Friday, April 27, 2007

Build the Web Site Yourself or Hire a Web Designer and Developer?

Should you design your site or engage a Web designer and developer?

The decision boils down to a few factors:

Does your Web hosting service offer any tools and templates to help you? If so, you may be able to quickly create a Web site with little or no technical knowledge, and at no additional cost. Also, there are many free scripts available that enable you to add features to your Web site, such as a traffic counter or a customer feedback form, with very little technical knowledge.

If no templates are available, the next best do-it-yourself option is using WYSIWYG HTML/Web site software like FrontPage. These tools enable you to design a Web site with very little technical knowledge, and many include templates.

If you do not have templates or WYSIWIG software available, do you have the necessary skills in-house to design your Web site? To do the job yourself, you will need graphic design skills, the ability to create graphics, HTML and JavaScript programming skills, some knowledge of information organization, and a general familiarity with Internet technology and software. If you don't have these skills, are you willing to take the time to obtain them?

What is your Web site budget? Hiring a designer and programming company will probably cost more than doing it yourself. Indian Web designers typically charge from $10-$15 per hour. Before you hire a designer, make sure you have a clear idea of what you want your site to look like and how you want customers to navigate it.

Do you have some skills but lack others? If so, control your costs by hiring a designer or developer to do only the work that you cannot.

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Step 3: Host Your Own Web Site or Work with a Web Hosting Service?

The Web site you build must be stored on a computer that has a reliable, secure connection to the Internet. Hosting a Web site means providing the technical resources (the computer hardware and operating system, the networking equipment, the Internet connection, etc.) needed to make your Web site available to your customers. You can either host your own Web site or hire a Web hosting company, such as thePlanet, Interland, Rackspace to host your site. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Hosting Your Own Site Advantages: You are in complete control. You have unlimited flexibility: you choose your own hardware, operating system, database, and other tools. You do not have to learn another company's Web hosting procedures. You will not pay additional charges for hard disc storage space or bandwidth usage.

Disadvantages: Purchasing and maintaining computer hardware and software can be expensive. Obtaining a reliable, fast connection to the Internet can be very expensive. You will need a high degree of technical knowledge, and if you have any problems, you're on your own.

Working with a Web Hosting Service
Advantages: Reliable and secure computer hardware with a fast connection to the Internet. Low start-up costs and relatively inexpensive monthly fees. You can get your Web site online much faster. Technical support is often free or available at a nominal charge. Purchase only the services you need and add more as your business grows.

Disadvantages: You are limited to the software and hardware options the hosting service offers. Monthly fees may vary depending on how many customers visit your Web site. Not all hosting services are created equal: it takes some research to find a reputable company that will be a trusted advisor and help you grow your business.

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Register a Domain Name

A domain name is your business's identity on the world wide web; it will be used as part of your company's e-mail address and its Web site address (URL). For instance, if your domain name is dassnagar.com, then your e-mail address might be me@dassnagar.com, and your Web site URL would be www.dassnagar.com.

It is important that your domain name be less than 20 charecters, descriptive, and easily memorable. For instance, Dassnagar's domain name is dassnagar.com. If you can't be descriptive, then be short and memorable. When dassnagar obtained its domain name, it had many choices: DassnagarInfosystems.com, DISWebDesign.com, but they chose the simplest name: dassnagar.com

Also note that www.dassnagar.com and www.dassnagar.co.in are two entirely different domain names. If you own one and a competitor owns another, then your customers may mistakenly go to the wrong site. To avoid this problem, consider registering several domain names. Example dassnagar registered all names with spelling mistakes like dasnagar.com and disindia.com.

The best place to register domain is Network Solutions, Enom and Directi. Godaddy is the worst.

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Type of Website

Step 1: Decide on the Type of Web Site You Need

The type of Web site you need depends on the nature of your business and the goals you have for the site.

A brochure Web site is the easiest to build (www.rotamech.com is a good example). These sites also called static site or HTML sites combine the roles of online brochure, and enquiry generation by having contact form. Brochure sites are used primarily by start-up business of all types, restaurants and other small businesses that need to promote their message online so that customers can know about them. Brochure sites usually have basic information about the business's products or services, location, and the hours it's open. They make heavy use of photographs and marketing copy to entice potential customers to visit. Optimising Static Websites are also easier as search engines prefer static pages.

If you need to frequently update your web pages and do not have HTML knowledge, then you should go for an Updateable Website. These sites are powered by Content Management solution that enables you to add/edit and delete content using an online panel protected by Password. Overall it gives you the flexibility to update your site without engaging a designer and you can do at your convenience.

If want to sell your company's products directly to customers, you will need am Ecommerce Web site that revolves around a product database (online catalog) (www.teamoods.com is a good example). Each product in the product catalog contains a thorough description, photograph and product reviews. Catalog sites need CMS that manages the catalog and a shopping cart, with shipping calculator and credit card payment integration. Ecommerce sites can be made as cheaply as 1,000 USD using FREE Open source frameworks like osCommerce, Comercus but eventually such sites do not attain search engine rankings nor gives your customer to expose his credit card to a site that is made from free source codes. Freelance firms mostly rely on existing open source products which they can skin and sell at flat rates and short timelines. Freelance firms are ideal for those Customers who are shopping for the cheapest offers available.

Many businesses publish or distribute newsletters, articles, bulletins, reports, editorial opinions, educational materials, cartoons, music, animations, and other information (www.teamoods.com is a good example). These sites are usually heavy with text and graphics and are often designed to resemble an enterprise image.

Once you choose the general type of site you want, you need to decide what features you will offer. The choices are almost unlimited, but some of the most popular additional features are: membership, video broadcasting, blogs, message boards, news bulletins, stories, free file storage space, slide shows, personal home page and automated customer service.

Before deciding the type of Web site you need, look at your competitor's sites and position your site accordingly.

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