Building a Website

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Before the Website...

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So many things come into play when building a website. Forethought to the layout of the sight before actually building is an essential headache saver and usually results in creating a better looking, more organized site that people are more likely to come back and visit.
If you plan on hiring a web designer, going through the following process will help you better communicate to the web designer, what you want them to create for you and can get you a product that you will be happier with.

What is the site going to be about?
Think about why you want a site and what it is going to be about. There are many categories of site from personal to business.
It is very important to know this before beginning because this could affect how you host the site, what the name of the site is, if you will need help building the site, and if you will need to spend money for other things such as an SSL to encrypt information or SEO to promote the site.

Who is the audience?
This is the most important question to answer. What type of visitors are you trying to attract? Understanding this will help determine the entire layout.
For example, if your target audience is senior citizens, you would want the font to be larger and an easy color to read.

What type of image are you trying to convey?
Once you have figured out WHO you are trying to attract, figure out what impression you want them to get when they come to your site.
Should the site be professional or colorful and fun?

What do you want your site to be called?
A domain name needs to be chosen for the website. A domain name is a unique name on the public internet, it is the name of your website. No 2 domain names can be the same.
A domain name should be easy to remember, easy to spell, and have something to do with what is being offered on your site.

Most people remember .com domain names the best, simply because everyone familiar with the internet knows .com, but there are a number of other TLDs.
TLD stands for Top Level Domain and refers to the portion of the domain name after the . such as .com, .net, .org. Having a .com is a definite advantage, but perhaps you have a site about a television show- you might consider .tv even.
See a full list of TLDs here.
Find out if the domain name you want, is already taken here.

Need help finding a website name? Try this tool:
Primary Word: Secondary Word: (optional)
Example: silly Example: string
 Allow hyphens tip: Enter words that describe the domain name you're looking for. Nameboy will generate available domain names based on your keywords.
 Rhyme




A domain name should be easy to remember and easy to type. Consider common spellings when possible and a domain name that is short in length.
Do people visiting your site really want to have type out th1s-is-a-fantas1k-long-website-name.com whenever they want to view the site? For every extra letter and every "uniquely" spelled word in your domain name is the chance for a typo to take place.
Some people will get frustrated, some people won't realize there has been a mistype and assume your site is just down, some people may never get to the site at all because they just didn't know the correct spelling of the domain name.
The point is that a domain name can affect the amount of traffic coming into a website. Remember the old K.I.S.S. Phrase Keep It Simple Stupid. It still holds true for websites and what you name it.

A personal website can really be anything, but if you are building a site you want to draw traffic to, the domain name should reflect what the site is about. Although many websites do a great job of using funky, strange, and unique domain names, it is a safer bet that a domain name which includes the subject topic will help draw more traffic based on domain name alone. Off beat domains, may help make the site memorable, but if you are not starting with a large advertising budget, it might drive visitors away. How many people would have selected to visit this site from the search engine to learn about the internet if it had been called chickenarmy.com? Not quite as many people because howtointernet.net sounds like it would provide better information about the topic of information on the internet than chickenarmy.com.

What should the color scheme be?
While blue and white make a great combination for a professional looking business site- keep in mind that you want a site that isn't going to look like every other cookie-cutter site out there as well.

COLORS. IMAGES. LAYOUT.
These are the first things a person coming to your site is going to see. If these don't capture their attention, they may not even stay long enough to read what your site is offering them. There are over a million color combinations to choose from. Artistic color charts are a great way to determine what colors combine well. Take a look at some of the color systems you might consider using:
Website Layout color schemes
Color Matching Palette

What type of information is going to be displayed on the site?
Just because someone likes the colors on your website, doesn't mean they are going to stick around for very long if the information offered on the site is either not useful or just plain boring. When it comes right down to it, the actual content offered on a website is considered to be more important than anything else.
The information should be relevent and interesting to the audience you are trying to attract. Unless your audience is children or industry specific, the content should be written for about a third grade reading level. This helps ensure that the general public will be able to read and understand what is written on your site.

What should the layout look like?
Unless you are going for the chaos look, the layout of a website should be easy to follow. Someone browsing through your site shouldn't be left wondering how to get back to a page they wanted to further view. Having a clear layout and navigation can help bring repeat visits to your site.
Another thing to keep in mind is that not everybody uses the same internet browser or has the same screen resolution. The simple layouts are less likely to suffer the effects of various browsers and screen settings. The biggest example of this can be seen in the growing trend of online browsing with a cell phone device. A heavy graphic, complex site may not even be accessible with the technology available to some people.
While someone on a cable internet might be able to pull up a web page in fractions of a second, the neighbor across the street on a dial-up modem, (about 13% of users in the US are still on a dial-up modem), might take minutes to pull up the same site, while the college student using a cellphone might not be able to access the site at all because the site can not be converted to fit the small screen format.

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What you need to have before you can start
How to choose what type of hosting you need here
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