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What it Takes to Get a Professional Web Site Online
by Lance T. Walker

Q: I'd like to put up a web site for my business, but it seems so difficult to know how to do it or where to begin. What is it really going to take to get my site online?

A: Publishing a web site for your business can be a relatively painless process if you have a game plan and know the steps involved. The first thing to remember is that it is indeed a process, rather than an event.


Thinking of your project as a process will allow you to relax, make better decisions, and create a valuable centerpiece for your overall marketing strategy. Seeing your project as an event, however, can lead to emotional snap decisions that must be corrected later, or unnecessary delays while you wait for the "perfect" time to launch your site. Both of these can be very costly in terms of lost marketing and public relations opportunities.

The next choice you'll need to make is an important one: whether to go it alone or to bring in a consultant. For most people, bringing in a professional web consultant will pay for itself many times over. But if you're the do-it-yourself type, save yourself a lot of time and frustration by taking some classes in HTML, Photoshop, and Internet Marketing. The days of "my nephew Johnny can build me one" are over; your web site is your marketing centerpiece, and the competition is increasing every day. Even if you eventually decide against actually building the site yourself, you'll feel good about knowing what's going on and being able to do your own updates.

If you decide to work with a consultant, look for one who will not only give you good advice, but will also provide the technical abilities and/or resources to get you through the process at the pace necessary to reach your goals. The consultant or firm you're looking for is part coach, part graphic artist, and part engineer - with a flair for marketing. Becoming a serious builder on the World Wide Web takes financial and personal commitment; just anybody with a laptop won't do.

The Basic Ingredients of the Web Publishing Process

Internet access - provided by an Internet Service Provider, or ISP. This is what allows you to view web sites on your computer. Average cost is $15-20/month. Not absolutely necessary in order to have a web site of your own, but if you don't have it, everyone can see your site but you. Highstream, AOL, and NetZero are among the largest ISPs.

Email address - 3 main types: 1) Internet Service Provider accounts, such as "". 2) Free web-based email, such as that offered by,,, and others. An example would be "". 3) Host email accounts, which are a part of your site and show your company name in the address, such as "".

Domain name registration - you can reserve your domain name, or site address, for anywhere from 1 to 10 years. Expect to pay about $35/year, with discounts for multiple years. This is first-come, first-served, though; you may have to do some hunting to find a name that's available. Your consultant can be valuable here - just make sure the domain name is registered with you as the owner, not the consultant.

Design and Development - a business web site is not an art project, unless you're running an art gallery. Look for a designer that understands the marketing needs of your business. You want a site that works correctly, is easy to navigate, and sells your stuff. A pleasant viewing experience is important, but it takes a lot more than just a pretty site to make a successful e-venture. In fact, a site that's too fancy can even work against you by attracting more attention than your products do. Bottom line: If people are talking about your site instead of your products, it's time for a new design.

Hosting and Launch - putting your site on a special computer, called a hosting server, allows other people to see it on the Web. Good deals can be had for under $20/month these days, but don't be fooled by hosts offering you incredible amounts of space you'll never use. For example, 2 gigabytes of server space will hold over 80,000 pages. Unless you're making lots of video movies available for download from your site, that much space is just an extra expense to you. Anybody can offer a deal on space they know you won't be actually using; customer service and site performance under heavy traffic load are much more important considerations.

With the right guidance and information, bringing your business to the Internet can be a very enjoyable experience. The most important thing is to get started today.

-- SkyVault™ Web Design provides marketing consulting, web development, and Internet business services to small and medium sized businesses. They have been developing income-producing online properties since 1998. Contact the development team at: Free Report Reveals Secrets of Their Successful Marketing Strategy:


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