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Your web site developer can guide you through the steps to bring your site online. Here are a few basics.

Logo. Does your business have a logo? If not, a web site designer can put a simple typography treatment together for your site. If you have a professionally-designed logo, that's even better. A web developer can take the shape, line and color of a well-constructed logomark and emphasize it in the overall branding of your site.

Choosing a Designer. It's important that there be a meeting of the minds when choosing a company to develop your site.
  • Begin by looking at samples of the web site designer's work. Can you envision your site in the style of one or more of the projects they have completed?
  • Think about the "must-have" features that you want for the site. Is the web company capable of delivering these?
  • Talk to the web designer. Ask them for their ideas for your site. Is the designer enthusiastic about your project? Do you like his or her ideas? Most importantly, is it easy to communicate? You'll have to work together to complete the site.
  • Find out what the rough cost will be for the site you have in mind. Is this within your budget?

Domain Name. What will your web site address be? Your web developer can offer suggestions. You can always have multiple domain names if you like more than one.

In general, the most desirable domain names will be relatively short, end in ".com" and have no hyphens. You can find out if a domain name is available by visiting GoDaddy.com or another registrar, and typing in the domain name you are interested in. Most common domain names will probably be taken, but you may be surprised at what's still available.

If you find a domain name that you like, go ahead and buy it. Domain names usually cost between $9 and $35 per year. If you prefer, a web developer can register the name for you, but be sure that the domain is registered in your name, with your email address, and that you have the password. This is important in the event that you decide to switch to another web developer.

Hosting. The web site will need to be hosted on a web server in order to be accessed by everyone on the web. There are thousands of companies that offer this service, and each account they offer has different capabilities. Most offer email service with their hosting accounts.

The choice of hosting company should be coordinated with your web developer. There may be features on your site that are programmed to work with a specific type of hosting account. In some cases, the web developer will set up the hosting account for you.

Hosting accounts can be less than $10 per month for discount services, in the range of $25 per month for services with 24/7 phone support, around $50 per month for e-commerce hosting, or more depending on the type of account needed. Most iMarks sites are hosted for $8-25 per month.

There should be a meeting of the minds when you choose your web site designer.