What is a website
A Web site is a collection of World Wide Web pages which are files accessed over the internet. For example, Econet Zimbabwe have their own web site and www.econet.co.zw is their web site address. They can put all the information they want on their site including company profile, services offered, news and promotions. People visit this website by typing the address (URL – Uniform resource locator) on the address bar. From the comfort of their homes or anywhere, anytime, clients can still purchase certain services, see updates and ask questions without having to go there physically.
Why do I need one?
- Helps you find new clients
- Inform existing clients on promotions or change of operations
- 24 hours of operation, no down-time
- Provide customer support. They can ask while at home
- Saves marketing costs
- Cheap to maintain
- Opens up new markets
- Helps you to compete with the large companies
- Makes you look professional
- Helps to build trust
What do I need to own a website?
- Buy a domain
- Setup a hosting account
- Hire a web designer
- Test & optimize
- Launch your site
Buy a domain
For you to have a website, you need a website domain. A website domain or host name is the name of the website or URL. It is an identification string that defines your area of authority or control within the public Internet. You can purchase your domain from companies like wehost. Since I am an affiliate, you can get a discount of 10%. Zimbabwean domains cost $7.00 while .com .net .org start from $18.95 for a year.
Setting up a hosting account
A web host is a company that has physical storage facilities and computers to house your website for people to access over the internet. Placing your website on their servers means everyone in the world can now visit. Web hosting costs $2.95 a month for a basic web site (which is probably the lowest in Zimbabwe, up to thousands of dollars depending on the size of information to be stored). Normally all domain-selling companies also provide secure hosting services. However, check if the site of the hosting company is secure before making online payments. If so, their address should have an https instead of http. You guessed right, the “s” is for secure. As for wehost (the company most companies host with in Zimbabwe), they provide SSL certificates for a small amount to their clients as well so that your web site is also secure.
Hire a web designer
Once your domain name is ready and you have finished setting up your hosting account (which you can do online using ecocash, paypal etc), you need to design your website one page at a time. You can hire a designer at kinda unique or do it yourself using content management systems (CMS), which enables you to build web sites and powerful online applications with little or no code experience. There are various tutorials on the internet to help you until you finish. You can also hire a tutor to teach you how to design your site using WordPress for just a $100 and make countless sites on your own.
For a commercial or online store, you will need much more than just designing wisdom. There is programming knowledge needed to set up credit cards payment. Hire a professional.
Test & optimize
Test each and every link to ensure that there are no dead links.
Have your site optimized for search engines like google. This is making your website rank better in google searches. The process includes submitting the website to google, editing the code and providing quality content to users. Its however a continuous process whereby blogs should also contain the key words related to your website. Link building is another important factor. Remember when you clicked a link and ended up on another page or website? Links do matter to google when ranking sites as they show how often to you are referred to.
Launch your site
The first impression matters most. Because of that, when working on a site, designers and developers usually block the public from accessing the website and seeing it in its ugly form. But after everything is up to standard, let the business begin. Launch your site, create Facebook pages, google+ accounts etc for marketing purposes and SEO. Continue blogging and updating your website regularly.