Whether you choose to design a website from scratch or use a free Web template to design a website for your online business, there are many things to ask yourself before you get started:
1. Do you plan on selling products on your website? Will you need a shopping cart to collect payments?
2. Do you plan on displaying articles or having a blog?
3. Do you plan on having advertising on your website?
4. Does the website design need to be interactive for site visitors?
5. Do you want to run your website through a content management system (CMS)?
6. Does the website need to include an audio or video player?
7. Would your target market appreciate a flashy design, or something simple?
Once you've answered those questions, it's time to design a website for your online business. There are a few general options to consider when deciding how to design a website:
1. Hire a professional Web designer and/or Web programmer to create a custom Web design and backend system or e-commerce solution, including any necessary tools. You can find great programmers and designers at websites such as and . When you post a project on either of these services be sure not to choose a bidder just because they are the cheapest. Choose someone with a very long history of positive feedback.
2. Design a website yourself if you already have the Web design and coding skills (or take the time to learn HMTL/XHTML/CSS/PHP etc.). I only recommend this option if you are very technical and very quick. Your time is best spent on building your business not learning the details of web design -- unless, of course, you want to get into the business of web design.
3. Use a pre-designed Web template from free Web template providers, or purchase a Website template. You can use Web templates as-is, or customize them to fit your needs. A great source for templates is .
4. If you don't have any experience with creating websites and you do not want to hire a designer then there is still an option for you. I like to refer to this option as a Website-In-A-Box or a Store-In-A-Box. Basically the service gives you everything you need to get your website online quickly and easily. Yes, you have to pay a little more for these services and some of them even take a percentage of every sale but your website design will not stand between you and your ultimate goal -- making money online. Some examples of these services are Yahoo Small Business (), , and .
No matter how you decide to design a website for your online business, make sure that the website design serves the needs of both your online business and its customers or target visitors.
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