This Customer Information Center that will guide you through the process of setting up your site on the web. If there is a question you have or a topic that is not addressed or you are ready to order your site, please contact us.
We don’t disclose any information provided, and you are not required to purchase any services.
Why Do I Need A Web Site?
Available 24 hours a day 7 days a week the web never sleeps and is always advertising for you. Customers up at 2:00am can still visit and find any information you want them to be able to find, and that information can be updated with the touch of a few buttons unlike mailers and the like. The internet is even replacing phone books for an entire generation of young people, with a simple web search they can find the nearest whatever they are looking for and the phone number to contact them. Not being on the web is no longer an option if you’re not okay with missing out an a large sea of potential clients. Include a Frequently Asked Questions section on your site and you’ll free up some of your time and avoid the annoyance of constantly answering them by pointing them to the site.
How To Get Started
The first step to the web is like the first step to anything business related, find out what your competition is doing. Not to copy them of course, but if they are already successfully pulling in customers then patterning yourself after them is not a bad idea. And as an added bonus you’ll notice things you don’t like and gain ideas for sections on your own site you’d probably never think of other wise. Knowing what not to do is a great way to save m0ney, and with an afternoon of searching under your belt you’ll have a much better idea of things to avoid.
Then gather up the advertising info you already have and make a few decisions, like what is your target audience, and what specifically do they need to know to get them to come through your doors.
If you want my opinion on anything during this process simply send me a few urls and I’ll look at them and give you a bit of feedback.
Keep a notebook with you for a few days to write down inspirations and observations as they come to you, this will help you visualize what you’re looking for in a finished website. Once you’re officially a client, we’ll go over the list and weed it down to something you can be proud to own.
Once you’ve got the visual it’s time for the meat and potatoes of any site, the content. You’ll need to consider things like how much information you want to include, and what your businesses keyword phrases are the first to give me an idea of what to build the second to ensure Google knows you exist. Having content ready upfront helps SEO which should be taken into consideration as early as possible, the beginning of the project being the best.
What Should My Site Look Like?
Think of your business as a person, what are some ways you’d describe it? Then take this idea and apply it to the design, you want your business to be reflected as honestly as possible on the web. You also want it to be easily navigable and cleanly designed, but a wood panel background will hardly fit in with the idea of a site about saving the trees. When you’re researching competition in step one it doesn’t hurt to take note of design elements you like, and ones you don’t like. If you hate three column websites then knowing that before the first draft of the site is up and running will help me to deliver a better more tailored design, and avoid instances of restarting which cost time and money.
Can I use pictures of my products/service on the site?
A site without any pictures is doable, but every graphic will help increase the quality of your content, and keep casual visitors looking at the site for longer, maybe long enough to decide to spend money with you. At a certain point the use of images will slow down a page, making it less likely to gain visitors with the average impatience of netizens being so low but the upside to this is every day computers get a little faster and everyday that line gets pushed further backwards.
Another thing to consider is an about section with pictures of you and your staff, it’s only natural that people feel more comfortable when they know who they are dealing with, and such an addition alleviates the faceless-ness of the web to some extent.
Who Will Do The Work
By this time you should have a firm grasp of what you want visually and a list of what you want content wise if not the actual content itself. Now is the time to look into designers, or if you need an application heavy site, maybe developers.
Be careful to make sure the designer you hire can deliver what you want. If you need custom graphics but they don’t offer that service it might be wise to find someone who does both, spreading a project around between multiple sources is just asking for it to get bogged down in the mess of communication and coordination such an endeavor requires. Other things to consider is how will the site be marketed, what does maintenance cost, and will the company be there to answer questions during the process or are they a big company churning out generic sites with little interaction.
If I can’t do what you need i can point you to someone who can. One quick thought though, few designers focus on SEO, that is usually an after completion issue for most of them, and this is not always a bad thing. Some of the worst sites I’ve seen were made by SEO companies offering design services as an all-in-one sort of deal.
Choosing And Registering Your Domain Name
What is a Domain Name?
Actual URLs are a series of numbers associated with the computer your site is stored on, but a domain name is a unique, easy to remember name that directs visitors to those numbers. Nobody wants to remember a string of numbers to find your site, most people don’t even realize that’s what a domain name is doing in the first place, and those that do still would rather type is a .com address.
The domain name for Hymes Design is hymesdesign.com. The complete URL for this site is http://www.hymesdesign.com, common sense in this day and age I know but on the off chance you didn’t there it is. Putting that name in the location line of your web browser brought you here! All domain names are registered with ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers-see below).
Do I have to have a domain name to have a web site?
Technically no, but you’re shooting yourself in the foot as far as promoting your site if you don’t.
What should my domain name be?
Choosing your domain name sounds simple but it is extremely important. For instance, if you can use your keyword phrase for the domain name, then you will rank higher on that keyword phrase with Google than you would other wise. Though the best practice is still to choose your business name as the .com name if at all possible. Never choose a domain name with a hyphen, it’s a personal observation, but I have yet to see hyphen domain names ranking consistently within the first ten pages of Google searches, and as you no doubt know few people search that deep on an average search.
But, what if someone already has my name?
It’s quite common that the name you choose is already taken. In that case the registrar (companies that process domain name registrations) you use may suggest others. Try using variations on the name, adding things like “the” or “best” in front of the name or consider settling for a .net extension. Note only consider settling for a .net extension if you must have a specific name, Google weights .com names and their relative importance to the site higher than .net ones.
How do I register my name?
You can register your domain name through an accredited registrar. Some companies sell domain names only while others will offer the domain name as a part of a hosting package. If you are going to use me to design the site then I will take care of this part of things, along with the hosting.
I don’t recommend becoming too attached to a domain name before a project begins, but it is advisable to purchase a domain name up front, through godaddy, if you just can’t live without it.
How much does it cost to register a domain name?
The cost of a domain name can run anywhere from free with a hosting account to $35.00 per year, depending where you register. Many registrars offer sales and promotions and some hosting companies will include your domain name registration in with their hosting packages.
Where Will Your Site Be Hosted
What is a hosting company?
A hosting company provides a place on their servers for your site files to be stored and ready to be accessed whenever anyone calls up your URL.
How much does it cost?
There is no set cost for hosting, it can range from a four or five dollars a month with restrictions set on bandwidth etc. to private hosting or reseller hosting at over a hundred dollars a month, and I’m sure there are a million prices in between or even over my estimation.
Free hosting however is no real option, being hosted on a sub-domain, or such is no way for a proper business to host itself and will only reflect poorly on the company. Personal sites hosted for free are one thing, professional sites require hosting and their own domain name.
How do I find a hosting company?
By doing a search on Google or your favorite search engine or directory will turn up many options. But any of my clients can leave such details up to me, unless they have already purchased hosting elsewhere, a practice I discourage whenever possible due to the annoyance factor it represents for me the designer.
How Your Site Is Promoted
Submission to search engines
After your site is up and running you will want your site to be submitted to search engines (a program that searches for documents based on keywords) so people can find you. This can be done in a number of ways. Your hosting company may offer search engine submission. Your site designer/developer may offer. There are companies that, for a fee, will submit your site. Or you can also do it yourself. Note that Google will almost always eventually find you itself.
Directories usually have rules for submissions, some even requiring payment for inclusion, but they are a simple, quick way to establish one way links to your site which only improve your ranking in the more commonly used search engines.
Banner exchanges are relatively useless in the scheme of things, but they do give you one more chance to find visitors, and if they gain you even a single paying customer then they were worth the effort.
Local Business Directory or Chamber of Commerce
Find out if your community has a web site and add your link.
Put A Link In Your E-Mail Signature
Even if your email will not allow you to include a signature saving one in a text document and copy pasting into your email every time you send, while annoying, is a great way to ensure people remember to check out your site. Even family and friends and turn into customers, or gain you them by word of mouth.
Business cards, letterhead, invoices, print ads, yellow page ad, business checks…
Be sure to include your url on all your marketing tools, it does you no good if you don’t promote it.
Starting a blog and getting on sites like Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter and so on are are great ways to promote your site. But blogs are only useful if you can develop a following, or at least a popular article or two, so make sure you have the time and content to devote to such an endeavor. There are literally millions of blogs out there with one or two posts that only manage to attract the occasional spam bot, and it’s a sad affair in my opinion.
How Do I Pay For Your Services?
Exact terms may vary and special instances have applied in the past and may apply in the future but by and large all payments are made via paypal. The convenience is hard to outdo.
Back to top
Preferred Lubbock, Texas Website Designer at WebsiteDesignersList.com
Preferred firm in the Small Business Web Designers category at WebsiteDesignersList.com