What do I need to make a web site for my business?

These are the must-haves:1. Domain Name – a “dot com” name, such as “YourCompany.com” (or you can use .net, .info, biz, etc. It’s a matter of preference and availability.)2. Web Host – this is a server (computer) that stores and serves up your web files. There are plenty of reputable hosting firms. Fees vary, depending on the needs of your online business.The cost for hosting an upgradeable business web site generally runs $25.00 and up per month. If you expect to expand your web presence and grow an audience, look for a web host that can take care of you for the long term. I recommend finding one that supports advanced programming (this allows for expansion and interactivity with visitors) and even video. Video capability is a good bet, as more web visitors are expecting that immediate visual message. You should also expect regular visitor reports and monitoring of server uptime.Some hosts will even submit your site to the popular search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.) on a regular basis. Discount hosting companies do not provide that extra value.3. Getting Traffic (optional) – online marketing services can distinguish your business from its competition. Well-designed content is most important and will draw attention, but you should also become aware of the various search engine techniques available and how to use them to draw more visitors.4. Web Designer – This may be yourself, or you may choose to hire someone to build your pages. If hiring a designer, ask to see some examples. Most have an online portfolio.Hiring a designer may be money well spent. Well-built web pages will lower costs over the long run, because your pages are easier to upgrade and maintain, and will adapt more easily to new technologies. It’s also helpful to have a”go-to” person when you need upgrades, edits, or general advice.Effective web sites need to display well across the different computer systems of your visitors. Be aware that building web sites with an off-the-shelf software program, or using one of those online “instant” web site generators will greatly limit the design and capabilities of your pages. Additionally, your site may only display for one specific browser. While that’s fine for a hobby or personal site, if your message appears inconsistently (or not at all), you may be missing much of the internet audience.The web is about worldwide accessibility, after all . . .

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