A lot of people come to a web designer and say that they need a website, but they have absolutely no idea what is involved or even specifically what to ask for This is to be expected, but a little knowledge can make things so much easier for you. A few easy steps are listed below that provide a rough outline of what needs to happen to get your new website online.
1. Content - The words and pictures for the site. This should always be the first priority as the only purpose of the website is to make your content available to as many people as possible. If you are composing your own content, ideally you should have this done before you speak to your web developer, or if you are going to have a copywriter put things together for you, you should have a clear idea of what you need to say.
2. Design - Once the message of the site is defined, the design process will start. Typically you will give your designer an idea of what you want so that they can come up with a design concept. Once the first concept is completed, revisions will be made based on your feedback. The more specific you can be with your design brief, the faster this process will go. It is also helpful if you can have examples of websites that you do or don't like the style of.
3. SEO - Search Engine Optimisation needs to be considered while the site is being built. Before work commences, you should decide on what search keywords you want to focus on so that the site can be built accordingly.
4. Domain Name -So that people can visit your website with their internet browser, you need to register a domain name e.g. www.yourcompany.com. Usually your web developer will organise this on your behalf, but you need to decide what the name will be - this can be trickier than you might think as often the name that seems obvious to you is already registered by someone else. Registration is not permanent and will need to be renewed every 12 months or 2 years depending on the terms of your initial registration.
5. Hosting - Hosting is basically renting space on a powerful computer (Web Server) that gives public access to your website files so that visitors can view them. As with domain names, your web developer will usually be able to organise your hosting for you.
6. Promotion - Once your website is completed and uploaded to your host, it needs to be promoted - after all, you could have the best website in the world, but it isn't much use if nobody knows about it. Website promotion can be divided into two categories - Online and Offline. Online promotion consists primarily of search engine optimisation (so people can find you in google etc), external links (where owners of other websites link to yours - this also improves your search engine ranking) and paid online advertising. Offline promotion covers standard, non-internet based marketing techniques such as TV and Radio advertising, flyer's etc.