With the growth of the Internet and the possibilities for increased revenue for existing businesses and opportunities to start home based businesses for business opportunity seekers, more and more individuals and businesses are looking to develop an online presence.
With so many web hosting banners and advertisements with action words such as “Own Your Own Website”, “Instant Setup” and “Become a web host” one may began to think that all I need is a credit card and an Internet connection to have a web presence. But is that all you really need?
Before you take the Internet plunge lets look at what it takes to get your website online:
Who will design my website?
This is a very important step in your online endeavor as it will be the end result of all of your research and work.
There are a few options that you may want to consider:
- Pay a Web Designer – This will allow you to have a custom built website complete with all of the bells and whistles that you would like. While this option is the most flexible it can also be the most expensive. Custom web designs can start at $99 for a 5 page website to thousands of dollars for a website of 20 pages or more. Do your research and ask to view a company’s portfolio, and ask for references before you decide.
- Website Templates – Website templates are pre-built websites complete with graphics and pre-built pages. All you will need to do is make a few changes to the graphics to add your logo, and replace the existing text on the pages with your own. You can download free templates from several websites that sale website templates. You can Google “Free Website Templates” and you should have a pretty good list to get you started. If you would like a larger selection of possible templates you can expect to pay from $29 for a standard template to upwards of $100 for a premium template.
- Site Builder – A few years ago website builders were considered web based applications that built very cheesy sites with huge menu buttons on the left or top with huge banner headers. These sites were for individuals that wanted to have a website NOW! Or individuals or companies that absolutely could not afford to have a website designed by a professional. There has been a dramatic change in this area of website development. Today there are website builders that will allow an individual or company to build a professional website that rivals one built by a professional. You can usually pay a monthly price to use the site builder starting at $4.00 per month with web hosting included. Small Businesses and individuals can now have a professional site that will allow their company to project a professional image on the web and with a price that will not send them to the poorhouse. This is worth a look.
Who will host my site?
This will be the most important decision you make regarding your online presence as this is your online infrastructure. Your web host will store your WebPages on their server for potential clients and customers to access and view. Your host must be reliable, have a solid support system should you need assistance and their servers must be connected to a network that is fast and stable.
How will I know which web host is the best?
There are many web hosts on the internet. Many web hosts will offer a great deal of hard drive space and bandwidth for a very low price. Don’t be swayed by these offers. To start you will not need more than 5GB (5000 mega bytes) of disk space and will require no more than 250GB (250000 mega bytes) of bandwidth. If you require more your web host should provide the ability to upgrade almost immediately. Your web host should not be chosen by how much they offer or by their rock bottom prices – a web host should be chosen by there support infrastructure and your ability to contact them when you need them.
Try calling their support phone number or email their support and test the response. A 24 hours response is acceptable for non-emergencies and if you should have an emergency you should have the ability to contact your web host via phone.
Establishing your presence on the Internet can be very exciting so enjoy yourself but also do your research before you take the plunge.
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Bueford Copeland is a Technology Consultant and has been managing computer networks on the Windows and Linux platforms for 10 years. To obtain web hosting, website builder services and for affordable domains names please visit 561Design Group.
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