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Personal and Professional Web Development: How and Where to Start

By Janeson Keeley, Website Consultant

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Personal and Professional Web Development: How and Where to Start

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The Business Website

Websites are becoming as common and expected as business cards, fax machines, and e-mail addresses.

If you are going to have a website, it must be an integral part of your business plan, and you must make a long-term commitment to maintaining it.

Keep in mind that the World Wide Web is international. This presents both unique opportunities and potential problems.

The image that your website presents should be consistent with your corporate image.

Websites can perform a number of different functions for your business, including:
  • Advertising
  • Providing information to clients and prospective clients
    • Where your company is located
    • How to contact you
    • How to do business with your company
    • What services your company provides
  • Educating clients and prospective clients
    • Provide free how-tos and helpful hints
    • Become known as an expert in your field
  • Static vs. dynamic content
  • E-commerce
The business website should be subject to cost-benefit analysis, just as any other business expenditure would be.
  • The cost of a website can vary widely. Don't assume that a web presence is necessarily expensive. It may actually be less expensive than a new box of business cards.
  • The benefit of having a website may be intangible or, at best, difficult to measure, especially at first, but there are free tools available for measuring website activity.
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The Personal Website

A personal website provides opportunities for:
  • Contacting others with similar interests
  • Keeping up with family and friends
  • Self-expression
A personal website might be thematic, based on your:
  • Hobbies
  • Church or community organizations
  • Family
  • Self-publishing of art, music, or written work
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The Technical Stuff That Can Drive You Nuts

Will you host your site yourself with a company or personal web server or contract with a web hosting company?
  • Equipment, maintenance, staff
  • Reliability, advertising, banners from the host
Will you purchase your own domain name or have a web address that is a subdirectory of another website?
  • Registration via web hosting company or separately
  • Ability to transfer domain name
  • Registration certificate
  • Domain type: .com, .net, .org, .tv, etc.
Will you design and maintain the website yourself or contract with someone else to do it?
  • Construction via HTML or HTML generator programs
  • Preparation and inclusion of graphics
  • Regular updating
How do you want your website to look?
  • Layout, colors, backgrounds, graphics
  • Sound, streaming sound or video
Other neat things you can do with your website
  • Keep statistics about site visits.
  • Maintain a mailing list and send newsletters.
  • If you have a long URL, you can sign up for a free "fast URL."
  • Keep a guest book.
  • Take polls.
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How Will People Find Your Website?

  • Register with search engines.
  • Register with regional and professional organizations.
  • Register with sites that keep lists of related sites.
  • Exchange links with other, similar sites.
  • Advertise it. Have your URL on all of your company material - stationery, business cards, brochures, etc.
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Your Website Can Hurt You

  • If it loads too slowly, people will become impatient with it - and with your company.
  • If you don't keep it updated, your website will create the impression that your business doesn't stay up to date.
  • If there are spelling and grammar errors, dead links, or under construction icons, it will give your clients the impression that you don't pay attention to details.
  • If your website does not look good on other people's browsers and monitors, they will think that you didn't pay much attention to its construction. Likely, they will not realize that it might have looked perfectly fine to you when you created it.
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© 2001-2017 Janeson T. Keeley. All rights reserved.  
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Janeson T. Keeley, Owner/Website Consultant

Roanoke, Virginia
Phone: 540-366-3222
E-mail: janesonkeeley@gmail.com

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