Building a Free or Low Cost WebsiteWritten by Mike Harding
Is it impossible to build a really cheap website? Most definitely not! I am maintaining a very low cost website at moment, in fact site (http://www.echogecko.co.uk) cost a mere £8.00. So, even if you don’t think you can afford to make a website, if you have a bit of change in your pocket, that will be all you need.
Domain Names If you are going to register a domain name then I suggest you shop around registrars for prices. I used 123-reg.co.uk, a UK based registrar who I found most helpful. If you are inexperienced with domain names, I suggest you read up on them, otherwise you may run into some head-scratchers.
Think of a catchy name for your domain, so people will remember it. Then register it. The domain may take 24 hours to be registered but in that time you can be finding a web host.
Web Hosting Unless you have a fast computer and are always connected to internet, you will want to find a web host, who will keep your files on a big server, and to find a free one shouldn’t take you that long, but most of them put their own pop up, or built-in adverts, which can ruin way your website looks when you upload it, especially if you used frames.
The best free host I have found so far is portland.co.uk. They are also UK based, but offer a mypage.portland.co.uk sub domain name and no adverts whatsoever. This is a bonus. If you have bought a domain name, they will even host that for free with no adverts or transfer fee. Although I have experienced some technical problems with Portland, I believe they are stabilising their service and I highly recommend them.
Website designers and designingWritten by Judy Gillis
How many times have you gone to a site someone recommended, only to have it take "forever" to load? You had been told it was a great site. But how long are you going to wait for fancy backgrounds, 300 dpi jpegs, or animated gifs to load onto your browser? Web designers are sometimes entranced by bells and whistles. "Add sound [animations, photos, you name it] to your site" sounds nice, but wav. files and large filesizes are tedious to load, and consumer is in a hurry to find what he or she is looking for. Fancy pictures don't matter in long run unless it's a "you have to see it to decide whether to buy" issue, and banners (although nice) take longer to load than text links. Two banners per page is maximum I'd recommend. If you must have photos (one of my sites must) then two or three photos per page are all that most people's browsers can handle without slowing down page loading. Frames slow it down even more. Besides, some people have "disabled" frames on their browser preferences because they take too long to load. My philosophy is this: if you have a lot of material on your web pages, even though your business is great and you have a great product/service, you'll drive customers away rather than attract them. The internet set is very impatient. They'll go on to next selection on search engine results. You'll be left by phone or your computer screen wondering why someone hasn't called or emailed. If you are looking for a web designer, choose one that offers simple graphics and backgrounds and recommends small file sizes, is up front about cost and time involved, and suits your website to needs you have. For example: if you are looking to have someone design a personal site, then it's fine to have a few photos, a guestbook, perhaps an e-card service on your site. But if you want to sell something - it makes more sense to give your potential customers information they want as