Choosing and Buying your Domain Name
To be the master of your domain, your first have to give it a name.
This is simple – if your company name is Passionate Pigfeet, you’d likely choose www.passionatepigfeet.com. But there could be a snag.
However unlikely, someone might already own the domain name www.passionatepigfeet.com. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a Web site by that name; some people buy up endless variations on domain names hoping to cash in later when somebody wants to use one of them.
But your domain provider’s Web site will have a simple method to check almost instantly. Web hosts – those with the computing power to “host” your site and all its inner working on the Web – commonly offer domain names as part of their basic package.
To find one that meets your needs and budget, search online for “domain hosts.” Or start with one of these:
Text, Images and other Graphic Elements
You might as well get going now on writing copy – the text – for your Web site, and how you intend to use images.
If your writing skills are sharp, follow your diagram of Web pages and decide what you want to say on each. This is a rough draft, so don’t sweat over it too long.
Writing effective Web copy is a special skill, and you need to edit and rewrite your draft along some specific guidelines. The broader ones:
- Don’t make your Web site look or read like an ad. You may be planning to attract and sell online space to advertisers, and you’ll confuse visitors if your content looks like ad material.
- If you refer to your company as “we” in your copy, be sure to address your customer as “you.” Engage them in this personal experience.
- Keep it simple and kill jargon. The point here isn’t to show your mastery of insiders’ language, but to make your customers feel welcome, at home and included.
- Write like you’re talking face-to-face, using contractions if it sounds natural. Don’t write: “If you happen to encounter anything that raises questions, we are prepared to address them.” Do write: “Questions? We’re here to answer them.”
As a start, look to these resources for more detailed guidance:
You’re not done until you spell-check your copy, then print it out and proofread, proofread again, and do it a few more times. Bad grammar, misspellings – especially proper names – and other basic errors will make you look like an amateur, not the world-beating pro you really are.
Invite others to read over your text and point out errors, or hire a freelance copy editor. You’ll find them all over the Web, but check their references. It won’t cost much and will be money well spent.
If you don’t think you can handle the copywriting yourself, you’re probably right. Hire a professional with Web experience. There are thousands of freelance writers online offering to do the job at wide range of prices.
Graphics Content: Your only task now is to decide what photos, charts and graphs, illustrations and other visuals you need to help tell your message and show who you are.
Note what they are on each of your Web page diagrams, but not necessarily where they’ll go. We’ll get to that later. And keep these rules in mind:
- Use only as many images or other graphics as you need to bolster your text and make your pages attractive. Here, as in nearly anything on the Web, less is more. Don’t visually assault your visitors.
- Good pictures can speak a thousand words. If a photo or other image will save a lot of explaining, use it instead of text.
- If your purpose is just to put candid snapshots on the Web, your visitors will understand why they’re not slick, crisp and professionally done. For everything else, be sure your photos and graphics are all three.