For those who don’t follow my business blog, yes, I finally finished an e-book (with another on the way!).
The books is geared toward:
- New Site Owners
- Current Site Owners
- Small Business Owners
- Big Businesses
- Web Designers
- Web Developers
Yes, even web designers and developers can benefit from several of the chapters in this book. Many focus so much on their speciality, they don’t know as much about law or site promotion as they should or would like to know.
Here are a few choice excerpts I posted to my business blog.
Website Wonder Made Easy: Websites Unwoven
A Guide to creating a PROFESSIONAL website, in Plain English
First, a freebie. The first chapter in the book addresses what the book is and is not. It also has a whole section on terminology. Which, is in the book, and in the book there is a link to this page, where you can access all the web design dictionary for free. Ta da! Bookmark the page for future reference.
Chapter 2 discusses Your site and the Law. Here is just a little bit from the site:
Fair Use Myth
Once presented with this information, a lot of people come back with “but this qualifies under fair use!” Nope, it doesn’t. The vast majority of people have an inaccurate understanding of what “fair use” is and is not. So let’s clear that up for you.
Myth 1: It’s for a personal site.
Reality: It doesn’t matter if you are making money off of the intellectual property or not; you must gain permission to use it first.
Myth 2: It’s for an educational site.
Reality: See answer to Myth #1. It doesn’t matter if you are making money off of the intellectual property or not; you must gain permission to use it first.
Myth 3: I found it on the Internet.
Reality: The Internet is not a playground of freebies.
Myth 4: It’s old and the copyright expired.
Reality: Maybe. Copyright laws, depending on the country (and remember, not every website is made for and by the country you live in), can last up to 70 years. Additionally, copyrights can be renewed. This is often done by the estate of an artist long after their death.
Myth 5: I changed it 10% or more.
Reality: Even if you changed the original, it is still not “fair use;” and no matter how much you change the original work, that doesn’t suddenly turn that product into “fair use” for you to use.
Chapter 3: Setting Realistic Expectations
Most people step into their first website with very unrealistic ideas. The average person tends to mis-estimate:
- the amount of time and money involved in having a professional make a site for them;
- the amount of time needed to learn to do it themselves;
- the amount of time they have available to assist their website creator in making a website for them;
- how quickly they’ll see a return on their investment;
- how quickly they’ll see their site listed in a search engine; and
- what a realistic search engine ranking is for their site based on the time and money they have put into the site.
- So let’s get you moving with some realistic expectations on what you can expect while creating a site and after it is built.
This chapter goes on to address the realities of getting a website made, and what you can expect in the process. This chapter also busts a lot of myths about making websites, how fast you can make money, promoting your site, and more.
Chapter 4: Make a Plan
Before you have a website, you need a plan. Just diving in is a good way to end up with something that is not worth the time and money you invested. Whether you go the DIY route or hire someone to make the site, have a plan.
In case you missed it in Chapter 1, remember this:
Things You MUST HAVE to Have a Website
- Web Host
- Web Pages
These are not optional.
We’ll get to how to choose those later.
This chapter provides a list of questions to ask yourself. Questions that never occur to most people, when starting out on a new web design project. Then there are TWO website checklists:
- one for a brochure website (no online sales)
- and one for an e-commerce website.
Chapter 5: Buying Services to Get Your Site Started
How to Choose a Domain Name
Choose your domain name carefully. It will follow you forever.
Look for one that has your business name or product/services you sell. Keep it as short as possible. A short domain name is memorable, and easier to read and say. But don’t make it so short that the domain name appears unrelated to your business either.
A good domain name may help with SEO. But don’t choose your domain name just for SEO purposes either. Domain names aren’t the biggest factor in search engine rankings.
Get variations on your domain name. This includes anything that is similarly spelled or people may mistype. For example, my husband bought the following domains, in addition to his domain weaselpants.com:
Most people buy TLDs (Top Level Domains), which are those ending in .com, .net, and .org.
If you can buy the .com version of your name, I also recommend getting the .net too. You may also want the .co version as well. Some people get the .org just to cover their bases (although technically, this is generally reserved for non-profits, but some like to cover their bases to prevent confusion). Getting all domains with the most commonly used extensions means that in the future, if you have a competitor with a similar name, you are less likely to be confused with them. That said, sometimes your only option is to get a domain name similar to another one that exists because you can’t get the one you really want. In that case, take it. It’s better than nothing, and you may be able to either buy the other domain from the owner, or they may let the domain expire one day and you can buy it then. Personally, I’ve done both.
PRO TIP: If your domain involves a word that is often misspelled, get the misspelled version too. You can set that up with your web host to redirect to your primary website. This way, if someone misspells the address, they’ll still find you. This is why my husband also got weselpants.com when he purchased weaselpants.com.
And this is just the first page or two of the book. There’s a lot more in this chapter to set you on the right path to creating a quality website, and how to get all the services you need.
Chapter 6: Styling Your Content
This chapter tells you simple tips to make your site and newsletters look professional, instead of amateurish. Topics include:
- How to use bullets
- Color contrast for easier reading
- Font choice
- Font size
- Font style
- Font combinations
The chapter gives visual examples of good and bad text. And has visual demonstrations of how to properly combine fonts so they look professional.
Chapter 7 is about Getting the Site Made
This chapter covers a variety of topics, such as:
- Doing it Yourself
- How to Find a Web Designer/Developer
- How to Choose a Web Designer/Developer
- How to Work with a Web Designer/Developer
You get a lot of detail on all of those subjects, so you have a better experience in finding the right professional, and in understanding how to work with them. And there are tips for those with the time and tech savvy (and no budget) to try the DIY approach. The book also addresses what mid-size to larger businesses need to look for when hiring for in-house professionals.
Chapter 8: What To Do When Things Go Wrong
It’s uncomfortable and something no one wants to think about. But these things happen. I see them all the time (which is sometimes how I end up with new customers; they need help).
The chapter covers:
- Web Designer Vanishes
- Can’t Access Domain Registrar and/or Web Host
- I Don’t Have the Email Address I Used to Sign Up for a Domain and/or Web Host
- Project Taking Too Long
- Web Designer/Dev Uses Stolen Material to Create Your Website
- My Site Is Not Working!
- My Site Visitors are Complaining About My Site
- Someone Stole My Stuff!
The last chapter covers website promotion. Everything from search engine marketing to social media. That’s a lot of ground to cover; I address best practices for SEO and the most popular social networks, and if you, your business, or non-profit should or should not use certain types of social media.
Like what you see? The book is available as a a downloadable PDF on this site. It is also available for Kindle on Amazon. Later: it will be available for Nook through Barnes and Noble.
Can’t wait for Nook, Smashwords or Goodreads?