Smyrl.Biz Web Consultants, Jacksonville / Midland, Texas

       Considerations for Planning a Web Site

Determining the type of site needed.

River Bits

For your interactive needs

Generally when  a prospective client meets his web developer he has an idea about the type of site desired. Sites may be informational, instructional, e-commerce sites etc. After deciding on the type of web, one of the earliest decisions is whether to make site static or dynamic. E-commerce sites are interactive and require behind the scene scripting to function.  Informational sites can either be interactive or static.  The type of information to be presented often determines the best way to present data. 

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Selecting a domain name

If you have an existing business, a domain name that duplicates that name or resembles the name is highly appropriate.  The exact domain name may not be available.  Long domain names are hard for a user to duplicate.  Brevity is an advantage.  Our ex-client Yearwood Speed and Custom uses the domain name

If you are establishing a new business, the choice is harder but offers many more opportunities for selecting a catchy memorable domain name. The current trend is to select a domain name that involves one or more of your keywords.  (See below). Let your imagination run wild and see what ideas you come up with that are available.

Be sure to read this post on DigitalPoint and avoid the trap described.

Beware of selecting a domain name that has recently expired.  If the previous owner has used scamming practices and has been dropped from search engines for those practices, you may suffer for his deeds.

Currently domain names involving either an underscore or a hyphen are in vogue.   For search engine purposes the hyphen is preferable to the underscore.  You see similar conventions used in naming folders and html pages.

The cost of a domain name currently is quite low.  If you purchase from a non-reputable registrar, you may pay too much and have trouble transferring to a reputable registrar at a later date.  As with all areas of web development, it helps to research the business with which you are dealing.  Currently Omnis dot com and Godaddy offer cheap domain names. 

Warning: This message appeared on a registrars page. 

NOTICE...  November 2004 ICANN Transfer Policy Email
We are sending customers an email regarding a new ICANN-enforced domain name transfer policy, effective 11-12-04. It dictates that IF WE RECEIVE A TRANSFER REQUEST (and your domain names are not locked) we must honor the transfer, even if you do not confirm it. You can eliminate ANY chance of your domain names being transferred away without your permission by locking your domains.

Don't let this happen to you.

Sometimes people purchase more than one domain name to use with a single site.  One reason is to avoid copycats.  This practice must be used carefully or web will face duplicate content penalty.  If using more than one domain name make sure you use a 301 redirect for secondary domain names.

Note:  As a webmaster I started out believing that each client should have domain name registered in the client's name for their own piece of mind and protection.  If registered in web developer's name, developer can hold domain name for ransom.  But, after having two clients loose their domain names and having to go to hassles of either redeeming expired domain name (expensive) or register a new one are starting over trying to get site ranked in SERPs (also expensive due to work involved), I have changed my mind.  Which ever way you choose to go be watchful and keep whois innformation up to date, as well as contact information with registrar.  I highly recommend setting up your domain names with an automatic renewal feature.  Here too you need to be watchful for credit cards expire and registrar must be able to contact you.  If you let developer register the domain name, make sure that there is a statement in your contract that you will have ownership of the domain name if you terminate working relationship with the developer.

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Backordering Domain Names - For More Advanced Webmasters

As you enter the planning phase of you site you must settle on a domain name for your site that will work well for your site and is readily available.  Unfortunately some let a needed domain name get away and will need to try to repurchase the domain name or want to purchase a domain name owned by someone else. If the domain is not in use you can always contact the owner and offer to buy. There are various options:

  • Contact domain name owner directly and try to buy..
  • Wait for the domain name to expire and try to purchase it.
  • Backorder the domain and hope you get it.  Most registrars operate or are affiliated with a backorder group such as SnapNames used by Network Solution, and
  • Use the appropriate domain name aftermarket for your registrar.  This is the surest way.

The backordering game changes often.  The latest info I have seen on backordering is on DigitalPoint.  By all means do your homework before you try backordering.

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Researching keywords

Keyword are the way web surfers locate your business.  Optimizing for the wrong keywords will make your site hard to find.  As you start thinking about the keywords to use ask yourself, "If I were someone searching for my business, what words might I type in the search engine?"  Make a list of all words or phrases that you might use.  This list will serve as a starting point for your keyword research. 

Approximately 80% of web searches involve keyword phrases of 1 to 3 words.  More searches involve generic phrases rather than more specific phrases.  That is more will search for auto air cleaner than will search for Hi-Tek air cleaner. 

There are various research aides available to help with your keyword research.  The best is Wordtracker.  You may subscribe to its service by the day, week, month, quarter or year.  Currently the daily rate is $7.33 US. My recommendation is to to use the the free resources initially and then get a daily or weekly subscription to word Wordtracker.

One good free resource is Overature.  It provides some good keyword phrases but is not good with differentiating between singular and plural terms.  It also ignores punctuations. If you type in your keyword or keyword phrase in Overature it will show you the number of times that phrase appeared in searches in this past month.  Now DigitalPoint offers a keyword suggestion tool using reuslts from both both Overature and Wordtracker. Still yet another source is Google itslef.   

Many search engines create suggestions for other searches.
I use the following tool for keyword research.  It incorporates both Overature and Wordtracker.

Get Suggestions For Phrase:

Brought to you by Digital Point Solutions

After using all of these resources, finalize a list of keywords to target.  If you are in a highly competitive area, you may want to target one of the less competitive keyword phrase and attain a good ranking for it before going after the more competitive phrase.

Read more about keyword optimization and Google stemming before you write your copy.

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Determining web architecture.

After determining the keywords to target, it is time to plan the architecture of the web.  Determine the number of pages needed for the web,  whether all pages will be located in the root directory or if you need sub-folders ( large webs require sub-folders.) and plan the linking structure for your pages.  Always include a site map to make web search engine friendly as well as user friendly and easy to navigate. Be sure to plan for future additions you may want to incorporate into your web so when you are ready to implement no massive reorganization of web architecture will be required.

At this stage it is advisable to plan how to distribute targeted keywords phrases among the pages.  Target no more than three keyword phrases per page.  Repeat the phrases no more than three or four times.  Targeting keyword phrases is part of search engine optimization.  It is easier to optimize a page as you build the page.

Now you are ready to start constructing the web pages.  Do not begin this process until you have an idea of what is involved in Search Engine Optimization.

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