Has the time come for you to construct a proper web site for your small business? Here are some key resources and ideas to make it easier to build.Picture by Ross Catrow
We covered some useful strategies to enhance your online business presence last week, but many of those assumed a site already existed. If you're starting from scratch, here's some ideas to kick you off.
Learning HTML, CSS and more
If you're going to be hands-on in the construction of your web site, then you'll need to understand HTML, CSS and the other key technologies involved in creating web pages. Our recent Lifehacker Night School series will teach you the basics in a series of video lessons and point you to some useful additional resources.
Don't be afraid to outsource
While Lifehacker is a great believer in getting your hands dirty and setting up technology yourself, we're even bigger believers in having a realistic attitude towards what you have the time and inclination to do. If you're already flat-strap managing a growing business, the chances that you'll have time to actually work intensively on a site are minimal. At the very least, you need to defer the task to someone else in your organisation, and it may make sense to use an external provider — an ISP or a hosting company — to do the grunt work. If you're clear about what you want your site to achieve, that shouldn't be a drama.
Come up with a good domain name
Getting a domain name that's short and memorable can be tricky; even in the Australian .au domain space, more than 2 million have been taken. One useful site to help generate domain names is Domai.nr, which will generate a wide variety of options using less-common domains and some creative spelling.
Free resources from Google
Google launched a "free" hosting offer for 50,000 Australian businesses back in March, and as I write this the site is still accepting sign-ups. As with anything "free", it's worth checking the fine print — you'll be up for hosting fees after the first year — but it's one easy way to dip your toes in the virtual water.
Lifehacker 101 is a weekly feature covering fundamental techniques that Lifehacker constantly refers to, explaining them step-by-step. Hey, we were all newbies once, right?