Website Information

Here is some information about websites.  I do a lot of education for people that are interested in having a website and as a result, I have a lot of information that I can tell you.  If you are already knowledgeable about some of the stuff, then it is overkill.  Therefore, I have the short version, and the long version.  Read as much as you want.

Many people think having a website will drastically change how their business will operate, or they think that they will be inundated with customers.  That isn't the case, otherwise, websites would cost a lot more than they do.  After you have a website, no one will know until you start advertising it.  Later on when the searchengines have indexed the website, it can be found by doing a search, but even that depends on so many different variables.  Your website may come up in the results, but it may be way down in the list, especially when your website first starts out.  Searchengines don't know what people are searching for; they only know which words they specified in the search.  You are competing with an endless supply of websites that have the same words, and most may not even be in the same business.  If you don't plan on adding your domain name to business cards and other materials that has your phone number, then having a website is pointless, but then again, why would you not list it?  Would you ever decide to remove your phone number from your business cards or a phone book ad?

A website is a nice place to have information about your business, in case anyone is interested, or at least curious.  People will be curious or interested, and you want that to happen.  Every time you place an advertisement in a publication, you are hoping to create some curiosity and interest, enough that they will give you a try.  Of course, if you don't believe in advertising, then you are wasting your time here.  Advertising has proven itself out historically; that's why it still exists!  The major problem is getting the most exposure with the least amount of dollars.  Websites have been solving that problem since the mid-90s.  Another pitfall is to think of having a website as another advertising expense.  Any business that is advertising has probably figured out the right ratio of advertising dollars to putting the money into other things.  One comment I hear all the time is "I don't want to spend any more money on advertising."  What they don't understand is that having a good website would mean that they would spend less in total dollars for both than they are paying now, and it is because the website gives you more exposure for less dollars.

Consider what you can put in a businesscard sized ad in the newspaper compared to taking out a full page advertisement.  But what if your business card-sized ad said, "We have more information than this entire newspaper page can hold ... on our website at www....

Newspapers should charge ten times as much if an ad contains a website address.  Thank goodness they haven't caught on to that one yet.  A website can tell your entire story, show pictures, have endless text, and so on.  You can cut down on the size of your advertising and let the website show so much more.

Nearly every company already has a website these days.  The ones that are holding out come up with the most bizarre reasons.  For every company that thinks their business doesn't need a website, there is an avalanche of similar or competing companies that do have websites, and have decided they can't do without them.  Otherwise, why wouldn't companies be giving up websites left and right?  Every company I come across that thinks they don't need a website always think that they are unique, or better than the others.  Perhaps from their perspective, but not from the perspective of their competition, or similar companies that do have websites.  Many of those companies will tell you, "We didn't get it at first either." In many cases, it comes down to being a good business person.  Most every company that has decided it didn't need a website made many other un-ordinary business decisions.  It is amazing to me how many companies that decided they didn't need a website have closed within a year or so of me talking to them.  I'm sure they didn't totally close because they didn't have a website, but because they made other business decisions differently than the norm.  If you think you don't need a website, then you are statisicly not in the norm.  In that case, best of luck to you.

One of the important things to understand about having a website is understanding how you will get visitors to see the website.  You can have a website but if no one knows about it, what is the point?  I tell people having a website is like operating a hot dog stand on a busy corner except you are invisible and no one can smell the hot dogs.

If you don't advertise your website no one will know about it.  It exists but it isn't something that is visible as one passes by.  I can help you from the very beginning to advertise your website on other websites that I develop.  This gives you instant exposure.  I also help get your website listed by the searchengines so that if anyone is searching on products or services that you offer, then your website can be listed in the results.

I meet a lot of people that have websites but don't understand why they have no visitors.  When I ask them how they advertise their website, the unanimous answer is that they don't advertise it at all.  They thought it would be found somehow on its own.  That is true if the searchengines know about it, and the website has all of the things done correctly for the searchengines to rank it (even include it).  In most cases, the website isn't even known by the searchengines, and in most of those cases, it was found that the website would not get ranked at all because it was not done correctly in the first place.  It might look great but the searchengines do not look at its appearance; they look inside at code that has to be done correctly or the searchengines will not even give the website a ranking at all.

Many of the people I meet that have non-producing websites say that it was done by "someone that could build websites" so they assumed that all web developers were on the same par.  Often it was a relative, such as a son, a college student, a neighbor, a brother-in-law, or they bought a website creating program and built it themselves. In many cases the person claims it was done by a "professional."  I often meet people that have a website in the works, still being built, ... by one of the above.  Unless you are extremely lucky, you are doomed to the same failure if you are in the same situation.  It is hard to tell your son that you have to pay to have a website built by a professional because his didn't work.  If you don't know how to evaluate the results before the website is built, you are taking on a costly gamble.  Educate yourself as much as possible about what is necessary and what works.

If this is all new to you then almost any web developer you talk to will be convincing enough to assure you that they are the right person to do the job.  Without a doubt, almost all of them can produce a website, even a pretty website, but almost universally, the majority of the other web developers create you a website and then leave you on your own.  What I do differently is that I educate you along the way, create your website the right way so that the searchengines will rank it, get your website listed by the searchengines, save you money on web services, and charge less for creating your website by buying back some of your website real-estate to advertise other websites and put you in the same pool of advertisers.  After your website is up, I monitor the hosting servers, periodically check all links in case any external links fail (when websites you link to change or no longer exist).  I effectively become your partner because your success increases my success.

I have been developing websites professionally since 1996.  I have been through the same issues that all new website owners go through.  I learned what works and what doesn't.  I also keep up-to-date by educating myself on new technologies.  I have seen the web evolve over the years.  I don't build websites today like I did in 1996.  New technologies require new methods of development.  Old websites must be changed to get them up-to-date as well.  As your partner, I maintain your website to keep it up-to-date as the technology changes.  What I do is different from any others that I have come across.  I need for you to understand that, otherwise I appear no different from any other web developer out there.

Now the basics of a website, ...

There are four requirements to have a website.  1) You need to have a domain name, 2) a hosting service, and 3) someone to build the website.  4) The fourth is to advertise your website, otherwise, it exists but no one knows about it.  I will do the things to make sure that the searchengines can index the website properly.  I also have a method to help get your website advertised on other websites.

The first steps:

The Short Version:

  1. Domain Name - The maximum that any registrar can charge for a domain name is $35 per year.  Don't do it.  There are far better deals due to competition.  Register a domain name at GoDaddy.com for only $11.99/year.  They have the best prices for what you get.  Why pay the high price when I can show you who charges a fair price?  Make sure you add Privacy, which adds another $10.99.  Along with the required $0.18 fee from ICANN, the total should be around $23.16 at the checkout, but expect some taxes as well. These are initial fees charged by GoDaddy. Check the end of this page for initial vs. renewal fees.

  2. Hosting Service - Get a hosting plan that will suit your needs.  For non-profits, I have a half-price hosting plan that regularly sells for $29.99 per month but I pass on the saving to you to host at $14.99/month and that includes uploading of files, link checking, site monitoring, and the chance to be in the co-operative advertising network.  The total is $179.88/year prepaid.  The value of my hosting package for disk space and bandwidth alone is $30/month compared to other hosting services that offer the same disk space and bandwidth.  You get as many e-mail addresses as you need at your domain name, plus lots of other features (see the long version for more details).

    I offer hosting services so that my clients can get a reduced price, plus I offer the other services.  This speeds up the development and ongoing maintenance of the website.  Otherwise, I have to give you the files to upload so that I can test, and so on (see the long version for more details).

  3. The Website Development - Plan out a rough draft of what you want as your website on typewriter paper.  Have a menu wherever you like (left side, top, etc.).  Make a separate sheet to show what would be displayed when a visitor clicks on each button.  Once you have a rough idea of what you would want to have on your website, I take that and start to create your website.  I will load the files to your hosting location and give you a chance to see it before the rest of the world can access it by using a login process.  Once we agree it is good to go, the login process is removed, and the whole world can see it.

    There are several pages that I throw in without making you pay for them.  The number I throw in depends on how many pages you make your website.  For example, I have these pages as standard free pages:

    About
    Contact
    Help
    Copyright
    Privacy
    Terms of Use
    Disclaimer
    Site Map
    Request for Information
    Feedback
    Thank You page (displayed after a Request for Information or Feedback is submitted)
    Standard Error Pages (like a 404 error when a page is not found)

    In other words, if you have an About button, the page I display will not be a page you have to pay for.

    The price of webpage development depends on the number of unique pages and whether you are part of the co-operative advertising network.  The price is half-price if you are part of the co-operative advertising network (uses my hosting service).  The standard price is $600 per page but to help build the co-operative advertising network, I have cut that price in half to $300 for the first page.  If you have multiple pages that are the same except for some minor details (such as an enlarged photo), then the price drops to around $10 per page.  I would generate the different pages from a database, all based on the same template.

    These prices are based on simple websites.  You can get much more fancy with additional features.

  4. Advertising and exposure. - I also do all the things to get your site listed by the searchengines.  I am building a co-operative advertising network.  By being part of the co-operative advertising network, you get instant exposure on other websites.  All websites in the co-operative advertising network have banners at the bottom of the websites.  Your banner would randomly appear on other websites as well.

Samples

I have samples of websites that you can take a look at.  For example, you can visit the website for an example of a website for a non-profit organization.   

There isn't anything very sophisticated on any of the example websites in order to keep costs low.  I can go as extensive as the website owner desires.

Forms

If you are ready for the forms, then I can send them to you.  They are in PDF file format so you can print them out.

Short Conclusion

That is about it for the short version.  There is more detail in the long version.  You should read it unless this is old stuff to you.  Let me know when we can plan a website.  I'm looking forward to hearing from you.


The Long Version.

Domain Name

The first thing you need to do is decide on and register a domain name.  Domain names are registered at a registrar (reg-is-trar - last part rhymes with drawer).  Remember, you never "own" a domain name; you merely register it for a period of time.

A website and a domain name are not the same thing; make sure you do not get the two confused.  You can have a website without a domain name.  Every computer connected to the Internet has a unique IP address; that includes your personal computer, and the computer that contains your website (known as a server).  If you know the IP address of the server that hosts your website, you could access your website using the IP address in your web browser.  For it to be of any value, you would need to tell other people what the IP address is so they could access your website.

A domain name is a way of locating a website easier than having to keep track of the computer IP address that has the website files.  Therefore, a domain name is an alias that "points" to a specific IP address of the server where a website is hosted.  IP Addresses are hard to remember; domain names are a lot easier to remember.  If you used only the IP address, then if you ever wanted to change it to point to a different IP address (or the IP address needed to change), then you would need to tell everyone the new IP address.

The location that a domain name points to can be changed in the registrar's domain name control panel.  The changes can take up to 72 hours to populate throughout the world.

If you think having a website without a domain name is a good idea, think again.  You are heading for future headaches.  Having a website without a domain name will not save you, it will end up costing you.

Domain names have multiple parts.  The last part is known as the Top Level Domain (TLD).  That part is the .com, the .net, the .org part that you see in domain names.  The next part is the main portion that you choose (e.g., microsoft as in microsoft.com).

Choose a domain name that you can register the .com version; not .biz, not .net, but make sure you get a .com domain name.  The reason is simple.  The majority of domain names are .com so the public and the browsers give them better support.  If someone is trying to remember your domain name, the first one they will try will be the .com version.  If someone else had the .com version, then they might get distracted and never make it to your website, especially if the .com version is a competitor.  Once you have registered the .com version, then you can register the .biz, .net. ,org and other Top Level Domain (TLD) versions to ensure that no one else will have the same name.

If you want to see if a domain name has already been registered before you decide to register it, then I can help.  Of course, you can try the name out in a browser.  If a website shows up, then for sure it is taken.  If nothing shows up, it doesn't mean that the domain name is available.  Someone could have registered it but not loaded any files to be displayed.  This happens more often than you think.  Another way to check to see if a domain name is already registered or not is to go to a registrar website and use their domain name registration process.  If the name is already taken, then they will inform you that it is not available.  If it is available, what should you do?  Register it right then.  Don't wait.  If you don't register it right then, the name that you tried will go into a list of names that have been checked on.  This list is sold to companies that buy and sell domain names.  If your domain name looks like a good one, someone might snap it up knowing that someone out there is interested.  Then when you finally decide to register it a couple days later, it mysteriously is not available, except by buying it from whoever registered it, and at their price.

Another way to check on domain name availability is to go directly to the WhoIs Registry database.  This is a lot safer, however, a commercial business runs the WhoIs Registry, plus the domain names checked could still be sold to the domain name brokers.  The best way to check for a domain name is to use an application on a local computer that directly accesses the whois database.  I use one of these whenever I need to check to see if a domain name is taken or not.  Let me know if you want to see if any domain name is already taken or not.

Go to GoDaddy.com to register a domain name so that you only pay $11.99 for the domain name for one year (not $35).  Their price is consistently lower than than the majority of registrars and their service is as good as I have found.  They register more domain names than any other registrar because of their price.  There are a few other sites that occasionally offer a domain name sale for a dollar or so less, but don't have the same extra add-on features that GoDaddy.com throws in free of charge.  I know of places that charge $6.95 a year for a domain name but they charge $9.95 extra to get forwarding with masking; GoDaddy.com throws forwarding with masking in for free.  I have tried to cut corners a couple times with some of the others; usually losing out but occasionally winning, but when I recommend a registrar, it is consistently GoDaddy.com.  After you register the domain name, it needs to be set up to point to the correct web server you use.  GoDaddy's Control Panel gives me the ability to make changes without having to learn a whole new Control Panel layout.

When you register a domain name at GoDaddy, you get a customer number, and a password.  You need to make sure you know what these are.  Don't share them with anyone other than myself.  You never want to lose control of your domain name.  Protecting your customer number and password helps insure that.

Your domain name will have three names associated with it.  One is the owner (Registrant).  That is you.  The second is the Administrator contact.  That can be you or me.  The third is the Technical Contact.  That is me.  As long as you retain your name for the owner of the domain name, then you retain control of the domain name while it is registered under your name.

The three contact entries are available to the public by default.  The contact entries will have the address, phone number, and e-mail address available to the public.  For people concerned about privacy, this can be a problem.  If that is the case, then you are in luck.  GoDaddy.com is unique among registrars, in that they have a process called "Domains by Proxy" where they give you control to make any changes but the details of the account are hidden from the public, showing only that the owner is listed as Domains by Proxy (they have two patents applied for to protect this feature).  The service (at last check) was $10.99.  I recommend it.  Otherwise, you will get lots of spam from anyone that is attempting to sell you something, or that wants to show you how to make money with the web.  Worst yet, once your e-mail address gets in the address book of anyone that gets hit by a virus, then your e-mail address will be used randomly as the sender when the virus is sent to others.

I hope now that you are convinced that the domain name registration for $11.99 and the initial privacy for $10.99 is a great bargain.  GoDaddy has to add $0.18 per domain name as imposed by the ICANN organization. These are initial fees charged by GoDaddy. Check the end of this page for initial vs. renewal fees.

After you register the domain name, before I can make any changes to set it up for the hosting you need to sign a waiver allowing me to do so.  Even if you provide me with the customer number and the password, I will not change anything until you sign the waiver.  The waiver protects me since my name is technically not the owner.  My name will be set up as the Technical Contact.  Either you can set that up when you register the domain name or I will make the correct entries when I set the domain name up.

Once I have the Authorization for Access form signed, I can do the setup for the domain.

Once the domain name is taken care of, the next thing is to set up hosting to have a place that the website will be made available to the public.

Hosting

Who you host with is your choice but to be in the co-operative advertising network, you need to be hosted with my service, which isa reduced price compared to others that offer the same disk space and bandwidth.  I also offer additional services with my hosting service.  I offer hosting as a service to my customers; the price includes several services that are essential, and it makes everything faster on my end.  You can find hosting packages for just about any amount of money you can think of, from free to over $3,000 a month.  I spent just slightly over a year investigating all of the available choices before I could put together the right combination of essential web services to save my customers money, plus provide a better overall service.  I am convinced that my long research has paid off.  On August 1st, 2004, I bit the bullet and jumped in full force by having my own hosting company.  All of my clients have switched over when their previous contracts ended, and I am setting up new ones to take advantage of the savings.

How much savings?  I offer more bullet items than what I have found that others offer but for the most common comparison, the package for just disk space and bandwidth is normally about $39.99 a month, for which I sell it at $29.99 a month, with one year pre-paid in advance (the standard for hosting).  There are a few companies that will allow you to pay by the month (at a slightly higher rate).  I currently am not set up to handle month-to-month billing.  An entire year of hosting is only $359.88, a lot less than any of my current customers were paying so everyone is pleased.  If anyone cannot handle the $359.88 for a full year, I am the wrong host supplier for them at least for now.

You get as much as 5 Gig of disk space and essentially unlimited bandwidth.  You also get as many e-mails as you need, and with spam protection.  There are lots of other bells and whistles; I haven't found any other service that offers more than 75% of the bullet items that I have, regardless of the price.  In addition, I provide several other services that make both of our lives easier, and our service more valuable.

Is everything secure?

The files loaded onto a web server can be in public accessible areas or in private areas accessible only after a login process.  This can be important if for example, you want to sell something (like a special report) and keep the data on the web available for download only after the customer has paid to access the data.

The way to get files to a web server is to use one of the protocols that allow for file transfer.  One is called the File Transfer Protocol or more commonly known as FTP.  An FTP client is an application that runs on your local computer and connects to the web server.  Then you can copy files back and forth just like you were copying files from one directory to another on your local PC.  FTP has been around a long time.  It is simple.  FTP is not a secure protocol.  As long as the data is not anything that needs to be protected, then FTP is fine.  For example, shipping web pages is fine if they are pages that will be seen by the public anyway.  If they are pages that will be seen only by paying customers, then while they are being copied from the local computer to the server, the data could be captured along the way.  Other data can be even more critical; imagine a software vendor that sells a software program for $5,000 per copy.  When the software program is being transferred from the developer to the website, the program could be captured somewhere along the way.  Trade secrets can be even more of a problem with risks running into the millions.  For items that need secure transfer, I use a different method.

One thing that is hard to find in hosting is called "secure shell" access (SSH).  I eliminated a lot of hosting reseller plans simply because I could not have this one feature.  Most only offered standard FTP access.  Some of my clients are important in government (e.g., state senator).  I want to make sure that anything I send to these websites are secure all along the way.  SSH is a protocol that uses public key cryptography to transfer data securely over insecure communication channels.  SSH implementations use the "scp" command to copy files to/from a remote server using the SSH protocol to establish a secure connection and to encrypt all data passing between the client and the server.  The original SSH is referred to as SSH1 and uses the SCP program to copy securely.  SCP stands for Secure Copy Protocol.  A later version of SSH is called SSH2 and is much more secure than SSH1.  As its default mode of communication, it uses SFTP (Secure FTP).  As a standard procedure, I ship all files to the web using SFTP.

Why host with me?

If you are not going to have a website that depends on visitors but instead, you merely need an online repository to send existing clients to or for your own access, then you are not going to have a lot of traffic to your website, and therefore, you would not be as beneficial to the co-operative advertising network as ones that will actively use their website and promote it.  You might fit the profile of a larger corporation and you aren't worried about the $400 per page price.  You are not in the same boat as most businesses wanting to get online; you merely want a small website to have online presence, and to host a few documents for public access.  Due to the small size and small number of accesses to your website, you might choose to go with a hosting plan that is less than even $14.99 a month (they do exist but with limited features).  Other companies do offer lesser expensive plans, and so do I but still with a very long list of features.  You can manage your own hosting service and pay only $9.95 per month prepaid for one year ($119.40 annually).

Now, suppose you decide to go with a different hosting service that charges less than what I charge.  If you decide to go with a different hosting solution other than what I offer, keep this in mind.  Disk space and bandwidth go hand-in-hand in hosting pricing.  A less expensive plan will mean less disk space and less bandwidth.  You might base your decision on disk space alone.  If you don't need the extra disk space, why pay for it right?  By buying more disk space you almost universally also get more bandwidth; that is how the hosting industry prices out plans.  If you need the extra bandwidth, you might have to purchase more disk space than you need just to get the bandwidth.  If you plan on having streaming audio or video, then you will surely need the extra bandwidth.  If you exceed your bandwidth allocation for a hosting service, either they will shut your website off from being accessed until it has been paid for in advance, or they will allow your website to operate but you will have a large bill to pay for the extra bandwidth.  Sooner or later, you will find that my hosting service is a bargain.

Also, if you host with someone else, you will need to manage your own Control Panel to set up FTP accounts, e-mails, etc.  You will need an FTP client program to transfer your own files to the web.  In the early stages of the website development cycle, this can be especially tedious and excruciating slow for overall progress.  For example, I give you what I have developed.  You get it sent to the web in a test area.  You let me know that everything is there ready for me to do testing.  I test.  If I have a problem, I hope that you actually got everything transferred to the web and without any communication problems.  If I find that the correct files didn't get sent to the web, or weren't sent fully or correctly, then I have spent all the testing time in vain; therefore, I charge for my lost time.  If everything I test is fine, then I need to have you send the files to the production version (public website).  You let me know that the files have been loaded to the production area.  Now, I need to do another preliminary test as soon as possible to ensure that you did what you said that you did, and that there are no unexpected problems.  If everything goes right, we have a new version of the website or of the changes that were made.

Now, as far as you managing your control panel and transferring your own files, you can hire someone to do that for you.  They will need to sign a non-disclosure agreement so that I don't worry about them using my intellectual property.  The person you hire to do this could be me.  Depending on who you host with, I may need to learn a new Control Panel to do the work for you (I will need to charge for my time to learn the new Control Panel).  After understanding your hosting choice, I could ship the files to your choice of hosting services.  That can speed things up quite a bit because I know when to start the next step in the testing process, plus when to get the files into the production version (public version of the website), and there is little time in between each step, lessening the chance that the public will encounter a mistake that made it through testing but somehow made it to production.  The only problem is, the price you would need to pay me to do this service for you would be about 10 times what you would pay for my original hosting service.  In other words, I don't charge for my time in doing testing if you use my hosting service for websites that I develop.  I assure you, I have priced everything to save you money and time.  If you have any doubts, then try another solution until you get familiar with the process, then come back here, read this again and it will really sink in as to how much time and money you could have saved.

O.K., Now somewhere down the road, the design phase has passed, the website has stabilized.  The only changes are the database items that you have control over (products/services for sale).  Suppose you don't have any external links to worry about maintenance of.  Is there any reason to continue to host with me?  That seems like a logical assumption, and one that I would have thought of myself.  Here is what I did not expect.  The web is a constant evolving thing.  The way that we do things has changed over the past 8 to 10 years, and I mean drastically.  Any website that has not adapted since the earliest days is seriously missing out.  You may visit your website daily for two years and not notice anything different at all.  But under the covers, I am making changes on how the website works to keep it current with technology, to give it its best chance of success.  For example, websites I design today have no typeface attributes specified in the actual Webpages themselves.  100% of the ones I did in 2004 did.  What changed?  The adoption of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) by the current browsers in use today.  CSS allows text formatting in a more controlled manner, but it is controlled (most commonly) from a separate file that can affect all pages of the website.  One change in that file can affect all pages of the website instantly.  Before, I would have to change every file on the website to use a different typeface or a different size.  Of course, every changed file would need to be reloaded to the web.

CSS has been around since before 2004, however, back then, the browser support for CSS was too low to adopt CSS for serious use.  Today, it would be foolish to do anything else.

A webpage that was made before CSS looks the same after converting.  So what's the point?  Things change right.  That is the point.  The websites I did a few years ago do need to change and they need to change now.  Why if the change is not noticeable?  Maybe not to you or me but to people with slower access, they might notice the improved performance.  The pages are smaller, and load faster.  Also, people that have eyesight problems or difficulty seeing text can more easily change the size of text to suit their needs.  The searchengine webbots that index websites can more easily understand your website without having to deal with the typeface sizes getting in the way.  There are technological incentives, and user incentives.  In other words, there are numerous reasons to adopt current technology.  You only get that if I can do that easily, otherwise, you will need to pay for all the extra enhancements.

I am always in the process of making changes or improvements to things in the website files, and the changes are not apparent to even the website owners that see them every day.  The changes get made when it is easy for me to get the changes loaded to the web.  If I have to hand the changes over to someone else, then wait for the reply that they are loaded to do the testing, it can get to be a serious headache for me.  Currently, I am responsible for over 29,970 pages on the web.  Not a single page has went for over a year without modification.  It is just the nature of the business.  If you want your website to evolve with the technology, I give you that.  I need for your website to look the best that it can.  You might tell someone that I did it.  In fact, I hope you do.  Tell them that even after you were satisfied with the design that I won't stop making changes either although for the most part, you don't notice anything except for improved performance.

My hosting service has other advantages too.  I am building a co-operative advertising network of websites that advertise each other.  This gets you more exposure obviously, but it also gets you higher searchengine rankings too.  You can only get this if I am the hosting service.  Otherwise, you fight the advertising issues on your own.  Right off, I am effectively buying advertising from you.  This prevents you from having to go out and search for advertisers, plus it lowers your initial costs of getting on the web.

Once I have the Hosting contract signed, you get hosting.  At that point, I change the domain name servers to point to the hosting location.  After 72 hours, the database is populated around the world and your website location is then accessible by using the domain name.

That's enough about hosting.  You know my price.  $359.88 for a year.  Get your hosting paid for so that we have a place to preview your website.

And now, the website.

The website consists of your content (images and text) and my intellectual property that makes it happen.  To use my intellectual property, you need to sign a non-disclosure agreement.  The agreement protects both of us from abusing the other's information.

The website appearance and content is based on your input.  I need your very valuable input to create what you envision.  You can design what ever you think will serve your needs.  An e-mail is too short to cover all aspects of Web Development.  Don't worry; it will be an evolving process.

Make a list of sections you would want your website to have.  There should be a menu item for each section (click on this button to show ...).

The main thing is that to get you started, I include 11 pages with your very first page.  Most likely you will want more than one page to sell your idea or product or service.  You get to decide how many pages you need.  The point is that I don't charge you for the most common pages such as an About page, contact page, legal pages, etc.  The content on these pages is already decided on for the most part.  This gets you a full and robust website that looks like you paid a lot of money for it.  It has the additional advantage of giving your website credibility.

For the website development itself, you pay half down, then the other half upon delivery.  The max price is $400 per unique design/layout page and it decreases from this amount depending on the total count of pages (price based on my hosting service).  If a page is nearly identical to another page, then the price drops drastically.  If you have multiple items that are very similar, then I will create a template layout and then "generate" the individual pages based on what is different (items for sale).  To do this, I need a database from you that identifies the differences.  If you maintain a database of the items that you have for sale, then I can use the same database to generate the individual item pages.  You will need to have an identifying number for an item, the category of the item, the text description of the item, the price of the item, the quantity of the item, the name of the image file that is tied to the item (no blanks in name), and the name to use for the individual webpage (no blanks in name).  Keep these in a database (or spreadsheet) that can be converted to a CSV file.  Send me the CSV file using a semicolon separator.  You can maintain a database using a spreadsheet, MS Word table, or using an actual database program (such as Microsoft Access); MS Works even has a database feature.  Whatever you use to keep track of your data should work.  You simply save all of the data that I need for each revision of your website in a CSV file.  A CSV file is known as a Comma Separated Values file, meaning that each of the fields are separated from the next by a comma.  The program I use that breaks the CSV file apart to build the Webpages actually uses a semicolon rather than a comma.  If this concept is foreign to you, then we can discuss the details.

Depending on how many of the items that you have, the price of the pages drops drastically (to just a few dollars).  For the text description, you may want to have a short text version, and a detailed text version.  The short text version will be displayed when all items are shown in a list.  The detailed version may be displayed on that item's detailed page.  The details page for an item may have multiple paragraphs or even multiple images.  The database that you supply will have fields for all of these.

The price of pages also depends on how many pages you start out with.  It is less expensive to add pages up front then add additional pages later.  Take advantage of this savings by planning out how many pages you will need early on.  In our next meeting, you should have a good understanding of how many pages and which pages you need.

Once I have the Authorization for Quoted Work form signed, then I can begin work on the website.  Depending on the number of pages and the complexity will determine how long I need to complete my part to have something to show you.

If there are additional design issues or questions, please let me know via e-mail as soon as possible.

You can also get more detailed information in my Web Development specifics section.

Conclusion

Still plenty to come.  Plenty to learn.  Hopefully you will know and understand that I have the knowledge and experience necessary.  Talk to any others and see if they have as much experience as I have.  Few have.  Most that started when I did have switched to management and have lost touch with the current technical things going on.  I keep technical to remain at the top.  I have been in computer software since 1980, with 10 years of hardware experience before that.  I have been consulting since 1982.  Actually there is a guy in San Diego that has a full year on me, but he settled down now and isn't doing the consulting thing any longer.  I spoke to another old timer in Tampa recently and he said, "Bob, you have three years on me." I could pass you on to him except he isn't doing anything with the web.  I started tinkering around with the web (the modern version called the Internet) back in 1992; and by the end of 1996, I was fully into web development.  I didn't grow up with the web, I say the web grew up with me.  My background is founded in a college computer software programming education; before that I was in the hardware side of things based on my military training and exposure to Arpanet (the predecessor to the Internet).  I feel confident of my skills and methodology to get things done.

Not only do I have the experience but I also have the right price.  I understand that the small business model does not allow for the same spending pattern as the large companies paid for their website.  That is why I have taken a serious look at how to build professional effective websites for the small business by canning the common items into modules that can be used for each website.  In addition, I essentially buy back real estate from you by placing banners for other websites at the bottom of pages by creating your website at a reduced price.  Your participation in this co-operative advertising network requires that you advertise your own website, otherwise, all other websites in the network would be advertising you but you would not be advertising your own website.  Advertising your own website means that you advertise your website in some fashion such as print advertising, or online advertising outside the co-operative advertising network.  Advertising also includes adding your website domain name to any business cards, yellow pages ads, or anyway that you list your business.

Alright, nuff said.

To get started with the website, register the domain name, set up your hosting, and come up with some basic ideas of what you would like to have on the website.  Once you decide how many pages you want to start out with, you will know an approximate value for your initial price.

When can we get together to have our next meeting?

If you need help with any of this, let me know.

Thanking you in advance;

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Domain Name Price Review

The prices mentioned above are for the initial charges. The annual renewal charges may be slightly different, although historically, I have found over the years that they generally tend to be the same as the initial fees. Regardless, I do track them independantly. Here is what I understand them to be as of 2016-09-28:

ServiceInitial FeeRenewal Fee
Domain Fee$11.99$19.99
Privacy Fee$10.99$9.99
ICANN Fee$0.18$0.18
Approximate Total:$23.16$30.16