So, you want to build a website quickly and at low cost. Most people are in the same boat you are. There are two ways to approach this and one is the "Website in a Can" Method and the other is "Software Wizard" Method. "Website in a Can" is essentially signing up with a service that covers all the bases: Domain Name, Web Server Space, Development Software, the Works. It will be tempting to go for the "Website in a Can", but my advice to you is go the "Software Wizard" Route. When you sign up for a service that covers all the bases, generally you limit your possibilities greatly. For instance, you limit your bandwidth, which correlates to how many people see your website. You also limit your expandibility, so your website can only be so large before you fill up all the allowed space. Simply put, "Website in a Can" is not for the person who wants to truly succeed online. I have not seen a truly successful "Website in a Can" website, simply because of all its limitations.
Now, the "Software Wizard" Method gives you an easy way to cover all your bases without the limitations. It does require a bit more work in that you have to cover each base separately: Domain Name, Web Server Space, Development Softawre, etc. So, within this article, I elaborate on this method of building your website.
The ideal domain name is one that is catchy and easy to remember. So, brainstorm some good domain names for your company and jot them down on paper. The domain names that seem to stick when you here it and are the easiest to write are the best candidates. Also, if possible, get .com rather than .net or .org, as most will assume .com when bringing your domain name to memory. Once you have five great domain names, you will need to do a search on the existing domain names to see if the ones you had in mind are available. A good place to do this search is in the WHOIS Database on Network Solutions.
Once you find your ideal domain name, you will need to register it. You can do this on various domain name websites, such as Network Solutions. Just click on the "Register A Domain" link near the top to get started.
Once you have a domain name purchased for a certain amount of years, you will then need to find a website hosting company to host your site. There are many great web hosting companies available. One of the best ones I discovered was CI Host. Starting as low as $14 a month, you could have them host your website on their servers. Their highest package is around $2500 a month, designed for those mega sites out there(unlimited bandwidth).
A few years back, I moved my websites to their server, as it only costed $100 a month for 8 IP addresses, 80 GIG space, 3000 GIG max traffic, unlimited email accounts, 24/7 tech support, etc. This means, I can have eight websites with up to 60,000,000 visits a month total for $100 bucks a month. Most web hosting companies would charge about $295 a month for something this!
Once you have a web hosting company, you need to talk with their tech support to find out the Primary and Secondary DNS IPs, so you can log into your domain account on the domain name website (i.e. Network Solutions - www.netsol.com) and input the Primary and Secondary DNS IPs to configure the domain names to the web hosting server.
To upload your website, you will need an FTP(File Transfer) Program and login method to your web host server. To get the login details, you will need to ask tech support at your web hosting company. A great FTP Program to use can be found at this link: WS_FTP. Then, whenever you make changes to your website on your computer, you just open your FTP program and upload the results to the server, so the rest of the internet world can see it.
Web Development Software
- Corel Graphic Software
- Adobe Digital Imaging
- Paint Shop Pro
Web Publishing Software (Drag-N-Drop)
- Adobe GoLive Web Publishing
- Macromedia Dreamweaver
- Microsoft FrontPage
- Macromedia Contribute for Windows
- Macromedia Homesite
Web Publishing Software (Straight HTML Editing)
- Edit Plus
- Bare Bones' BBEdit
There are several Payment Processing Services out there, but one of them seems to stand out for its ease of use and low cost per transaction: Paypal. Paypal is great, as you can easily integrate it into your website using their templates. Further, no one needs to sign up for a Paypal account, if they are buying from your website using a credit card or e-check. Also, I spent several hours in the past checking the competitors for their fee rates and it seemed Paypal overall was the cheapest in fees.
There is one thing to be aware of regarding Online Payment Processing Services. Do not accept any payment over $300, due to slight chance of credit card fraud and bad customers. Instead, accept only money orders or cashier's checks when it is over $300 dollars. Generally, anything under $100 is safe in Paypal, as few customers will try to put a stop payment on their credit card over a small amount. Further, no hacker is willing to waste their time for anything under $100, when they can rip you off for a $1000. I can vouch for this from experience. These type of bad scenerios are a rare occurance, but you can altogether avoid them just by only accepting smaller payments through Online Payment.
Some of the Best Online Processing Services:
Building A Website
- Google Checkout
- Auction Checkout
When building a website, you will want to consider a layout that would be optimal for those who visit. To get an idea of what would be optimal, look at some of your more successful competitor websites. If you are not aware of any, look at other successful online seller websites that you do know of. Consider how they have structured their front page, how they employ graphics, colors and linking structures. Further, refer to their ad copy and slogans to make some of your own ad copy and catch phrases. Also, consider making it as easy as possible to navigate. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to order a product. The less steps required and the more simple your website is, the better.
When considering what type of graphics to employ, realize there is a physchology to colors, images, etc. For instance, red and yellow together is used to get your attention for a short duration of time. Not situations where these colors were used, like McDonalds (they want you to see it, come in and leave quick). Also, they use red and yellow on logos for many brands names, to capture your attention. Light blue and gray generally means high tech or electronic. A good example of it in use is to check out any computer or high tech website, such as Microsoft.com. Also, there are certain types of shapes and images associated with different types of ideas. To see this in action, just go to the local supermarket and compare the name brand products with the generic ones. Do you see a lot of symbols and colors that are virtually the same? A simple example of this is to note what type of symbols and pictures are used on various types of software. Home Design in CAD will have pictures of great houses, floor plans, etc. Software for music editing generally will have some person sitting in front of a mixer jammin to some music or a picture of headphones. So, the idea is to use symbols and colors to present your message, along with sales copy.
For sales copy, refer to our article on writing great sales copy (click here).
Improving Your Website
After uploading your website and setting up your online advertising, you need to see how it performs. After a week, you will be able to ascertain whether it is doing good or not. If not, you should consider what needs to be improved. Now, this is something you have to learn more than being taught. What you should do is go over in your mind what seems to be lacking or atleast what is possibly lacking. After a bit of trial and error you will get it. Its kind of like learning how to ride a bike.
What I can tell you is what type of things to consider. Could it be you are not doing enough advertising? Is your website hard to navigate? Possibly, you wrote something that turns people off. At any rate, it is always wise to get a second opinion, especially from someone who also does some of their own online selling. Actually, you might want to hit both extremes: those who have their own online business and those who merely shop online(your average joe). This way, you can see from two greatly different points of view and will be able to compare what both said and figure out which points seem stronger to consider.
Like I said, it is like riding a bike. It is not something you can learn in a classroom. All I can tell you is things to consider. From there, you have to learn by trial and error what is lacking. Once you have figured out a few things, you will gain confidence and will gain more control over online selling. It is like filling your toolbelt with new tools, new tricks, new strategies, etc. Further, it is a neverending learning curve. Even the greatest pro on the net doesn't have it all figured out. Generally, you can be a pro at your small niche or even a large niche, but not the whole inner workings of the net. That would take more than a lifetime to learn and is not necessary. Figuring out even a small niche is enough to make you wealthy.
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