Your web site will likely be the hub of your marketing plan and a professionally designed web site may be a long term goal. If your start-up budget is getting out of control, though, you can save a lot by creating your own web site. You might be surprised by how inexpensively you can come up something that looks top notch. Going through the exercise might also help you hone your businesses’ focus and serve as a jumping off point for your overall marketing plan.
There are the four basic steps involved in getting your website up and running:
• Registering a domain name for your site.
• Choosing and creating your web site design.
• Choosing a reputable and reliable website hosting company
• Adding e-commerce or other functionalities to your website's design.
Registering your domain
There are hundreds of web sites that will allow you to choose and register your businesses’ domain name (the words that follow the www in your web site's address.) Some of these sites are also web hosting and design sites, while others are strictly for domain name registration. The cost of registering the domain names varies from a few dollars a year to hundreds of dollars if you want a domain name that is already owned by someone else and they are willing to sell it to you. You can register your name for a few months or a few years. You domain name can end with the traditional ".com" or any other variations including ".net", ".biz", ".us.", ".org."
Designing a site
There are many free web design software programs available on the web. You could also choose to purchase web design software from a variety of companies. You could also use pre-existing customizable web site templates which are available for a small fee ranging from $5 to $100 from various companies on the web or are provided for free by your web host. For a new business, web site templates can be a Godsend. The templates are designed with ease of use in mind. Your host will likely also have a large bank of industry-specific stock photography that will help you illustrate your web site saving your lots on photography costs
Choosing a web hosting company
Your web host [Web Hosting Review 2010] is the company that keeps your web site up and running and accessible to others on the World Wide Web. There area variety of web hosting arrangements—shared server space, VPS (Virtual Private Server), which is semi-private server space, and dedicated hosting, which means a server is exclusively for your web site. The choice of web hosts is vast and prices can range from $3 a month for a basic web hosting package to $400 and up for dedicated hosting. Dedicated and VPS hosting is mostly for those using their web sites for business purposes or those who accept credit cards and personal information on their web sites. [MORE: How to Choose a Web Hosting Company]
There are lots of things you might want to do on your site: Sell products, collect names and addresses, offer downloadable products or blog. For each of these functions, there are many programs that can be used in conjunction with your web site. Before you choose a host, you should investigate which of these applications you want to use to make sure they can be integrated into the site you create. If you choose to sell products on your web site, you will need e-commerce software (shopping cart) to do so. You will also need to arrange a method to collect payment via a third party service, such as PayPal, or through a credit card authorization gateway and merchant account.