WHERE DO I START?
You’ve come to the right place! WebSite101 will give you the tools you need to get started on the internet. A thorough review of these suggestions will have you geared up for your own activity on the web in no time! We’ll be discussing all of the available options for establishing yourself online.
It all started with a military scheme to rule the world, but we won’t get into the roots, just a quick look at the visible part of the tree! The net was proposed by nuclear physicists in 1989. It didn’t become a reality until 1991. The web was a private network for eggheads (yes this could be rocket science) stored on a single computer (called a server) for about a year until it was made public in 1992. That year the number of internet servers (computers) took a jump to fifty, a year later in ’93 there were over six hundred of them! 1994 saw an increase to more than twenty five hundred servers, and the growth has been phenomenal since then! Now (July of 2005) there are an estimated 67 million servers that make up the web, all of them connected online. You can see where the analogy of a web came from!
Could you send the “server” for more coffee?
As you spend more time on the internet you will see confusing references and technical terms scattered about the place like toys all over the floor of a kid’s room. Most often you can ignore them because even if you knew the definition, it still won’t mean anything to you. Try talking to your mother about servers. Web authors will use terms that they believe the whole world knows, when really, only web authors understand them. They forget that only one percent of the human population has a computer, yet they think that every visitor to their web page should understand the lingo!
For a longer list of definitions and web terms visit our definitions page. We offer a fun look at the list of geek terms and acronyms there as well as examples to play with! Our definition for “Search Engine” actually has one available to search WebSite 101 for anything you want to learn more about! Try it out! Our definition for HTML (HyperText Markup Language) actually provides a glimpse of that odd foreign language!
Lesson One (1) Begin!
It is becoming a business imperative to have a web site for your company. We are moving rapidly from “Do you have a web site?” toward, “What is your web address?” It’s critical now to be able to say to your clients, “Look at our new service or product at www.mycompany.com”
At WebSite101, it is our firm belief that it will become an absolute necessity to have a web site for your small business. If you don’t believe this we suggest you think about all those television advertisements you hear with a web address mentioned. Big business understands the incredible value and new opportunities opened up by the internet! Not only is it important to establish a web presence, it is becoming a detriment to your company to be without that presence! The time to begin is TODAY!
For more details on this issue visit our Online Imperitive page where more reasons are outlined in a pro and con format. Now that you are learning the importance of a company website for your customers, we’ll take a look at just what is involved in getting started.
WYSIWYG or HTML or PROFESSIONAL?
No one knows better than you what is best in your particular situation when it comes to creating your web site. There are basically three major options for the do-it-yourselfer and a multitude of web site designers from your nephew (who is learning web page design in grammar school) on up to the pocket protector geeks who insist on calling themselves “Information Technology Specialist”.
You can learn to do it yourself by going many routes from the simplest browser-based online freebies at Google Sites, Wix or Weebly, to learning how to do HTML coding by hand from scratch (often referred to as “Raw HTML”) The other major do-it-yourself option is to get the software known as “What You See Is What You Get” authoring tools (Also known as WYSIWYG). The software provides all of the HTML tags behind the scenes so that you don’t need to learn a new language. Visit the WebSite101 HTML Tutorial to get a gist of the basics of HTML, then follow links from there on to further learning!
Having said all of that we provide links on WebSite101 to several online tutorials for basic HTML as well as a “Turn-key” template based service that helps you to build your web site in just about an hour! Hop on over to our links page at http://www.website101.com/wlinks.html and see some of the options at our “Resources for Webmasters”. The real key is that you must get started soon before you and your business are left in the dust!
Why lesson two of course!
=> More Definitions
=> Lesson Two-(2)- Move On!
=> What is “CONTENT” ?
You can become familiar with terms you are certain to see on a regular basis. If you have not taken the time to do that, it could be fine if you are going to pay someone else to do your web pages for you. It would still help to have those basic terms down so you are able to talk to the web designer when they start tossing terms around. We’re convinced those words’ll fade from common usage at some point soon anyway.
Do you know that when fuel injection was first used it was displayed proudly on the fender of cars it was used in? Now, virtually all cars use it and nobody talks about it at all. We hope that in a couple of years that nobody will use the geeky acronyms like HyperText Transfer Protocol (http to you Bub). Maybe we used to need to know what was in our CPU was microprocessors on “tiny silicon chips”! But who really cares as long as it continues to do what it’s supposed to do? The other thing that’s likely is that web terms will come to have meanings for other parts of our lives – “You’ve got mail!”
Lesson Two-(2)- Move On!
O.K.! So now you’ve decided that it’s important to have a web presence for your small business and you’ve either hired a web designer or begun to learn HTML or bought some web authoring software. But you’re ready to proceed and it’s time to take the first steps. Now what? Well right here is the place to ask yourself a very important question. “Will I reserve a domain name? We take a very strong stance at WebSite101 that an effective and memorable domain name (www.mycompany.com) that we’ve devoted many pages on our site to discussing the issue.
There is a very good article written by Michel Fortin PhD., also known as the Success Doctor in web circles. We very strongly recommend that you read that article reproduced on our http://www.website101.com/Domain_Name Domain Names page. Then you can enter your name choices (be creative!) in the search box and see if it is still available for you to use! Domain names are being snapped up at a dramatic rate and the perfect one to represent your business may be gone soon!
Whew! Now that you’ve decided to reserve the domain name, you need to decide where your site will be “hosted” which is a much more important decision than you may realize for a business web site. The host will provide you with services which must be as reliable as your telephone or electric services and offer domain name hosting (also called domain multihoming), forms processing (also known as CGI access), e-mail services, fast data transfer, adequate storage capacity, excellent customer service and several add-ons like site search, counters, server logs, maybe access to digital subscriber lines (DSL) and the likelihood of a significant commitment to growth and adopting new technologies such as wireless access.
Man this could get to be a bit complex! Yep. And we’ve only just scratched the surface here. O.K. Lets see, We’ve reserved a domain name and chosen a host for our web site. Now you can start designing or having your site designed for you. Whomever you choose to do that should be very clear about your objectives and have a solid understanding of your business. No matter who does this part, you need to maintain focus and clearly target your market!
What is “CONTENT” ???
Again, we feel so strongly on the topic that we’ve devoted a section to the subject. You can see here just what we mean by focus and get clarity on what you will offer visitors to your website. Don’t confuse them with all of your separate interests from gourmet cheeses to long distance service! If you do that, you will lose your visitors very quickly. They want you to be specialized! This is known as niche marketing and it is the only way to succeed on the web.
Why lesson three of course!
=> Lesson Three-(3)- PROMOTE!
YOU MUST MARKET AGRESSIVELY!
Last segment we nudged you in the direction of getting started with your site, if you haven’t started already. If you’re still wavering then it’s time to jump in the pool head first! There’s a lot to do and it will take longer than you expect to get your site up and running smoothly! Don’t worry! We provide you with all the resources and advice you’ll need to get your business bobbing on that vast ocean out there. Jump!
“Pssst! Hey Pal, come on over here!” Here’s the secret, you have got to work constantly at marketing your web site to get it noticed in that vast ocean of web wanna be’s! Print your web address on business cards, letterhead, promotional item give-aways, Never miss an opportunity to talk to your friends, relatives and yes, even strangers, about your website and pass out your cards and promotional items to everyone you meet!
The thing that surprises many newcomers to the web is that need to constantly market your site. This isn’t the field of dreams kind of “Build it and they will come” fantasy that so many entrepreneurs believe it is! You’ve gotta wanna work at it or you might as well be putting a baseball diamond in a corn field! Don’t get me wrong, if you’re hearing voices that are telling YOU “Build it and they will come”, you may be due for some good karma after several lives spent serving your fellow man selflessly. I don’t claim to know whether you will channel the “next big thing” from the UNIVERSAL ONE but most of us will just have to work hard at it to succeed!
Lesson Three-(3)- PROMOTE!
O.K.! So now you’ve reserved a unique domain name and signed up with a host for your net access, e-mail and web space. Now it’s time to start the process of promotion, that’s right I said the process! It’s endless, sometimes tedious and even seems as though it never ends, because it doesn’t! As you design your site, you need to keep in mind a unique market position for yourself and be prepared to stake your claim to fame and fortune by looking for something you want to spend a lot of time with! If you are bringing an existing business online, give it a unique twist or flavor that will attract the attention of a world that is awash in fantastic new and exciting developments carried worldwide on the web. If your site is a plain old, buy-your-widget-from-me-site, you better take a creativity pill and don a genius cap before you make another move!
In the competitive market of the internet, not a few deluded yo-yo’s believe they could get rich offering mom’s recipe for candied perch and selling handmade beaded jewelry that they create on weekends. While they act as resellers or affiliates for everything from viagra to video’s.
SO!! All of that as a preface to designing your website from the very beginning with a “unique” marketing angle that will attract attention from other web site owners, the press, and your community. Because although you may have heard that submitting your site to search engines and directories will bring you tidal waves of visitors washing over your web site all at once. It just ain’t so! Many netters see search engine placement in the top twenty as the be-all and end-all of web promotion. Often you will find well positioned but dull web sites in searches that would not ever entice you to visit them with their descriptions, but they sure are well placed in the search engines!
Guess what will entice visitors to come to your business website if they DO find you in their search? Offering them a service or product they can use, and a reason to buy it from you! I once saw an orange juice advertising campaign that showed the carton and said simply “BUY THIS!” (Ya hadda be there) I thought it was hilarious, actually looked for that brand in the store. But do you think that brand of orange juice was better than another? Nope! It was just an innovative ad that got my attention above the noise of everyone else’s ad campaigns.
“CONTENT” is KING!
Again, I will emphasize that what you choose to put on your website IN ADDITION to your product or service is what will make the difference. Get clarity on what you will offer visitors to your website! Don’t confuse them! If you do that, you will lose your visitors very quickly! They want you to be knowledgeable and interesting! NOW, sit down and contemplate how you can be unique, how you will promote that uniqueness and THEN build your website. Once you decide what you want to emphasize on your web site, you will also need to carefully craft your “About Us” page and tell visitors about yourself.