So you want a website

So you want a web site?
 
A friend said this to me today. 
This made me think that this is something I can explain more about.
Web sites can be used to advertise and make your product more visible, but you need to think things through what you want your web site to do.  Then you can determine which type site would work better for you.  The finally you can contract to build your web site.
 
Do you want to sell your product on your website?  Will your client be consumers or other businesses?  What type of interaction do you want to have with your website?
 
You can setup a shopping cart to sell your product.  You can create content (web speak for the information on your site) that explains why your product is better.  First you need to decide what you want the website to do for you.  You can have a static website with something like your catalog or something more interactive like a blog.  A blog is simply serially posted content, sorted in reverse chronological order.  A blog should be updated often, some daily, but weekly will work as well.
 
You need to come up with a promotion and Search Engine Strategy that will allow people to find your site.
 
Traditional website design has you contract with a web master who sets up your site and makes all changes to the content.  I would rather see web pages using some type of template or content management system.  A basic system is easy to setup and inexpensive, you will probably need to pay someone to get the look and feel you want, but you will not have to pay someone for every little change. 
 
You also need to select a domain name, this is your web trademark so you want something that reflects you company.
 
Most Hosting companies or Internet Service Providers offer a full package.  They allow you to select your domain name, register this for you, the provide a place to place your website.  They will normally backup your site on a nightly basis. It is your site but they provide all the hardware and the Internet connection.  These work well for sites that have low to moderate activity, if you have a a great deal of visitors to your website, or if you have some specific needs you may need to purchase a dedicated server, or some other high availability solution.  At this time you will probably have a staff of people supporting your website.
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