20 Steps to Launching Your Website
Starting the process of creating a web site can be daunting. We have broken it down into easy to understand achievable steps to take away some of the fear and keep you on track. Follow this platform and you will be on your way to Internet success!
1. Find a reputable web design firm
Web site design is an easy title to hang, but true professionals are much harder to come by. Do the homework here and you will save yourself many troubles and money down the road. Call some references. Call the better business bureau. Are they incorporated?
2. Find an available domain name
We recommend Godaddy.com, they are inexpensive, offer good support (you can actually get someone to answer the phone) and there not going anywhere.
3. Register the domain name
Do not let anyone register your domain name for you. It is vital that you register this in your name only! What happends if 5 years from you now your web designer is gone and your domain is registered in their name? Also, you probably already have too many user id/password combinations out there. Save the user id and password godaddy gives you on a word document on your computer, and print it out. While you can get the information back, they make it difficult, albeit for your protection. Also, use an email address you will have forever, otherwise it can be very difficult to retrieve your log in information.
4. Setup webhosting account
We offer affordable web hosting with one of the most reputable resellers in the nation, Rackspace, and we have our own Cloud for security. We will take care of everything needed to get your site up and running: setting up your email accounts, setting up the domain name so your site will come up when it is entered into a browser. In general taking care of one of the more confusing parts of the web development process. In the case that you are looking to develop a roboust e-commerce platform, we will actually recommend you set up your own VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting account with Inmotion Hosting, ranked one of the top 5 most secure hosts in the nation. Yes we are giving money away to someone else, but we want what is best for you and your clients.
5. Setup email accounts
Again, your web designer should do this for you. Send them a list of email accounts you need and they will do the rest.
6. Design logo
Work with your web design firm for this. If you don't already have one, or are not completely happy with your current one, do it now before you start the web design process. We have helped many companies with creating their brand and identity. Do not ignore the importance of a good logo. It is the foundation of your entire business.
7. Identify your message
What are the most important things you are trying to say to the world via your web site. Make is simple and easily understandable so users can get it in seconds.
8. Identify keyword phrases for the website
Begin the seo process now, it will play a role in determining site structure and savy web development professionals will use this information in building the page templates.
9. Design homepage layout
Work with the web design firm to get the look and feel you want for your business. Then make sure your message is being delivered clearly. Also make sure the site is easy to use. Web design is not just about graphic design, it is about delivering a message and usability.
10. Design inner page layout
Will be based on the homepage colors and layout but modified to achieve different goals. Feel free to deviate some from the home page but keep important elements consistent.
11 Convert photoshop layouts into html, css pate templates with web-optimized images
12. Develop any backend database and programming
13. Write text using keyword phrases and gather images for inner pages
This is about half the work of a website: getting the content together. Copywriters can dramatically reduce the amount of work that you will have to do. Your web designer can also pull together some stock photography that is available for purchase.
14. Upload your content into your site
If your site is being built on a CMS (content management system) your development firm will need some content to test, but the bulk of the responsibility will be on you. Don't worry if your CMS is well built it will be easy, and you need to get to know the CMS now while it is in development not later when the site is live. If your site is going to be static, you will need to give the content to your developer and they will input it when they build the pages.
15. Test test test
we can't stress this one enough. You think you found all the errors, but look again. You will be happy you did.
This is where all the hard work pays off
17. Continue to add more content to website
After you launch, now it is time to turn your site into a business. Updating content is the single most beneficial thing to search engine rankings, keep it fresh and everyone will notice.
18. Search engine submission and reciprocal link exhchanges
Now your SEO is really working for you.
19. Press Release
Let the world know you are there, and done effectively a good press release can do wonders for your SEO.
20. Bask In The Glow
Its been work, but if you did it right you should have a site you can be proud of, enjoy it!
We hope this guideline can be of help and make the task of building and launching a web site a little smoother. Give us a call if you have any questions and would like us to help you.