Starting Your First Web Project, Part 2



You will learn by example in this lesson Starting Your First Web Project, Part 2 the issues involved in preparing materials for a Website, finding a design and hosting company, and registering your domain name.


Since we last visited our hypothetical friend, John, he has been busy collecting and typing up his family recipes. For some of his recipes, he has begun preparing the dishes and taking pictures of the process with his digital camera. Going a step further, he has used the video camera (which he purchased to take family pictures a few years back) to video the major steps in preparing some of the dishes. He has decided to start talking to some Web design and hosting companies while he finishes up this process.


After browsing on the Web for Top Web Design Companies and calling around to a variety of companies both large and small, John has received a wide range of quotes for both design and hosting of his site. His estimates for design have ranged from $800 to several thousand dollars. Hosting quotes ranged from free to more than $80 a month. He has decided that free hosting will not be effective because visitors will be distracted from his site with the popup ads that come with most free hosting services. Plus, he just doesn’t feel that a free site will have the serious and professional feel that he wants his site to have. However, he has found one small design and hosting company that he likes and with which he feels comfortable. They have quoted him $1,500 for the design (including the video processing) and $35 a month for hosting the site. He has viewed several samples of their work and it is all very professional.

While he is comfortable with the hosting fee, John has decided that he really does not want to invest the $1,500 design fee at this time. Working only part-time, he would rather take a shot at learning a little HTML and designing his own site to begin with. Perhaps later, if the site is successful, it would be worth the investment for the professional design. He realizes, though, that he will need some professional help streaming his video from the site. He contacts the company again and they give him a quote of $400 to edit and convert the videos he will make. John decides this is a good compromise and sets out to learn some basic HTML.


John goes to the Buildabizonline and notices the link at the top of the page to the Training Videos. Going there, he finds some links to basic HTML tutorials and training on the Web. Being an Pro Plus Member subscriber, he finds even better information at under Buildabizonline Training. To round it out, he searches on the Yahoo! and Google search engines for “HTML help” and “HTML tutorials.” John now has more than enough materials to learn how to design his own site. He sets his-self a study schedule and allocates one hour every day for one month just for learning HTML and Web design. The rest of his time will be spent on preparing the dishes from his recipes and taking photos and videos of the steps involved in each.


Having discussed his plans with the hosting company Namecheap, John decides to go ahead and register a domain name. The hosting company will then set up an area on their server for him to upload his work as he designs his site.

John goes to his gateway for Namecheap and finds the search box to explore what domain names are available. He first searches for “” and, as he expected, it is already taken. Luckily, his second search reveals a domain name that will be useful for him: “” is available, and being from the southern United States, he registers it right away.

There are, of course, other issues besides domain name availability that might come up regarding any name that someone wants to use for business. Someone else may have a copyright, trademark, tradename, or corporation registered in some state with this name. Just because the name is available for registration as a domain name on the Internet does not necessarily mean that no one has intellectual property rights established in that name. Jonh makes a note to check with her lawyer as soon as financially feasible to make sure any such problems are dealt with before too much is invested in the name.

In the registration process, John is also given the option of registering “” and “”. Knowing that most people associate “.com” with domain names, he decides to save the money required to register “” and “” for now and just register “” He also makes a note to him-self to revisit these options, depending on his success with the site.

Even though John now has the domain name registration secured, after a discussion with his hosting firm he decides to request that they not enter it in their DNS servers just yet. Once his hosting firm assigns an IP number to his site, he can access it from the Web using that IP number for purposes of previewing the design work he has done and yet not risk the search engines finding his site too soon. He wants it to be ready before the search engines evaluate it.

As we conclude this visit with John, he plans to spend the next month making photos and videos of the preparation of his recipes and learning basic HTML. We will check back with him when he begins the actual design of his site.


Careful preparation and attention to detail are the keys to a professional Website. Even when you design your site yourself, it can be effective if you put great care into the preparation of the content. While preparing your content, shop around for a design and hosting firm with which you feel comfortable. Also, register your domain name early in the process. It is probably best at first just to register the “.com” domain to save money. Do not let your hosting company publish your site until it is complete. You want the first impression of your site by the search engines to be a good impression.


In my next lesson, we will revisit the important issues of keywords, key phrases, and integration of keywords and key phrases into site content. We will do this by following the example we have begun in these last two lessons

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