Web design: A guide to website development
In recent times the website has come to be an essential shop window for at least most, if not all, businesses. Running a business without a website could be considered the equivalent of running a business without a telephone twenty years ago: if not unthinkable, at least unwise.
Lacking web presence needn’t be considered fatal; some businesses may still have little or no need for a website, but with the Net ever-increasing in importance, having some sort of online representation can at least add another dimension to your corporate identity. A website can act as your always-accessible brochure to the world. This is a quick guide to web design, from building websites and what they cost to setting one up yourself.
The website idea
First up, you need to plan your site. Think about what you really need. If you are creating an information portal on a band, fashion label, or work of a freelance photographer, it’s possible that something along the lines of a blog or MySpace page might work. Most importantly, these are free and easy to set up. On the other hand, your choice may depend on whether you’re setting up a website for your business, or a website as a business in itself. If you don’t like the idea of not having an independent website, and need such a tool to sufficiently promote your content, you will either need to build a specific website or outsource the work to a web designer.
Outsourcing your website
Outsourcing web design doesn’t have to just be for the design itself, it’s possible to get the whole package. If you need someone to design your site for you, there are some things that you should consider before hiring them. Look around at a few different designers’ websites. Prices vary and can include very different things; some designers will simply design a site and deliver it to you, others will include web hosting (somewhere to “house” the site online, and even business stationery and logo design). Some designers may also include ongoing support, for problems or required changes. You need to ask how many pages are included in the price and whether you will be the owner of the finished design. Finally, you don’t want a site that no one visits, so check if the pages will be submitted to the main search engines (Google, Yahoo!), as well as what keywords are being optimised (searchable phrases or words that can be found by search engines). Try to consider what your potential client base will be searching for, in terms of words, and try to ensure that your site is rich with this content.
With regards to hosting, whilst it may be tempting to choose a cheap provider, some hosts may offer extra features like e-mail addresses and databases. A good provider should make a website quick and affordable to update at any point in the future. A good tip, especially if you’re new to web design, is to go for a basic option but check that it’s easily upgradeable. It’s also a lot easier to get website hosting with the same company that provides your company website address, or “domain name”.
Buying a domain name doesn’t mean that you are buying a website, only the address (or “Uniform Resource Locator” - “URL”), where people can find your website on the Internet. Having your own web address adds credibility to any promotional website, not simply a business site. Many people choose not to have a unique domain name as it saves money, but in actual fact you can purchase one from around AU$20 per year.
Building your own website
If you know a little about computers, it’s certainly possible to build your own website. There is a great deal of free help available online, with tools like the Trellian WebPage editor being a great starting point. These days there are many online website building tools, although they are usually not available for free websites. The alternative is to use a good web page editor, such as Microsoft Front Page or Macromedia Dreamweaver.
Free Website Hosting
There are a number of free hosts on the web, and a simple web search should uncover a few options. However, if you have a domain name already, some free hosts require you to transfer this to them, which might end up being expensive and time-consuming.
It is possible to get a free website domain name, free hosting, free building tools and even free promotion, but beware of false economy: the quality of service and time spent setting it up may not be justified against the profession quality of a cheaper package from a web designer. As with web-based e-mail, free webdesign tools may suit the personal user more than the modern business.
You can shortlist broadband plans here & email them later.
No products currently shortlisted.