8web Internet Solutions LLC






If you are a business owner and do not currently have a Web site, sooner or later you will be asking yourself some (if not all) of these questions: 
  • Does my business need a Web site--or not?

  • Should I build the site myself--or get professional help?

  • Where should I host my Web site?

  • Should I maintain the site myself--or get professional help?

<> If your answer to the first question is, "No!"--then you may not need to read any further. On the other hand, you may want to finish reading the 8web Site Planner so you'll be armed with the information when the day arrives that your business does need a Web presence. And that day will come.
<> If your answers to the second, third and fourth questions are, "I don't know" or "Yes!" then read on to gather more information that will help you learn how to build, host and maintain your business Web site.
<> Building, hosting and maintaining a quality Web site can be time-consuming, costly and frustrating. If you're already running your own business you may not have the time required to perform all the necessary tasks yourself. Or perhaps you can perform some but not all of the tasks. The good news is that regardless what level of support you are able to provide yourself--all, some or none--there is help available to you. Professional Web builders are available to assist you with any Webs site task you may encounter.
<> The 8web Site Planner is intended to guide you through what is often termed 'the technology jungle'--to educate and help you make the right choices for your individual Web site needs. You may be able to save time, money and frustration by performing some or all of the Web site tasks yourself. Read through the planning steps below to help you decide how best to meet your Web site requirements.


STEP 1.  Early Considerations:  Plan Before You Build
<> To make your Web building tasks easier, you should have the following items, or at least have access to them:
   1) a reasonably new computer with, as a minimum, these capabilities:
     a) Processor: a Pentium III 500Mhz, or equivalent
     b) Memory: 512MB RAM or more
     c) Hard Drive Storage: 80GB or more
   2) an Internet Service Provider (ISP) connection to the Internet with either:
     a) (Minimum) a
56K dial-up
modem like MSN, AOL, Earthlink, others
     b) (Recommended) a high-speed cable or DSL modem like Comcast, Road Runner, Verizon, others)
   3) a Web browser (version 6 or later of Internet Explorer, Foxfire,
Netscape, others)
   4) an active e-mail account set up on a server other than the server hosting your Web site (e.g., yourname@yahoo.com).
<> Next, consider which type of Web site you want: business, professional, personal, event, etc. The answer here will be helpful next in designing the right 'look and feel' for your site.
<> Next, get a piece of paper and a pencil, and plan your Web site.  Here are some general steps:
  • Write your Web site’ mission statement:

  • Identify and evaluate your Web site’ intended audience:

  • Brainstorm (with others, if possible) for content:

  • Interview others interested in your Web site:

  • Design (overall layout, colors, graphics, features) with visitors’ needs in mind:

  • Formulate your Web site’ folder hierarchy (sketch diagram):

Regarding your sketch, it's helpful to think of a Web site in hierarchical terms, i.e., like an organization chart. With your home page at the top, next draw the three or four (but probably no more than six or seven) main categories within your site. For example, an About Us page, an Our Products page, a Contact Us page, etc. Think through the organization of your Web site and put it down on paper.

<> Next, if you are planning to maintain the site yourself, consider obtaining a Web page editor (also called HTML editors) to transfer your ideas into Web format. Examples include, a basic Web editor like Notepad (found in MS Word or Office 97/2000/XP), or more advanced Web editing tools like Microsoft FrontPage, Macromedia Dream weaver, or others. You generally don't have to know HTML (the software coding used in Web sites) to build basic Web sites using the advanced editors.
<> Next, consider whether you prefer to have a 'template' or a 'custom' Web site? Most HTML editors come with ready-to-use Web templates to save time in site creation. Unfortunately, most of the popular templates are just that--popular--and you will see them all over the Internet. If you want your business Web site to have a unique, professional look to it, you will probably want to have your site customized to the needs of your business.
<> Next, consider whether you want to own your own Web site domain name (e.g., www.8web.com), or will you 'piggy-back' off of an existing service provider like Earthlink, AOL, Yahoo or others and have a domain name that is included within the name of a larger company i.e., www.yahoo.com/yourbusinessname. The answer to this normally depends on how important it is for your business to have a unique name.
<> Finally, if the demands of running your own business, or taking care of other life's priorities, keep you from doing any or all of the above yourself, you may want to consider hiring a Web design professional who specializes in this line of work to help you.


STEP 2.  Designing and Building Your Web Site. 
<> Begin by using a Web editing tool, e.g., like MS FrontPage 2002. Start simple. We recommend you begin by building a simple home page with 2-3 other pages. Select and follow a Web design style guide. (Note: for detailed instructions on how to use your Web editing tool you must see the manual that comes with the editor.)
<> In the Web editing tool, start by entering the text and graphics from your rough Web Site sketch (see Step 1).
<> Use any of the many online Web Site resources available to help you with ideas like: FrontPage Fanzine, MS Developer Network, builder, and many others.
<> If you have the time available to do so, and your site does not have to look 'perfect' the first day it is published for the world to see, you may consider building the site yourself. On the other hand, if you don't have the time available to build the site your self--and you do want your site to look as professional as possible--you may want to consider hiring a professional Web builder to help you.


STEP 3.  Add Additional Web Site Features.
<> There are many types of additional features that may be added to your site. You should decide whether the feature is something you can add to the site your self or will you need assistance doing it? Some of the many features, or Web site add-ons you may consider:
  • Graphics: static and/or animated

  • Forms: for collecting information from your customers and visitors

  • Registration with search engines/directories: 100's of engines

  • Others: email, images, pictures, audio, video, database, interactive, e-commerce 

<> If the features your site requires are beyond your capabilities to create right now (e.g., special logos, graphics) consider hiring a professional Web builder to design and create them for you. 


  STEP 4.  Naming Your Web Site.
<> Until recently, all new Web site Domain Names (DN) were only registered at one place--a company named Network Solutions. Recent industry changes now permit a number of other companies to sell DN services to customers. Unfortunately, many of the companies now providing DN registration services cannot match the overall service provided by Network Solutions. This becomes increasingly obvious when you have to transfer your DN to another registrar. (And this will happen at some point!) As soon as you have an idea which DN you wish to register, we highly recommend that you register it with Network Solutions.
<> Before you go to the Network Solutions Web site to purchase your desired DN, you should consider at least three choices for your Web Site name. Write them down on paper first. Regrettably, you may find many of your desired DNs are already taken. But with a little ingenuity--or, 'word-smithing'--you will most likely find a suitable DN to represent your business. Also, consider which of the many available DN extensions you want to use: .com, .org, .tv, .net, others.
<> Once you are ready to register your DN, go to the Network Solutions Web site (www.networksolutions.net) and follow the instructions provided--the cost is $70 to register your DN for two years. If you wish to register your DN for longer periods, price breaks are available. Network Solutions will invoice you directly within 30 days. You have now reserved your unique DN--no one else can use that DN. Network Solutions will 'park' your DN on their servers until you decide you are ready to build your Web site.


STEP 5.  Hosting Your Web Site.
You have several choices here, too--where do you want to host your Web Site:
<> On your own computer/server? Remember, viewers can only view your site over the connection your server uses to connect to the Internet. So, if you host your Web site on your home or office server, viewers attempting to see your site may be limited by the speed of that connection.
<> With an Internet Service Provider (ISP) e.g., Comcast, Verizon, AOL .. others?  Remember, if you don't mind having a piggy-backed domain name--i.e., www.erols.com/yourbusiness--you might consider this approach.
<> With a Web Presence Provider (WPP) e.g., Interland.com, ViaNetWorks.net, Verio, and many others?  Remember, you'll get the fullest range of services by hosting with a WPP but it will cost a little more.
<> A quick hosting alternatives comparison:
  • on Your server: lower cost, your own domain name, slowest response to Internet, you're the system administrator (SA)

  • with an ISP: lower cost, 'piggy-backed' domain name, faster response to Internet, they're the SA

  • with a WPP: medium cost, your own domain name, fastest response to the Internet, they're the SA 


STEP 6.  Maintain Your Web Site.
<> Your have at least three choices here. With your Web Site up and running now, someone will have to post changes, updates, create new pages, etc.  You can:    
  • Do it yourself

  • Pay someone else to do it

  • Combination of above two

<> Web sites are like children--they grow and grow and always have needs!  As time passes, your Web site will have to be updated in some way: changes to time-sensitive information (sales, prices, etc) or simple to add new information onto existing pages. If you know you'll be busy running your business, and you expect reasonable changes to the site over time, it may be cost-effective to hire a professional to provide you with content management support......


Summary The following table is intended to be a guide only.
Step 1. Considerations 1 to 10 Hours N/A
Step 2. Build Basic Site 4 Hours to 1 Week $0 to $2000
Step 3. Advanced Features 4 Hours to 1 Week $0 to $20,000
Step 4. Domain Registration 1 Hour $35/Year ($70; min 2 yrs req'd)
Step 5. Site Hosting 1 to 4 Hours $6-$250/Month (plus install fees $0-$250)
Step 6. Site Maintenance:      


4 to 16 Hours/Month $0-$250/Month

Content Mgmt

4 to 16 Hours/Month $0-$250/Month

15 to 70 Hours

$35-$435/Month (Plus Step 2/3 fees up to $5500)
Table Notes:
1 Estimated time it could take you--if you are a willing and knowledgeable person--to perform the individual steps involved in building a Web site.  Actual times will vary according to pre-existing Web site development skill level, experience, training, available time, and other intangible factors.
2 Based on 8web samplings of Web site design and install businesses in Dec 2006. Depending on geographical area, quality of work, type of Web site, and other imprecise factors, you can reasonably expect to pay somewhere within the cost ranges shown for the particular service. This estimate does not include the cost of your time.
And Finally! That’s it--now you have some idea of what's involved in setting up a Web site! Building, hosting and maintaining a Web site can be a lot of work. You can choose to perform some of the steps yourself and reduce costs. Whether you choose to build the Web site yourself or hire out some, or all, of the site building steps to a professional firm depends on many circumstances. Building a Web site is a creative process and can be a very satisfying experience. You are well advised to consider building the Web site yourself if at all possible. Use the 8web Site Planner to help you decide how you want to proceed. If you have any questions about the 8web Site Planner, or if you think we can be of assistance to you with any of the site building steps, please contact us. Good luck with your Web site!