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Steps to get your site on-line:

  1. Before you get started
  2. Register a domain name
  3. Determine your site needs
  4. Organize a web strategy
  5. Host your site
  6. Build your site
  7. Market your site
  8. 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 these tasks.

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.


Copyright 2006 Xanthus Inc