There is a lot of discussion on the Net about do you really need a website and my answer to the question is a strong “Yes”.
There are those who argue that a blog is all you need, but a blog does not give you the full capability that building a website gives you.
To show your maturity on the Net, to show your readers that you own a piece of “Internet real estate”, to have your home on the Internet, you need a website that will advertise you and your products 24/7.
There are many ways to start building a website. Building a website is the easy part. Knowing what to do before building the website is the more difficult part.
If you are experienced on the Net, you know you must find the answers to the following:
1. What will be your site concept or theme?
2. What will be the focus keywords for the website?
3. What tools will you use to research your keyword popularity?
4. How many searches were done last month on the keywords?
5. Are there enough people searching for your keywords to make the site economical?
6. Are the keywords too general and the competition is already too well established? This will make it difficult to get traffic to the new site.
7. What is the best name for your new domain?
If you do not know the answers to these questions or how to find them, you need some help in your initial planning. You really need to go through this process before you spend (and possibility waste) your money on a domain name.
Do not get in a hurry to buy a domain name and start building a website. The more time you spend planning and researching before you actually buy the domain name and start building a website, the better your odds are for success.
When you start looking for a web host and how to build your site, there are about as many options as the stars in the sky. Let’s narrow them down to a few:
1. Build it on your own – for this you will need an HTML editor and you will need to learn basic HTML. If you get what is called a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), you can build web pages similar to writing a Word document and the editor will create the underlying HTML for you. I use MS Front Page for my work. (Note: Front Page is not being supported by Microsoft anymore so you might want to consider another editor.) There are some free editors on the Net that you can find using Google. This method is for the technically capable who are comfortable with the Internet and understand its workings.
2. Ready made templates – there are some free templates that you can download and plug in your information. Most of these have the look of a “canned” website and usually do not send a very good message to the reader. There are many templates that you can buy and use as a base to build your site. Most of these are parameter driven where you enter information and the input will be placed in the correct location in the web pages.
3. Business in a box - these sites are usually sales sites that are ready to go. They are set up to sell specific products and do not allow you to change anything on the site except your domain name, email address, etc. If you have a way to drive traffic to this type of a site, it can work for you if all you want to do is sell, but does not work for a general usage website. When you evaluate this type of site, notice that it usually is loaded with products that the web host sells so you are becoming a sales site for your host’s products.
4. Complete package – this is where the website guides you through the entire process including doing the research on your market, helping you determine if your concept is economically feasible, helping you select the right domain name for the website, helping you build and maintain the site. This method will seem more expensive than the basic web host, but in the long run, it is by far the best buy.
Let’s look at some different web hosts. When you are evaluating these options, what looks like the cheapest sticker price is not necessarily the least expensive when evaluated in total.
I performed a study of inexpensive web hosts for an article that I published in the Boomer eZine newsletter (7-28-06) and here are the results.
I used Google to randomly research five lists of the top inexpensive web hosting sites on the Net. I developed a table of the results showing the ranking position for each survey and then compiled the results. The results are shown as how many times the site appeared out of the five lists (Count), the highest rank in the five lists, lowest rank in the five lists, and annual price.
Dot 5 Hosting
It appears that StartLogic is a favorite of the web hosting lists with LunarPages close behind. I had not heard of Dot 5 Hosting before, so that was a new one for me. BlueHost is a popular hosting site.
If you use the above web hosting services for building a website, you are on you own. You have to do all the work to answer the list of questions concerning the study of market and competition posed earlier on this page. The annual fee gives you a website, email, and that is all. The maintenance and daily care of the site are your responsibility.
Once you have your site up and running, consider the continuing maintenance and management that you need to do:
1. Create and maintain site maps for Google and Yahoo. Update these each time you add or change a page.
2. Create a blog on your site and update it for changes on your site.
3. Submit changes to your RSS (really simple syndication) feed. (We will talk about RSS later in our education.
4. Know when to resubmit your pages to Google and Yahoo when you make changes to the website. This needs to be done frequently enough, but if you do it too often, the search engines will consider it spamming.
5. Monitor when the search engines have checked out your website to know when to watch the search engine pages for your listing.
6. Monitor your traffic reports to see how you can change your site to improve it.
All this is a lot of work and it requires technical knowledge to build the site and make it function to its full capability.
Over the years I have studied many different web hosts and methods. In 1999, I built my first website. It was called an “intranet” and was for my business. An intranet is a net that is contained completely within an organization. It is used for posting employee policies, operating procedures, work procedures, etc. for all employees to access using the internal company network. This replaced the written manuals within our company. This intranet is still in operation in our company, and I still work with it.
I built my first website for the Internet, www.jhowe.com in 1999, and since then, I have built and maintained many websites for my church and other business entities with which I am associated. The only reason I am telling you this is so you will understand that I have “been there and done that”. I thought I knew quite a bit about the Internet and how to build and maintain websites.
Then I discovered a company called Site Build It (SBI) that hosts websites and it taught me how much I did not know about building and managing great websites. The site you are now viewing is hosted by Site Build It.
SBI does much more than host your website site. It also:
1. helps you perform all the research before you actually buy a domain name (The price of your domain name is included in the price for SBI).
2. helps you select the right domain name for your keywords.
3. helps you build the website. You do not need to know HTML, or how to build a website.
4. helps you evaluate each page that you create and advises you about the layout and content so the page will have high appeal to the search engines.
5. helps you manage your site after you have it built.
6. automatically submits your pages to the search engines when appropriate.
7. automatically manages many of the other mundane details of running a first class website.
One of my criteria for evaluating a retirement job is that it cannot work me to death. It cannot be so technical that I have to spend the equivalent of a college degree to learn how to do it. It cannot be boring and I want it to be fun. Site Build It helps me do this.
Building a great website is hard work so do not think that you push a button and you are an instant success. If you choose to build your site by paying the cheaper front end price, you will work much harder and have a much lower chance of success than if you use SBI.
On the front end, SBI seems expensive. It costs $299 per year paid in one payment, but for the value received and the increase in your chance of success, it is a great value. Look at it this way. SBI divides into $24.92 per month. How much do you pay a month for your cell bill, your cable bill, or your utilities? These are bills that cost you money and do not return any money to you. SBI provides you a service that will make you money in your retirement job.
To help you choose the best web host for your website, I wrote an ebook that I give away with each subscription to Boomer eZine, the monthly online magazine that Linda and I publish. This link will open a new window so to return here, just close the window.
Take a break and watch this short video by Ken Evoy, President of Site Sell. You will learn a lot about Site Build It from Ken.
This will open up a new window for you. When you want to return here and start back into your education, close the SBI window. See you in a little while. Don’t get sidetracked and not return. We have much more important information to cover.