ways to market your site on-line are banner ads, text ads and
animated ads. The New Jersey SBDC can help you decide what type of
marketing campaign is right for your company.
Step 8 – Keep your site alive and current
One of the greatest challenges in owning a web site is
keeping it fresh and up-to-date. Many companies hire a full- or
part-time staff to generate new content for their sites. Some
companies have little need to update their sites, because the
information on the site is permanent or long-term. Still, the need
will arise, from time to time, for the site to be updated. If a
site has out-of-date news, contact or address information, your
customers may get lost or become disappointed. In contrast, keeping
a current, attractive web site will please your customers and keep
them coming back for more; on the web and at your locations.