1. Domain Registration
If you haven't done so already, please go and register the domain yourself. Whoever has access to this controls your presence on the internet, so do not pass this job to someone else. Domain registration is a simple and easy process and the popular registrars are:
Most registrars will try and sell you hosting with the registration. Avoid this, unless you know the functional and technical requirements of your website. If you don't, then this should only be done after discussions with your selected web developer. Some web developers offer hosting service, but be sure you compare rates.
2. Branding Basics
If you need a logo, most web design companies can develop this for you, but it can be expensive. Alternatively you can source this through online freelancers at Elance. Another way is to crowd-source designers through sites like 99designs; the advantage is that you set the price you are prepared to pay and you get the benefit of dozens of designers working on it. The more you are prepared to pay the more designers work on it.
If you don't have a tagline, get one sorted through an ad agency; most web development agencies don't provide this service. You may want to run a competition within your company
3. Content Basics
Content is King and this is where you should spend most of your time.
First decide on how many pages you think you need, this may change later and that's OK. Since, you know your business best, write up that content yourself. If you lack the copywriting skill-set you can outsource this through Elance as well. Of course, your web developer can do this for you, but its more than likely that they'll outsource it themselves.
Avoid Flash on the home page or on any page your visitors are not expecting it. Flash has its place, like presentations; having said that bear in mind that iphones & ipads don't support flash.
Procure the media you intend to use on the website, be it photos, audio, video, etc,. Your web developer can do this for you, but it'll increase costs, simply because selecting and right media takes time and that costs money. You'll ultimately have to make the selections, so you may as well do it yourself.
4. Bookmark your Competitors
Your competitor sities are excellent sources of inspiration on how to and how not to do things. They are also a good benchmark for your web development agency. Bookmark at least 5.
5. Bookmark Other Websites
We have all come across many well designed sites, so book mark the ones you like. Involve your staff in this exercise as well, it will save you a lot of time and money with the agency.
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