Find Web Developers
Find Web Developers

Easy Web Hosting – How Web Designers Always Make Things 10x Harder For Themselves

All too often it can be tempting to get stuck right into a new project or idea that is fresh in your mind. Many will think they have found an easy web hosting solution before their plan is even on the drawing board!

While it can be advantageous to move quickly on a small project controlled by one person, for anything larger in scale, moving too quickly can increase the “downstream” cost of a project considerably, both in terms of time pointlessly wasted and money blown from the budget.

Development projects tend to follow a certain optimum path. Becoming aware of the appropriate steps in a development project and most importantly, taking a big step back to look at things afresh, can greatly reduce the risk of project failure.

This can of course be counter-intuitive to follow in practice, so lets take a quick look at the phases of a web development project…

Brainstorm It: Coming Up With Your Idea
This is often the easy part. You will be driving along, taking a shower, a walk or whatever, while thinking of nothing in particular then BAM! It will strike out of the blue. The brainstorming part is usually where most of the fun lies, where you can get your creative juices flowing and everything is fluid and evolving.

We all need to brainstorm at times, or we experience creative atrophy. Yet at the same time it is a highly charged emotional experience, and emotionally driven projects that are not thoroughly balanced with rational logic, tend to be the ones that “tank” half way through, or turn into never ending projects of doom!

Write It Down On Paper
Sadly, a step that is often missed. A reasonably large project should have a concept phase where you at least scribble down your ideas and some basic wire frame designs of how you envisage your website will look like.

Even better, a written specification document should be projected and stored in a spreadsheet in a location where every team member has access.

Craft Your Unique Selling Position (USP)
This is perhaps THE most important step of all. OK so you have your brilliant idea, but who will benefit from it? How will you convince people to use your creation? Do they even want it?

The last question can be a tough pill to swallow, but unfortunately the fact that you think your creation is the best thing since sliced bread doesn’t cut it in the real world. You should conduct some basic market research to test the size of the market and potential demand for your site. If it looks like there is some potential in the market, then you will need to somehow convince people to use your site instead of your competitors.

If you can think of a viable marketing angle then you have a green light to go further with your project, if not, than you should stop right here. An oh so hard thing to do once the momentum has started I know!

Build It
Ok, so your project has got the go-ahead. You have two basic options: Develop offline or develop online. Unless you already have a hosting plan, it is usually a better choice to develop offline using a web simulation tool such as XAMPP. You don’t have to pay hosting fees until your site is ready this way.

Register A Domain Name
Your domain name should reflect your Unique Selling Position. The internet is competitive so chances are your preferred domain name will be taken. In this case look for a similar alternative such as a domain with dashes in it, or a .net or .info domain.

Find a Web Host
As you can see this is step number 5 in the process, not step number 1! Unless you have special requirements, finding a web host should be easy.

But searching on Google is probably the worst place to find solid information on the best web host, as it’s littered with “top 10 review” sites which are basically run by biased affiliates who are getting paid a large commission.

In practice, any shared hosting plan should be suitable for your needs, especially when your site is fairly new. If your site starts to get a lot of traffic then you can switch to a VPS or dedicated hosting, but usually it takes some time to gain traction in the search engines.

Publish It
Once your website development is completed (or at least in beta), you can publish your site. If you’re developing in XAMPP then all you probably need to do is to transfer your files to your server using FTP and setup any databases your site requires.

Test It
Your site is now live, but it might not be ready for wider exposure yet. Get a few people to visit it and give you their feedback. If you can’t find anyone to help then you can set up some questionnaires and have your visitors send you feedback. Usually it is hard to make people comply unless you give away free stuff, so keep this in mind.

Optimize It
OK so people have now told you how much they love your site, it is time for greater exposure. This is where the real marketing effort starts. You will have to add new content for a while (it helps if it is keyword optimized) and try and get links into your web pages. If you have a budget for pay-per-click (PPC), then paying for traffic is another way of bringing people in.

Monetize It
Making money from your website might not be your goal. You might be a non-profit organization or a social site, but generally most sites of reasonable size are aiming to generate revenue. If for no other reason than to pay their running costs.

You can monetize your website in many ways, the most popular is Google AdSense, which allows you to place ads on your site. You get paid whenever someone clicks on an ad. Affiliate products are another source of revenue, where you direct people to a merchants website and get paid a percentage commission if someone buys a product.

So there you have it. These steps are not always in this order. Every project is unique and the circumstances of a project might not require every step listed here. If your project is a sizable one, then having a clear, preferably written plan at each milestone of the project if far better in the long run than “just diving right in”. The larger the project the more true this is.

Boring? Yes! Tedious? Yes! Easier? You bet! Your project will probably seem more mundane without the long nights of crunch time, the caffeine, adrenalin and stress! Kind of takes the fun out of it really

Comments are closed.