To start a new web site there are quite a few questions you need to ask yourself.
Here are a few:
Each one of these points is a complete study on its own, and volumes can be written about them.
We will touch on each to help give you some ideas:
Do I really need a Website?
If you can answer this question honestly you can save yourself a lot of money and hard work.
If you do not need a site and force your way to setting one up it may just end up being a pet project/hobby, nice to have, but does not serve a purpose.
Will it add value?
What are my goals for my website?
What do you want to achieve with the site, have you got a clear goal/s in mind?
Your goal might even be to learn to put a site together, it may not always be about marketing a product or service.
Whats the purpose of the website, am I selling or promoting?
The use of the site will determine how much you will need to spend, the look & feel of the site.
Do I know what are the components of setting & running a web site?
– Design & Development, whats it going to look like, not what I like, but what does my market like, do I know my market?
What am I offering that is unique, why would my market come to me and not to another, this is all captured in the design as well.
Who is going to do the development, what level of development do I need, can I go opensource and customize, do I go for a new look
and go via a developer setting it up from scratch, does your developer have a feel of your products.
– Hosting, now that’s an easy question to answer, IDS Hosting, perhaps a bit biased here, but finding the right host can be difficult, I have always gone
by word of mouth, a good reference. We of course would recommend IDS Hosting, but then we at IDS cannot offer every hosting requirement out there, looking for a Linux based OS, Joomla friendly, we can help.
– Upkeep, this is a tough one, how many times have you found a web site with stale content!!
Do I have fresh content?
Good clean, fresh, clear content. Google loves quality content, keep it fresh, even if its a catalogue site, keep updating adding news, how many sites have you gone to the news page and it says the news will be added soon, and you go back weeks later and its the same … not good! Rather dump the news page, good intentions don’t come through well on a web site … its content, content content in a good clean simple wrapper.
Who sets it up, me?
Who knows your product the best, you? then you are the best person to set it up, but do you know how, do you have the time, it takes a lot longer than what you think?
Learning to set up a website while there is a time constraint and a steep learning curve is not so good for the heart … not recommended!
What will it cost to set up and to run?
This wil take a bit of research, some believe that to pay a lot means you get a good product, this is not true, but many fall into this trap, some go for the big names who advertise on TV, the big budget boys, you just paying for their huge overheads. well here I am a biased again, IDS Hosting can set you up very cheaply, you have a stable, reliable & quick foundation at a very reasonable cost. How can we do this, simple: volumes & competition. In a very competitive market you need to know your stuff, do it fast and right, thats us! Bad news travels fast in this media, so we make sure we always have good news to spread about our costs.
How do I get traffic to my site?
This question should really be first for those who are selling a product or service.
To get traffic to your site is no easy and cheap exercise be warned, and if you are not going to use a SEO specialist this is a whole new field to learn and you might find out things like your entire sites design and setup is not liked very much by some very large search engines, and they will not change there rules for you, so you will need to change your set up which could mean a whole new design and approach … talk about chicken & egg.
How do I measure the success of my site?
No good setting up a site and hoping for the best, it needs to be measured, do you know how to measure, what to measure …
For starters Google Analytics is amazing and gives you so much info you need a degree to understand it all, a good place to start, and many stop there, this is not a bad thing either.
How do I keep my site relevant?
This is the million dollar question, how do I keep people coming back, is there a good reason for them to come back, do they speak, blog & twitter about your site, if you can get them to do that you will be loved by Google, but to get this right you need to have the right content in at the right time.
I hope we have touched on a few issue to give you food for thought in setting up and running your web site.