So you need to get a web site done quickly? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Define The Job.
What do you want the site to do? Successful projects are ones where the intent is well-defined. Avoid going off half-cocked buying software or services you don’t need. Changes mid-build can be very expensive; just like building a bricks-and-mortar house!
2. Suit The Design To The Purpose.
Do you just want a simple site, like a placeholder? Do you want something even an amateur can edit? Or do you want a CMS with Ajax and a coffee maker?
A super-simple site: Use a text-to-html generator to create web pages from text files. Then use an index generator to make an index HTML page of these files. Tart these pages up in a WYSIWYG web page editor. Then FTP upload them to your webhosting account. Voila! A super-simple web site.
What, you want something fancier?
Get a web hosting account with Cpanel and Fantastico. Look for the ‘WordPress’ option in Fantastico, and install it. Then get a search-engine optimised theme for your blog; the default install isn’t search-engine friendly.
Hey presto, you’ve got a Web 2.0 site! Blogs are good because Google likes them, and you can edit them easily from their admin panel.
Want something more complicated? Consider using a freelance.
3. Use Freelances For Jobs You Lack The Skills For.
Is your budget tight? Try http://www.scriptlance.com or http://www.rentacoder.com. The key to getting the best work is to a) be a specific as possible as to what you want and b) write your specification in simple, concise terms. Your work will likely be done by someone who’s first language is not English. Most people give a vague specification and get work they’re not happy with.
Pick someone who’s had a lot of favourable reviews recently. Pay in stages. Use the freelance site’s escrow service. Don’t expect to get more than you paid for, and don’t be cheap; if someone does a good job, they deserve a bonus, not carping.
4. Promotion Is As Important As Content.
A site can only be good if people know about it. Promotion on the internet is mainly a) ‘Word of mouth’ and b) Links. The latter help you site move up the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). So you need a site which has something people really want (which will generate word of mouth) and backlinks to get free search engine traffic.
Links can be garnered from free articles, press releases and submitting your site to a few directories. Fire them off, then forget about them.
5. The More You Learn, The Better, But …
It’s good to learn how the software works. You can customise it, or fix it if it goes wrong. You can talk to a developer in his language.
Try to keep your eyes on the prize; the end goal of the project. Avoid getting bogged down in minutiae. The internet if full of geeks living in their mom’s basement who know the ins and outs of every software you can think of. Their bosses are the ones making the _real_ money.
Focus on the end goal; you’ll make better decisions and the getting there will be much less stressful.