Technology has been a mystery to most computer users since its inception. Whether you’re a surfer, gamer or occasional user, the intricate workings of your PC belong in a world that many may never enter.
In recent months, businesses in South Africa have taken more time to invest in websites.
There are even some companies that provide you a website for free – for a year, forever, for a limited time whichever offer intrigues you the most. Here are the steps you need to follow to get started.
1. Select a Domain name
You need to select a name for your site. This should preferably be recognisable by your clients, so always think how your company name translates into a website, eg www.mycompanyname.co.za. This name should to be registered in your name, renewable annually.
2. Get Hosting
Now that you have the name, it’s time to HOST! Hosting is available from many companies with varying prices and options. Select a hosting company that provides you with all the tools and services you need now and those you will need in the future. You should make sure of the following factors:
- Type of website – Content Management System (CMS) such as Joomla and WordPress; developed using a programming language like ASP, VB, C#.
- Bandwidth – this is how much traffic a hosting provider allows you to have. Charged per MB/GB(megabyte/gigabyte) in excess of you hosting package;
- Hard Drive Space. Make sure that you are provided enough space for your files, pictures and documents for the next year at the very least.
- Emails – you can have emails for the different departments or people in your company like info@mygreatsite / sales@mygreatsite / marketing@mygreatsite.
- Automatic statistics – Critical to all new businesses, reviewing this information can assist you in updating your site to be more appealing and viewed more often.
This is billed per month, discounts applicable if you pay upfront for a year so look out for that.
This is the fun part. It is time to design your site. Although you can do this yourself, many prefer to hire a designer to help with this. The artwork that you would typically add to your site includes your logo, name, pictures of your products and/or staff. Once you have your images, you can create your look with buttons, images and even animation. Start with a layout on paper or board. Consider the colour scheme you want to use – bright, pastel, neutral.
Test your site content in detail. Every picture and link should work from every page. You should also test the site to make sure of the resolution. In South Africa, the most common screen size being used is 1024×768.
You also need to test your site for different Internet Browsers like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and the like.
You should test for layout and functionality – buttons should work the same way. The best place to do this is to have a ‘test’ site. You can do this on your local computer or on the hosting server before your site is made public.
5. Get visitors
Now that your site is up, the clients will not simply start rolling in. Your site needs to be “noticed” by search engines like Google (most commonly used in South Africa) and Bing (most commonly used in the United States). This is not a simple step. After all, there are many millions of websites in the world and these search engines are not aware of what goes on without being updated to look for your site.
You can do this by submitting your URL to these search engines. This ‘lists’ your site as being new or updated. These search engines will then categorise and add your site to the lists of sites their searches can report on.
Now that you site is up and running. The website journey does not end there. Make sure to include your website on your advertising material and email signature.