You want a web site? Here is what you will need, and more.

Wondering what’s needed to start your own web site? Thinking that a website will benefit your business? Here are the components of getting a web site on the Internet.

Here is a quick summary.

  1. Define your purpose and target audience
  2. Domain Name
  3. Hosting
  4. Web Site design
    1. images
    2. text
    3. functionality
  5. Key Word Research
  6. Link Building
  7. Internet Marketing
  8. Regular updates and maintenance

Domain Name

The domain name is your unique address (or URL, Unique/Universal Resource Locator) on the Internet super highway. Without a domain name, the average Internet surfer will not find your web site.

The URL for this web site is See the name up in the browser address bar?

Like a car registration, Domain Names are registered and need to be renewed each year, or else they expire, which is not good.

Registering your domain name for as long as makes sense of your situation is recommend. Ten years often.

Please read the article on choosing domain names.

You may also like to read about various uses for a domain name. You can register a new domain name at Privacy Protection, available when registering a domain name, hides your personal contact information, which is otherwise publicly available.


The is the special computer that holds all of the text, images and other assets of your web site. It is connected to the Internet and accepts requests to present your web site to visitors.

These computers are called web servers and generally run on Unix, Linux or Windows operating systems and use Apache or IIS or other web serving software.

The web hosting server may also support databases, content management systems, e-commerce functionality, audio and video content, private client areas that require logins and so on.

After a domain name is configured to “point” to your web server hosting account, there may be a delay of minutes up to 36 hours for the updated information to propagate across the Domain Name Servers (DNS) across the Internet. Only then will the web site be visible.

Web Site

Web sites may appear to be simply comprised of text and images, and those are primary components. However let’s start by reviewing the question of why a web site?

Purpose and Motive – Why a web site?

  1. It’s the thing to do
  2. My competitor has one
  3. My daughter, Uncle, Grandmother told me to
  4. People keep calling to ask for hours and directions
  5. Need an easy way for people to contact us
  6. Show off our latest work
  7. Attract new employees
  8. Parking and driving directions are better in pictures
  9. Want to sell beyond our local area
  10. Preparing to sell the business
  11. Required to meet our future growth forecast
  12. Reduce walk in traffic
  13. Improve customer service
  14. Offer a wider range of products
  15. My business coach told me to

Who is your target audience?

  1. Current clients
  2. Prospective clients
  3. Government
  4. Competitors
  5. Current employees
  6. Prospective employees

Describe the following about your target audience

  1. Geographic range – town, state, national, international
  2. Age group – 10 yr brackets
  3. Gender – two choices
  4. Position in the buying process timeline – research vs. ready to buy now
  5. What other web sites do they visit?
  6. Who are your most profitable clients?
  7. Which clients will take your business in your chosen direction?
  8. What do your clients have in common?
  9. What are their education levels and income ranges?
  10. Are your most frequent customers your best customer?

Conversion definition or What is the desired out-come?

  1. Phone call
  2. Email
  3. Fax
  4. Instant Message
  5. Engage through social media – Facebook Twitter, Linkedin
  6. Download
  7. Sign up for newsletter or other
  8. Drive to your location
  9. Login
  10. Purchase, complete e-commerce transaction
  11. Click on an ad
  12. Complete the Contact or Request form
  13. Attend an event
  14. Listen to a Podcast
  15. Watch a video
  16. Leave a comment
  17. Donate

The information above really drives the remaining decisions.

Additional context questions

  1. Is there an existing logo?
  2. Is there a tag line or slogan?
  3. Is there an existing color palette?
  4. Does the web site need to coordinate with existing collateral?
  5. For how many years will the web site exist?

What pages will contain the information presented on the web site?

  1. Home
  2. About Us
  3. Services
  4. Employment
  5. Testimonials
  6. News and Events
  7. FAQ
  8. Resources
  9. Map / Driving Directions
  10. Contact Us
  11. Privacy Policy
  12. Terms of Service
  13. Site Map
  14. Thank You page, custom 404 page
  15. and many others

What graphics or images will enhance the web site?

Providing three to five web site addresses with a description of the aspects or components that could be applicable to the project can point the designers in the right direction.

The Copy, Content, Body Text, Words, Messaging

A professional writer brings tremendous benefit to every project.

  1. Will interview the business owner
  2. Will maintain the “voice” of the business consistently
  3. Can interview satisfied customers to obtain unique testimonials
  4. Can incorporate completed key word research into the text
  5. Will use a style and format appropriate for the web
  6. Will write copy that is compelling
  7. Will write copy that is free of grammar, spelling or punctuation errors
  8. Let you focus on running your business
  9. A professional writer always saves time
  10. The business owner reviews and approves all text

The Process

Web Design

The designer will assimilate the information provided and produce a “mock up”. This is a graphic image of the new web site design which we will review together. This is the time to make suggestions. Three reviews is the maximum.

Photo Research

Photography can be a vital component of the project. There are a number of options to obtain legal images.

  1. Hire a photographer for all images
  2. Purchase images. or have a vast choice of professional quality images
  3. There are lower budget image web sites but copyright infringement becomes a trickier issue.

Finding the image that comfortably fits with the color scheme and the design can be a very time consuming process. Obtaining approvals from the client can extend this portion of the project.


The copy for each page will be produced and reviewed with the client. We will review body copy, as well as headlines, callouts, testimonial snippets, tag lines, button names and any other text on the page.


Once the design mock up is approved, it goes into production and is converted to HTML or xHTML. At this point the design is set. A possible next step would be to install the web site into a Content Management System. This is software that makes many web site editing tasks very simple to complete by the owner.

Key Word Research

What are the key terms, related to the project, that the public is entering into the search engines? Rarely does the client know all of them. We need to generate a list

These terms have a couple of factors.

  1. Competition – How many other web sites are “competing” for that term?
  2. Relevance – How relevant is that term to the project?
  3. Quality – How often is the term searched for on the Internet?

Terms are selected by balancing these factors.

The selected terms are then incorporated into the pages of the web site. This aligns the active searchers on the Internet with your new web site.

Link Building

Links to your web site are very important for the popularity of your web site in the search engines. There are many ways to build links.

  1. Press Releases
  2. Articles
  3. Gaining listings in directories
  4. Local Search Marketing
    1. Registering with local search web sites
  5. Registering with relevant social media sites
  6. Submit to DMOZ and Yahoo directories
  7. Request links from other web sites
  8. Newsletters and Discussions
  9. Write reviews
  10. Interview other business owner’s that also have a web site
  11. Offer an ebook or something of value free in exchange for a link
  12. The list is endless

We can tailor a program with a one time or monthly link building program, or both.

Additional Marketing and Promotion possibilities

  1. Pay-Per-Click advertising
  2. Print Newsletter
  3. Electronic Newsletter
  4. Social Media Marketing
  5. Brochure design and printing
  6. Video marketing
  7. e-cards
  8. e-books
  9. Corporate Identity packages – logo, stationary and business cards
  10. Blogging
  11. Podcasting
  12. Speaking
  13. and on and on

Updates and Maintenance

The web site needs to be kept up to date. It should be monitored and the information about visitors should be tracked and analyzed.

Please read more about web site statistics and analytics here

I encourage you to leave a comment or question below. Thanks you.

4 thoughts on “You want a web site? Here is what you will need, and more.”

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