Q: I read the three-part series on setting up a Website, but I’m overwhelmed by the whole dotcom, URL, and design process. What should I do to get my business on the Web?
–S. Errington, Los Angeles
A: I’m glad you read the series–and pleased that you’re exploring the process of setting up a Website. The first thing you should do is determine the type of business you’re running. That is, are you selling products or offering services? This will help you decide the type of site you need–an e-commerce site or an informational site.
If your business is service-based, the process is a bit simpler. You’ll need to set up a Website that has elements such as your business, name, contact information, directions, and brief descriptions of your company’s services. A product-based site is a bit more complex, requiring inventory-management and order-processing features that a full-service solution such as Microsoft’s bCentral (www.bcentral.com) or Bigstep (www.big step.com) provide. These are solutions if you decide that you don’t want to go through the process of registering a domain name and working with a Web host to help you design, set up, and host your site. Whichever route you choose, however, be sure to keep the three-part BE series, “yourbusiness.com,” April 2001, on hand.