Many of my professional peers that are webmasters,  designers and hosting sellers have told me that dumbing it down doesn’t help. I find that to be arrogant because it’s one thing to dumb it down and another thing to make it understandable to those that are not IT professionals Frett

And I think the order of the tasks are not clearly defined.

So, you want/need a website. OK, fine. Now, what do you do? Shop for hosting right?

I say no and here’s why:

Let’s just say you have a service business and you have your van and tools for the job.

Then after working with clients for some time, you notice that there is an opportunity to provide services that are not part of your current skill set.

Do you just go out and buy the necessary equipment, put that in the van and add this service to your price list?

Some people do but then when hired to NetWork Posting  provide that service or to quote a customer on performing the service, do you have the knowledge and additional training to provide it that will be satisfactory manner that the client will like, want and appreciate?

Or will you use this client as a guinea pig to test your new equipment?

I’m a webmaster, I sell hosting and design / program websites. And I can’t tell how many time I have had to pass on website projects because they are worm holes.

The problem is that the client wants a website because someone told them they needed one or a client of theirs asked for their website URL and the light bulb went off alerting them that they need a website.

Now If I go into a restaurant and after being seated, the wait person comes over to take my order and I say: Can you bring me some dinner, thank you. What did I just order?

The wait staff has no clue because I didn’t really tell them anything that they could use to fill my request!help

This happens a lot when clients come to me for websites. “I need a website for my business”. OK you may ask: “What kind of business do you have?” or you may ask: “What do want the site to do for your business?”.

Most clients don’t know. Some will even get upset and say: You’re the web person, that’s why I came to you.

That is the worst kind of client and I will normally pass that person on to someone else. Because in my experience this person will not be satisfied no matter what you do.

I do try to explain to that kind of client that I want to build a website that will help build your business and satisfy your requirements. But the client has to first have some real business-related requirements.

Now I don’t to give the appearance that I only cater to a certain clientele but I also want you to know that a large portion of clients who contract out for websites are not happy with the results and blame webmasters for not delivering on what they wanted their website to do for them and their business.

The first thing I have asked clients that have come to me to have prior work reconfigured or totally rebuilt is: “What did you want done that the other design company didn’t do for you?” And: “What planning paperwork or website specs did you provide the other web designer?”

generally they didn’t have a plan going in and still don’t have a clear idea what they want.

I say all of this to make the point that website designers, web hosting sellers, and other IT professionals are not mind readers and if you as a client can’t explain what you want in a website to one of your co-workers to the point that they can see your vision, then how do expect a person, not part of your company/group/organization to know what you need?

But once you can describe in detail what you want, or even if you can explain what you need the website to accomplish but are short on detail, then most professional web designers/webmasters can make recommendations to the client about what will help you to reach your goal.

To walk in/call/email a designer without a plan is like telling a contractor to build you a house with three bedrooms and a couple of bathrooms. What do you think you will end up with when the contractors are done?

To make sure that you will be happy with the final outcome, sit down with your staff, members or family and mock up the site on paper. Visit other sites built for companies/organizations similar to yours.

Make screen captures of the pages you like. make notes how you would change those to fit your need.

Make sure that you get enough website to satisfy your need, allow for growth but avoid paying for more than you need or will even use.

It is possible, for example, to use freely available tools and software instead of paying for a full custom job that will lock you into one design company.

Consider that the #1 blogging platform in use by professionals from MSNBC, CNN, Fortune 500 and others is: WordPress. WordPress software is FREE!!!

Most hosting packages you can get now offer a script that allows you to fill out the form and click a button and your blog is ready for your content! Just like that!

Now where you may need some help is finding new themes and customizing WordPress with your logo and catch phrases. Instead of paying $1,000+ for a custom website, pay a few hundred to have WordPress customised or buy a professionally created theme from people like or you can use one of the hundreds of free themes available for WordPress on their site and as far as the Google can see.

Do you need a store to sell your products? Consider whether you need a full-blown eStore or do you just have a few products to sell or a book to sell per blog entry. Use PayPay Buy Buttons that can be inserted into the blog post and accept credit / debit card from your potential clients.

If you need a full-blown store, consider osCommerce stand alone eStore software or if you have a site based on Joomla (also free) the Virtuemart software modules are free and make for a very professional and stylish storefront.

The problems most people have is tweaking the software to meet your individual goals. This is where you find people with the skill set to provide those tweaks.

That work is far cheaper than having someone or some company create a full-blown site. Because all they’re doing is is making cosmetic changes or installing modules.

Your website will come online faster and if you have people in your organization that can use MS Publisher, MS Word, Photoshop, Fireworks and others, then you have the talent to work on your site.

Because the software is freely available, you can have these “Media Types” download the software and play with it on their computers. Once they demonstrate on a local system that they have the talent and knowledge to make successful modifications to WordPress, Joomla and others, you can apply those changes to the live site online with the confidence that your design ideas will transfer as you expect.

This also opens the door for those young minds to get a taste of web design for free in a safe and controlled environment – their own computer!build

You can visit the Team Far North website for info about hosting for internet marketers but can be applied to any project. Investigating some of the articles there can give you an idea of how to plan for a site and how to do the research that allows you to stay in control.

I mentioned Joomla, Joomla is a CMS (Content Management System), I and many others use this as their main website. The beauty of Joomla is that you can post articles that go live right now or you can schedule them to appear and disappear based on your schedule.

I add my Halloween and Christmas articles in July and August. That way I can handle the in-town activities and/or take the vacation without worrying about my site not being updated.

Now if I have a breaking story, I can always add that into the rotation with no problem. Joomla is setup to accept Google AdSense ads or ads from your local community.

Joomla also has hundreds or free and pay themes for you to choose from. Check out this demo Joomla site I use to show client how easy it is to create a site using Joomla and apply a theme. Normally it takes 10 minutes depending on the internet connection.

The same with WordPress, WordPress will scare you in that you have one form to fill out and then you copy the temporary password they create for you and you log in. You’re Done!

Don’t make this harder than it has to be and be willing to approach a problem from more than one direction.

Don’t get discouraged if your dream solution turns into the impossible solution. Instead review your dream solution using a reality filter and decide what is important and necessary vs the wants and desires that your favorite Star Trek or crime show may have influenced.

Seriously consider if you, the client are the best person to make this decision.

maybe you need to speak to your neighborhood geek and share with them what you want and have them tell what is realistic and possible. Then refactor your website design based on that knowledge, considering your budget and timeline.

The bottom line is this: Web designers/coders are not minded readers. They don’t know how every business works and can’t think for you the client.

If you, the client, can’t explain your desired website wishes/request to a co-worker/member of your organization that may know what the needs are just like you but are having a hard time figuring out what you mean or what you want, how can you expect someone not familiar with your organization to know what you want or need.

Don’t get buried in so-called Web 2.0 requirements. If you need the site to have handicap access, WordPress and Joomla either have that built in or you can get a plugin/module to make that happen. Most of the time those additional add-ins are free.

Know the difference between a Windows Hosted site and UnixLinex Hosted site.

Most of the site online are Unix/Linex hosted sites.

Some sites offer database access. If you need to track members/employees, use WordPress, Joomla, or any of the productivity software, you will need a database.

There are some blog packages like Simplicity that don’t require a database and are used on smaller sites. The tiny space most ISP’s give you when you get internet service from can run Simplicity (and not mush else other than plain HTML pages)

After saying all of this, there are people that still don’t want to be bothered with all of this and would like a simple package ready to go and all it needs is to have content added to it. The Arctic Fox Mall Hosting package is one that I found that gives you a ready to go package waiting for content.

Understand that hosting means the hosting company gives you the web real estate and you are responsible for putting houses (web pages) on the property.

If you have problems getting your pages to work because of your own lack of knowledge, the hosting company is not responsible for solving your coding problems. Now if you have known working code but something on the hosting package is not working, then the hosting service needs to address that.

Instead of throwing away your old computer, use it as a test web server. Put PHP on it and test runs WordPress, Joomla, and others. PHP is free as well.

The software above features training and F.A.Q. pages to help you figure out how to use their software. It’s up to you to know what you want to be done.

If you say: I want a website and I put up one HTML page with your name on it, that’s your website! It’s a page available from anywhere in the world. Since you didn’t ask for anything more than a website, you got what you ask for plus a bonus because you didn’t ask for your name to be displayed but it was added as a custom service.

Extreme example but legally sound. (depending on your legal budget and the killer instinct of your lawyer)

As a client, do your homework before you call your local professional

Programmer/Consultant in Anchorage, Alaska specializing in database-backed websites running on Linex/Unix as well as Windows.

Doing my best to make it simple for small to medium organizations and families to get a site up and running by providing the perfect web hosting package for mid-sized entities: The Ready To Go From Day One! Hosting Package that provides clients with the hosting pre-configured with WordPress, Joomla and PHPbb installed and ready to go. The only thing you need to do is add your content.

You can add a domain of your own or use a subdomain on our server.

Consulting is available. We also can take your Mega bargain Deal package with all the WordPress themes, Joomla themes and other stuff you get and install that for you so you can start selling straight away.