Guide to Internet Business - Website Setup

After planning the design and content of your website, it's time to actually physically set up your website. This is the step where you put all your designs and plans into action, creating a website that will attract visitors and earn income.

a) WEBHOSTING

A webhost is a company that stores the pages and pictures and other files of your website. When a person visits your website, they will request these files from your webhost's server so they can view the website. When choosing a webhost, be careful to choose one that is reliable. After all, if your webhost has problems for any reason, people won't be able to visit your website, and you won't be earning any money.

In addition, different webhosts have varying services and tools that they offer. Some of the more important points to consider when choosing a webhost are as follows:

* SPACE AND BANDWIDTH - Space refers to how much file storage space is available for your website. For a standard website with about 20 pages with graphics, 30MB is plenty. Online stores might require more space depending on how many products and pictures you have. Bandwidth refers to how many files can be downloaded and viewed by visitors per month. A normal website with reasonable traffic (200 visitors a day) will need about 2GB bandwidth. Again, if you own a business with lots of products and webpages, you might need more bandwidth.

* DOMAINS AND SUBDOMAINS - Usually, webhosting accounts are charged per domain, with $10 per domain being a reasonable price. However, you can buy larger hosting packages that allow you to host multiple domains and websites on the same account. Subdomains are just different sections of your website's domain, with 5 subdomains the rough standard. You will need to make sure how many domains your account entitles you for, in order to calculate which is the better webhosting package.

* EMAILS AND AUTORESPONDERS - Emails are the various email addresses that visitors can write to you. Most websites will use about 2 or 3 emails (maybe a webmaster email and a support email). Autoresponders are email addresses that will reply someone with an automatic email. You will only need autoresponders if you are on vacation and wish to leave an automated reply in case anybody emails you.

* SCRIPTS - If you want to add extra functionality (such as forums or polls), you will need to be able to run scripts. Make sure your webhost allows you to run scripts for your website. The more common scripts are Java, PHP, Perl and CGI.

There are a number of companies out there that offer free webhosting, but they usually have severe limitations, and might place their own ads on your website. If you are serious in building your internet business, it is recommended to sign up for a proper webhosting service. We recommend HostGator, which provides different levels of webhosting depending on your requirements and budget, with various useful tools as well. In any case, you shouldn't be paying more than $10 a month per domain for basic webhosting services.

b) PROGRAMMING

Some people with sufficient HTML knowledge use word processing programs to directly code the HTML for their websites. For the rest of us who don't have such skill, we recommend one of the popular graphical programs like Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage. These programs allow you to create your webpages with mouse clicks with little need for knowledge in HTML.

If you want to make your website look like another website, you can "copy" their HTML and modify it to fit your website. In Internet Explorer, click the "View" menu, then click the "Source" option. This will show you the HTML code for the website. You will need some HTML knowledge to make sense of this and use it on your website.

If you need more information and examples on the many things that HTML can do, you can visit the online tutorial at W3Schools.

c) FILE ORGANIZATION AND TRANSFER

Once you have your webhosting set up and your webpages completed, you need to transfer the completed pages to your webhosting server. If you are using a graphical program like Dreamweaver to work on your webpages, you can configure Dreamweaver to transfer the files for you.

If you are doing it manually, you need to transfer the files via FTP. Your webhost will provide you with an FTP server, with a user id and password for you to access your account on the webhost. Once you connect to the account via FTP, you will be able to upload (transfer files from your computer to the server) or download (transfer files from the server to your computer) or modify files as required.

You can FTP to the server using your computer's Windows Explorer, by entering the FTP server's address in your explorer's Address Toolbar. Or you can use specialized FTP programs such as AceFTP.

d) ADDITIONAL SCRIPTS

If you want to add extra functionality to your website, such as polls, newsletter subscription forms and other interactive programs, you will need to install scripts onto your website.

If you are looking for scripts to create a newsletter mailing list, do note that some webhosting services also provide mailing list scripts. If your webhost doesn't provide it, BigNoseBird has a good email list management software.

For other scripts and functionality, you can check out the popular scripts at websites such as BigNoseBird and HotScripts.

Steven is the webmaster of http://www.onlinebiz-help.com. His website contains various resources on affiliate programs and internet marketing advice to help you succeed in your internet business, including a Step-By-Step Guide to get you started.

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