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Building a Web Site: Introduction

Want a web site, but don't know where to start? This series of articles is designed to give you an overview so that you know what you're getting into, and also points you to helpful tools and resources to help you get your web site up.

In general, this is what you'll need if you're trying to get up a simple web site:

  • A domain name - for example, our domain name is ""
  • A place to host your web site
  • A program to edit your web site (FrontPage, Dreamweaver... or NotePad!)
  • A program to edit images for your web site
  • A web template is a good and inexpensive starting point
  • If you want ecommerce and don't have thousands of dollars to spend on it, we recommend PayPal's shopping cart/button system - easy and cheap!

But before you even get to these things, you need to do some research and thinking.

  1. What's the purpose of your web site? To sell? To provide information about your services? To persuade people to call you? If you can narrow down what you want your viewers to do when they're at your site, you can save yourself a lot of time by focusing your web site content.
  2. Who is your audience going to be? If you already have marketing materials, you've probably already thought about this. For example, do you have a specific audience such as African-American women? If so, this will help you to choose relevant imagery.
  3. What kind of technology is your audience using? Are most of them going to have high-speed internet access? If not, you may want to stay away from large image files or large animation files such as Flash movies.

The answers to these questions will help you to stay focused as you build your web site.

The following articles will cover:

  1. rough cost estimates
  2. choose your tools (editor, image editor)
  3. choose your template
  4. choose and register your domain name
  5. choose a hosting provider
  6. add your content and images
  7. bells and whistles
  8. ecommerce
  9. publishing your site
  10. testing your web site
  11. marketing your web site
  12. improving your skills
  13. give up? hire someone.

We are a template company, so scattered throughout this series of articles will be shameless plugs for our web site and products. HOWEVER, we have tried to be truly unbiased in each article so that you get a "real" sense of what it's going to take to get your web site up. This article series is meant to be practical and helpful, so you'll find limited, not exhaustive, lists of links to third-party resources, most of which we've actually used! However, we can't be held responsible if the link is broken or if a service doesn't work out for you (although we appreciate it when people tell us that a link is broken).

Next: Rough Cost Estimates

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