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How to Create a Business Website for Free

Aug 12, 2008
Businesses often want to create their website themselves and just want some guidance on what to do and of course how to do it as cheaply as possible.

You can do it for free but you will have fewer headaches if you spend a little on getting a decent hosting package (see later).

So this is my recipe for 1 simple basic business website.

All you need is

1 tech person
1 internet connection

I would recommend you should choose a website designer to be that tech person (preferably me!) but whatever you decide here's what needs to be done.

1. Decide what the website is for.

You need a clear idea of what the website is for. "I just want a website" isn't good enough. "I just want a website that lets people find out how to contact us and see what products we sell and find out a bit about the history of the company" is a good start.

2. Decide who your audience are and why they will come to your website.

Don't make the mistake of creating a website for yourself. It's not for you its for your customers. You need to think like them. What do they want and how will they want it presented.

3. Learn some basic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Accessibility facts.

The biggest problem businesses have is that after they put a lot of effort into creating their website, they type "home made cakes" into Google and where do they appear in the list of results? Nowhere! This is a huge subject and I can't tell you what to do in a paragraph.

Accessibility. It is now the law in many countries that you must make your website accessible to all. Like SEO this is also a big subject that can't be explained in a paragraph.

4. Choose a website design template.

Search for an Open Source Web Design site and you will find thousands of free website designs.

Choose an XHTML 1.0 Strict design that uses CSS and download it.

Check the license file or read the text on the webpage. The designer will probably say that you must keep his or her copyright statement intact.

5. Change it to match what is right for your company.

To edit a website you can use the simplest of editors e.g notepad on windows but it is best to use a dedicated website editor.

6. Fill in the content i.e. your words and images.

Type in all your textual content and insert any images

7. Choose a web address.

You are going to need a website address. Think up a good one and check if it is available. Wait until you get your website hosting sorted out as companies often give a free domain name with the hosting.

8. Choose some web hosting.

Choose some web hosting. i.e. somewhere to put your website. You can find free hosting but I wouldn't recommend it. Paid for hosting costs little and is easily worth it.

* Sign up and wait for them to email you the technical details of how you get your site onto their computers. As part of the sign up you can also usually register a domain name. i.e. the web address for your site. Make sure you put the correct name and address details here as it can be tricky to change later. The person you specify will be the legal owner of the domain.

9. Upload your website.

To upload your website you need an FTP program or if you are using a dedicated website editing application the function is likely to be built in and named "Publish" or something similar.

Good Luck.
About the Author
Mike Kay BEng Cert Web Apps (Open) MBCS is a website designer located in Liverpool, UK. Find out more about free business websites at merseyinternet.com.
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