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Building a business website - any pointers?


BrianT

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15 years ago, my local ISP gave me a certain amount of webspace to do whatever I wanted to with. It was pretty simple. I put together a functional (freebie) webpage to tell the public about my business and encourage them to call me for service.

 

That was 15 years ago. Times have changed a little.

 

I remember of hearing names like GoDaddy and Weebly. But when I do an internet search for web hosts, there are names like arvixe, Dreamhost, Bluehost, and a bunch more.

 

Then there are some that suggest that the web hosting company can also get you your domain name and others suggest that you never let the hosting company get your domain name for you.

 

And then there is the actual website. Everybody thinks their templates are the best. Honestly, I don't need anything that fancy. I don't have to compete with 25 other companies in the same territory. There is one other local company, and my business will be localized to within about a 60 or 70 miles radius. I need to put up some fairly basic info about who I am and what I can do for them. I see that some also put up links to things like PayPal where a customer can easily pay their bill through the website. Sounds kinda neat but not sure whether it's really a huge deal.

 

Anyway, I'm kinda overwhelmed with the number of potential web hosts that can "do it all", or think they can, "introductory pricing" that only lasts for x number of months and then the cheepest price becomes the most expensive price, what "features" I really need and don't need, even whether I want a Linux or a Windows platform.

 

I suppose I could just pick one of the biggest web hosting companies and make it work. I was hoping maybe some of you might have some thoughts that might point me in a more pointed direction.

 

Whatcha think?

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I use GoDaddy for my domain. But my website is on Earthlink homepages. I am going to move the hosting to GoDaddy too if I ever get a Round Tuit. You can use the GoDaddy website tonight and use their tools to essentially just cut and paste. No need to learn ftp with it, but you can if you are an html guru.

 

No tips but that. Put your website in your sig block and let me know when it is up.

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Thanks, Derek!

 

Nope, don't know much HTML, at least not enough to do me any good. Used to mess with it a little on a limited basis but have probably forgotten most of it. Used FrontPage for the last little piece of a website I had much to do with but even that was like close to 10 years ago and I only had one little page of a website to play with, nothing to do with the domain.

 

From what I can gather GoDaddy is the biggest. Guess there's a reason for that. :)

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Brian,

If you want to play around with a program to develop your own template(s) and web pages have a look at Kompozer (http://kompozer.net). It is a free program and very user friendly. If you can use MS Word, you can use Konpozer. You do have to FTP your pages to the web host of your choice but that is pretty easy to set up.

 

Lenp

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Brian, couple of thoughts...

 

I have used Hostmonster for five years... good success, about $4 a month for 36 month contract. They are part of Bluehost, hosted in Salt Lake City, supported in SLC. Their 'Control Panel' is excellent I think.

 

Consider using Wordpress. I have wordpress installed on my Hostmonster site... but in your case, you might look at free hosting at wordpress's site, using their software on their site.

 

Good luck with things.

Jim

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Brian,, I strongly suggest that you use Wordpress or one of the other "responsive site" tools, and not construct any site with a tool like Dreamweaver/Expressions/ etc. You want a site that can be used with tablets and phones without you doing a lot of work. Your site is going to be very simple, and not change a whole lot. You want it to be easy to access.

 

About 50% of my traffic on most of my sites is from mobile devices (tablets, phones, etc). You need to accommodate them, and a "regular" website will not.

 

I like wordpress because it is easy to use, has a lot of templates for free, and you can easily buy or transfer a domain with them.

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Thanks, Jack. I hadn't given a whole lot of thought to the mobile / tablet users. Very appropriate in today's world, and totally new from what would have been 15 years ago. Wordpress does look like a good way to go.

 

I appreciate the input!

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I have written websites for over 20 years. My favorite projects were doing small sites for charities, churches and local unions that couldn't afford big bucks but needed just to get information out there. No big money in that but I enjoyed helping. Back then content managed site were just dreams. We traded templates or wrote our own CCS content. Today almost anyone can do a website. If you have time learn the basics of HTML5, you don' have to use it but it will help you understand the basic mechanics to the layout. Also if your browser will support it get one of the add ons that will enable you to look at the source code of the type of site you want to build. You will be amazed at how many ideas you can get this way. Do some research on competitors and your market. Again it will generate ideas and help settle in your mind what you want against what you need. One of my biggest issues with writing sites for others is the "customer" realy wasn't clear on what they wanted. Work your layout out on paper first and make notes. Page to page consistency is a big consideration. Paypal buttons are easy to make and work on almost any site. Preview your site in different browsers. You would be surprised on how IE, Modzilla and iOS display content. I used to have 6 of the major browsers on one of my machines just for that reason while i was editing. Lastly where ever you decide the host and write the site, look for an area where you can test their content management controls out and view your results. Last thing you want is to spend your money and not be able to use their tools.

 

The funny thing is that when my wife wanted her own site for her art she wanted to do it all herself. I found a place that she was at ease with and she does it all herself. The price was reasonable ($9.95/mth.) if you join their affiliate program and that will allow you to sell sites to others. You don't have to (I don't) but the opportunity is there and the savings is good. Go to www.website.ws and look them over.

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