is easy to remember (think amazon.com, yahoo.com, ebay.com) or one that contains words that users will search with (pizzeria.com). Simply navigate a computer’s Internet browser to godaddy.com and enter a name to check it’s availability. Chances are, someone already owns the ideal domain and wants to sell it. The godaddy domain search will bring up all available top-level-domains (TLDs: .com, .net, .org, .edu, .co.uk, etc.) for your search, as well as related domains that may be of interest. Godaddy’s sister service, The Domain Name After-Market (tdnam.com), allows anyone to buy or sell registered domains and can be a great resource for domain hunting.
If the site will be used as an e-commerce outlet, critical components must be in place to process transactions safely and efficiently. Accepting major credit cards and electronic checks can be accomplished through a bank authorized merchant account. Compare set-up and processing fees between providers, and watch for hidden charges. Many merchant accounts come with software or a portal for transactions at a secure server. A secure server uses a encryption algorithm to transfer and store confidential data for consumer protection. Secure sites will display “https” rather than “http” in the URI and there is usually a padlock icon at the bottom of the browser. Merchant accounts may also come with a shopping cart system that calculates and totals orders for customers. For additional fees, a fraud detection system can be implemented to avoid penalties associated with merchant account chargebacks.
Publishing your site to the Internet requires a web hosting server. While it is possible to host a site through a local network, the looming threat of hacking, improper connectivity, hardware and software expenses, and technological know-how is best left to professional hosting services, such as godaddy. A shared hosting environment may be great for a journal or family vacation site, but a robust application such as a distance learning platform will perform best on a dedicated server.
After the site goes live, it should be fully evaluated for functionality and ease of use. Testing should be diverse: multiple browsers, settings, and operating systems should be tested, with adjustments made to the code to allow for the minority. The site should have no broken links, maligned elements, code errors, and navigation should be intuitive. The World Wide Web Consortium (w3c.org) provides a free online validation service that will highlight any errors in the code.
Many assume that after creating a website, users will flock. Somewhat on the contrary, promotion needs to take place. Lure visitors to the site, compel them to order your services or read your entries. Regularly review traffic logs (provided by most hosts) to analyze where visitors are going, where they are leaving, keywords used to get to the site, length of stay, etc. Get in contact with related businesses with websites and exchange links. Most search engines rank sites higher that link to, and are conversely linked from, high quality sites. Stay away from search engine submission services and link “farms”, they can negatively impact search engine rankings. Pay per click advertising can also be used effectively to pull in potential customers from other sites. Maintaining a balance of online and off-line marketing techniques is essential.