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Tips For Building Your First Website

By Benny Tsabba

Selecting a Webhosting Provider  
 
Many begin their journey on a free website. There are actually many companies that offer these "free websites." Here are a few examples:  
 
 
All of the companies who offer free websites do so in order to have new pages in their inventory where they can sell advertising to other companies. As you may correctly surmise from this, their "free" really isn`t "free."
  
These same companies also offer low-cost hosting options that you can utilize at some point in the future to enable you to keep your website address and without having to run advertising for other companies on your website.
  
If You Are Going To Buy Web Hosting...
  
The prices offered by these free web hosting companies make it really easy for a person to take the plunge and buy webhosting from them. Freeservers for example offers monthly plans at $3.95 and $7.95 per month, depending on the functionality that you want
with your website.  
 
The downside to these low-cost hosting plans is that your website will still reside on a domain that is branded by your webhost. When your visitors look at the url of your website, they will know right away that you are using one of the "free webhosting"
companies for your website.
  
If you have created a business oriented website, then the "free web hosting" company`s subdomain option is really a bad deal for you. "Trust" is an important plateau that you must be able to cross with your potential customers, if you are to be successful. If your business website is being hosted on a "free domain," then your potential customers will take you less seriously... And with a lot less trust.
  
People are always concerned about where and with whom they spend money online. If you have your business sitting on a free webhost, then you are advertising to your potential customers that you are not making enough money to support your own
domain... which is really inexpensive in the grand scheme of things.
 
The Costs of Domain Ownership
  
The costs of owning and operating your own domain is dirt cheap when compared to the early days of the internet. These days, you can buy the ownership of a domain name for anywhere from $5 to $40 per year. Shop around, but always read the fine print.  
 
The costs of hosting your new domain property is also relatively inexpensive, ranging from $10 to $40 per month, depending on the company where you buy hosting and the features you would need with your website. 

At the base end, depending on your product offerings and level of interactivity you would like to have with your visitors, you would want to at least make sure your webhost allows you to have CGI (Common Gateway Interface) and/or PHP capabilities. Although
you may never learn how to create websites or areas of your website using these technologies, the first time you buy a tool from a third-party provider, you will generally need this kind of functionality.
  
Introduction to Hosted Scripting Solutions
  
Making sure that you have CGI or PHP capability on your site is important, but even if you decide against it, you will often be able to find companies that offer "hosted solutions" through their servers, For many people, this is an awesome solution in
itself. Hosted solutions ensure that you don`t have to install
and operate the software, to get the kinds of functionality that
you want on your own website.
  
The best example of a hosted solution is http://www.paypal.com
  
Prior to the creation of Paypal and other similar solutions, in order for a webmaster to have a payment processing capability on their website, the webmasster had to jump through many very expensive hoops to get the job done.
  
In those early days, a webmaster very literally had to get a merchant account. And most people had to go through their bank to get their merchant account. The problem in those early days is that bank`s were slow to cash in on the internet revolution. Few
banks were willing to give a merchant account to any company that only served online customers. And when they did, boy was it expensive.
  
Even when people purchased merchant account services from people who catered to the online businessperson, it was not uncommon for a business to have to drop a thousand dollars or more upfront in order to get a merchant account established.
 
Then came the fact that merchant accounts require a "secure server," utilizing the https:// prefix in the URL. Getting your web server secured was a whole new challenge. You pretty much had to be utilizing a "dedicated server" in order to set up a secure server. "Dedicated" means that only you are renting space on that server, and that is a very expensive proposition in most cases. Then, you had to buy a "digital certificate" or a
"SSL certificate" to ensure the security of your server. And finally, you had to hire a programmer to install that certificate on your server and to set up your "secured server."
 
It could literally have cost you thousands of dollars just to get the capability to accept payments online.  
 
There were other third-party hosting solutions that allowed you to take payments online before Paypal, but they generally required a big upfront payment, and a monthly fee to maintain your access to the system.
  
Paypal was actually the very first to offer a third-party solution, where you did not have to pay any money to them, unless you ran a transaction through their system. And then the
percentage of the sale that they took on the transaction was still much lower than that of the competition.
  
Paypal was the salvation for many small online businesses. Paypal finally gave small businesses the opportunity to sell their products and services online, without requiring the small business owner to turn over much of their limited startup capital
to the payment processing companies.  
 
If you did not understand before, now you do understand how Paypal quickly became the most widely used online payment system on the internet in a relatively short amount of time.
  
Creating Your Actual Web Pages
  
As with everything else on the internet, it just keeps getting easier for the average joe to get started. Most web hosting companies have tools in their account management area that helps you to build the HTML coding for your site. It is as simple as typing what you want to say, then highlighting the text and applying font formatting code to it by clicking a button. The HTML manager actually converts your visual copy of your website
directly into properly formatted HTML code for you. 
 
It is so easy, even a person logging onto the internet for the very first time could build their first website in the same evening they unboxed their first computer.
  
Interactivity Is Important To Your Business and Your Visitors  
 
The one thing that will make or break the success of your website is the "forms" that you add to your website.  
 
* If you have ever visited a website and they asked you to type in your email address so that they could send you email, then you have used a form.
 
* If you have visited Yahoo.com and registered for membership with their site, then you have used a form. If you went back to Yahoo and logged into their website, then you have used a form.
 
In a nutshell, any page that asks you to input information into the page is a "form." A form allows you to give your visitors a way to communicate with you. A form allows your visitors to sign-in and participate in member`s only activities on your website. A form allows you visitors to actually purchase your goods and services from you.
  
For any website that has been created for the express purpose of making a profit, the website form is an essential element of the design.
  
Although most web hosting companies offer a HTML tool to help you build your own website, those tools are pretty much worthless to you when it comes time to build a form.
  
You have a few options for getting around this limitation with the HTML design tools.
 
 * You will need to learn enough HTML to build your own forms.  
 
 * You will need to buy and install a form building script on your website, utilizing either CGI or PHP as the source foundation for the script.
  
 * Or, you can use a third-party hosting solution to operate those scripts for you.
  
There really are no wrong answers or wrong choices. Each person will need to answer for themselves what the best option will be in their own case. But, if you do decide that the best solution in your case is the simplest of options, then third-party hosting
solutions should be at the top of your own list.  

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Benny Tsabba started http://www.formlogix.com in May 2005. In Benny`s world compromise simply does not exist. After creating his first form, he realized that other people might be challenged to build forms for their website. He decided to create a new
third-party solution for building web forms with a database backend. FormLogix has made the process of creating forms and databases so easy that one could create their own web forms the same day they build their first webpage. And it is
completely free of charge. To get started right now: http://www.formlogix.com/Registration.aspx




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