What are your site objectives?

Determining why you want to have a site is imperative in determining how your site development will proceed. Setting site objectives helps the developer determine what type of functionality and design style you should aim for.

For example: If my company wanted to develop a site that was entertaining little children, with hopes to get parents to book orders for birthday parties, I would most likely not look for a developer who only specializes in corporate business to consumer sites. However, parts of corporate sites have elements on it that would be applicable to the ‘ordering process’.

What is your competition doing?

A good way to determine how to set up your site, or know what things to offer, is to see what your competition is doing online and offline. When reviewing the competitors’ site, pay careful attention to how they speak to their audience. You may find things you like or don’t like, which will help you decide what not to do for your site. Look at the competitors’ keywords they use to rank themselves in the search engines.

Don’t be afraid to even review competitive sites outside your country – you never know they may be offering a service that you may be considering here. Also consider reviewing what your affiliates are doing. In many cases, more and more companies are starting to do co-branding marketing, or co-collaborating at providing content, services or advertising.

Deciding what type of site format

Site format can take many forms, and really depends on your site purpose, your audience, your needs, your budget and most times a way to reflect your brand. Two areas that influence your site format are the site interface (look and feel), and functionality. Surf the web, and pick out what you think are good sites, or sites that best reflect what you have in mind for your site. Share these with your site designer and together you can come up with some formats that meet your needs.

Sample formats:

  • Entertaining
  • Games
  • E-commerce (large, medium, small)
  • Marketing
  • Corporate Professional
  • Portals
  • Directories
  • Media
  • Networks
  • Not-for-profit
  • Dating or community sites

Choosing a domain name and host

Domain Registration

Choosing a good domain name

The importance of choosing a domain name lies in two main factors, is it easy to write out, and is it recognizable to either your company name, or reflects your company business. For example, www.yourcompanyname.com will be recognizable to you and your customers. www.whatwedo.com

Choosing a registrar to purchase it

The key to choosing a Registrar is choosing one that is not going to go under in a short period of time. Make sure you check out the credentials of the site. It is best to find one that has the ability to give you access to the control panel to make any modifications to your account. Your developer may ask you for this information when setting up your site, so make sure you keep it handy.

Domain Hosting

Which type of hosting service is needed?

Domain Hosting is where your web site files are stored and to be seen through a web browser. There are two main hosting services, shared and dedicated. Dedicated is usually for the larger company sites that need large memory space and high bandwidth speed. What most small business and organizations can use is shared space. Within the shared space, you can host on a Windows server of a Linux (Unix) server.

Talk to your developer about this before choosing which one to go with. Some of the free hosting services, may be cheap for your pocketbook, but can wreak havoc to your search engine optimization. Keep that in mind when choosing which service to go with. The cheaper the service, obviously more people are using the server. Try to get a dedicated IP address.

Setting your budget

Four key budget plans need to be set for your online web project

1. Initial site development costs

2. Maintenance

3. Promotion

4. New development

Initial site development costs may include the following:

  • Domain name registration
  • Hosting fees
  • Logo design, image purchasing and possibly copy writing services
  • Site design & development, production, implementation

Maintenance

Maintenance can be either simple interval updates to daily tracking and measurement of site progress and usability. Usually new sections will be an additional cost unless previously specified in a maintenance contract.

Promotion

Just because you build it, doesn’t guarantee the traffic will come. So make sure you budget for on and offline allocations. Some sample of offline promotions may include a hard copy print media, television commercials, flyers, launch party; online promotions may include paid-inclusion search engine submissions, sponsorships or advertising in Industry related sites or directories, media sources etc.

New development

A web site can get very stagnant very quickly online in today’s world. It is imperative to keep up with the times with providing new technologies that fit your market. Keep an open mind and online budget when growing your business.

Putting it all together

So… where do we go from here! Make the first call; take some time out of your busy schedule to put a web business plan together. Get help from the professionals. And most important — create a site for your audience needs!! Don’t be afraid to ask them what they want through survey technology, this can be answered easily and quickly before you spend all that time creating a site that doesn’t work.

Jemma Fong

Jemma Fong

InSite Creations

Since 1995, when online technology was still new to both the general public and small business, InSite Creations’ owner Jemma Fong has been designing websites. Identifying websites as an economical way to advertise 24/7 to customers all over the world, she built a community site to introduce new businesses to the web.

Jemma has since built a team of programmers, designers, marketers, and content creators to offer businesses a full-service, one-stop shop to help them maximize their potential and reach their objectives.

onlinesitedevelopment.com