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  • an Project Management eBook

    Best Practices forDeveloping a Web Site

  • 1

    contentsPaul Chin (www.paulchinonline.com) is a freelancewriter and journalist. He has previously worked inthe aerospace and competitive intelligence indus-tries as a software developer and intranet specialist.He currently writes on a wide range of IT topics,including systems development and security, digitalcommunications and media, content managementand Web design.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    2 Developing aWeb Site Strategy

    4 Defining theWeb Site Concept

    7 Web Site Anatomy 1019 Build In-House vs.

    Outsourcing

    13 Finding a Home forYour Web Site

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]

    2

    4 7

    9 13

  • In themid-1990s the business question of the day was Doyou have aWeb site? A well-designedWeb site was anew and excitingmarketingmedium that businesses andusers alike saw as a novel, nice-to-have tool. Fast-forward adecade and nice-to-have has given way to necessity, andquestions of Web presence have given way to questions ofWeb purpose.

    Nowadays, its no longer aboutwhether you have a Web site butrather how your Web site repre-sents your business, and whetheryoure using the medium to itsfullest potential. A Web site is abusinesss face to the world; andas such, it must reflect the toneand style of the business in a pro-fessional and polished manner. Sowhy, after 10 years, are there stillso many poorly designed businessWeb sites? Simple: Becausetheyre easy to build.

    With all the commercial and freeware do-it-yourselfWeb tools on the market and the relative ease withwhich they can be used everyone who knows how toturn on a computer considers themselves a Webdesigner. But Web sites are much more than the sumof the bits and bytes that makes up its design. Thereare a lot of pre-development planning and strategyissues to deal with before you can successfully repre-sent a 3-D business on a 2-D medium.

    Representing your business on the Internet requirespreparation and a well thought out strategy. You shouldnever adopt a quick-and-dirty solution simply becausethe advertisement for a particular Web tool boasts thatit can get you up and running in 20 minutes.Professional Web sites dont come in a box theyneed to be created, not unwrapped.

    A truly effective Web site reflectsnot only the image of the busi-ness, but also its objectives.Settling for a cheap and amateur-ish site will devalue your businessand can do more harm to yourprofessional image and reputa-tion than not having a Web siteat all. Remember: Building aWeb site might be easy, butbuilding a good Web site is not.

    Understanding Formand Function

    A professional Web site is a perfect marriage of form(i.e., how it looks) and function (i.e., what it does). Thesite must be aesthetically pleasing, and sometimeseven entertaining, in order to catch the audiencesattention. But the site must also be informative andfunctional in order to provide value for the audiencestime and to get them to come back.

    2 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]

    Developing a Web Site Strategy

    By Paul Chin

    Jupiterimages

    A truly effective Web site reflects not only the imageof the business, but also its objectives.

  • Your Web site must convey a message about your busi-ness to potential clients and customers. Unfortunately,many business owners place too much emphasis on theflash and not enough on the substance. The purpose ofyour Web sites design is to complement its message,not overshadow it. People rarely go to a Web site sole-ly to ooh and aah the design and if they do, theyreunlikely to return because non-functional design gim-micks can get old very quickly.

    When planning your Web site, its important to keep inmind that what you can technologically do with yourWeb site should never take precedence over what you

    must logically do with your Web site. Try to observe athree-to-one ratio of functional content and design ele-ments to non-functional, purely esthetic elements.

    Maintaining this balance, however, can be difficult forsome especially businesses developing their veryfirst Web site. People can be easily blinded by theirenthusiasm for design because thats always the funpart. Content and functionality seems too much likework in comparison. But a well-rounded Web site mustbe equal parts form and function; otherwise, it willseem a little lopsided.

    3 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]

  • The most challenging part of building a Web siteis not so much the nuts and bolts of develop-ment; its the planning and conceptualization.Before any actual designing and development cantake place, you need to define your Web sites mainpurpose, what message you wish to convey, and howthis message will be conveyed.

    You will also need to have a firmunderstanding of your core audi-ence, and cater to its needs andstyle. A graphic design firmsWeb site, for example, shouldntlook like a financial institutionsWeb site because they conveydifferent messages to differentaudiences. The design conceptfor the former must project acreative and hip style whereasthe latter must convey trust andsecurity.

    No one can tell you your Website concept. This is somethingyou need to determine on yourown. Although there are manybusiness- and industry-specificfactors that contribute to a Web site concept, most arebased on your:

    Businesss brand identity Industry type Target audience Web sites purpose Web site goals Online expectations Long-term business goals

    Representing YourBrand IdentityEvery business projects animage, or a brand identity.Millions of dollars are spent cre-ating these brands. They can berepresented by logos (e.g,.McDonalds golden arches,Nikes swoosh, Apples bittenapple), mascots (e.g., theEnergizer Bunny, the GEICOGecko, the Pillsbury Doughboy),slogans, or catch phrases (e.g.,Nikes Just do it, MastercardsPriceless, Verizons Can youhear me now?), personalbrands (e.g., Martha, Oprah,Trump), or a combination of all

    these. What a business does and how it treats its clientsand customers also contributes to its brand identity.

    4 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]

    Defining the Web Site Concept

    Before any actual designing and development can take place, you needto define your Web sites main purpose, what message you wish to

    convey, and how this message will be conveyed.

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  • Brands are used to promote a business in various formsof media, from TV and radio ads to business cards andletterheads to brochures and posters and of course,Web sites. But a branded Web site must go beyondsticking a company logo on a Web page.

    Web sites differ from other forms of promotion. Theyrequire the Web developer to understand not only howaudiences interpret visual content such as a hard copybrochure, but also how audiences interact with multi-media content. The advent of blogs and other Web 2.0technologies over the last several years have givenbusinesses even more creative and interactive ways ofpromoting brand identity.

    Although Web sites provide innumerable possibilities,your business must already have an established brand.You should never undertake a Web design or redesignproject if your business is undergoing an identity crisis,or if you havent yet determined how you want yourbusiness to be represented. Trying to figure out yourbrand identity and your Web site at the same time cancause further confusion.

    Choosing an Effective Domain NameThe domain name plays a very important role in theestablishment of your businesss online brand identity.Its important to consider how your domain name willbe interpreted not in print, but in speech. In print,theres very little possibility for error because thedomain is spelled out. But when youre trying to givesomeone your Web site address verbally such aswhen youre speaking with someone on the telephoneand dont have the luxury of handing them your busi-ness card theres far too much room for interpreta-tion.

    So before you register your domain name, keep the fol-lowing tips in mind.

    1.For businesses, a .com top-level domain (TLD) is amust. Even if you have a .biz, .net, or .org TLD, peoplewill always associate an e-mail or Web site address witha .com.

    2. If someone else has already registered your desired.com domain name, try to avoid settling for an equiva-lent domain with a different TLD for example, set-tling for acmeinc.net because someone else already

    registered acmeinc.com. When you verbally expressyour Web site or e-mail address to someone whodoesnt happen to be sitting in front of a computer,they will most likely type acmeinc.com when they getback to their computer and get someone else. Whilethis might not be a big deal with Web sites, it maypose a problem with e-mail addressesespecially ifthe .com owner has an e-mail catchall address. Your e-mail wont reach your intended recipient and youwont even know it.

    3.An effective domain name requires little to no expla-nation when expressed verbally. Unless your branddepends on it, try to avoid:a. Using numbers because youll always have to fol-low up by saying either Thats the number 3 orThats the word three spelled out.b. Substituting phonetic letters such as magikinstead of magic because youll always have to fol-low up by saying, Thats magik spelled with a k.c. Out-of-context homophones. For example,WriteOfWay.com (right of way) because youll

    5 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]Are You Redesigningan Existing Site?Web sites, like everything else, have a lifecycle. Sometimes they need to be updated, andsometimes they need to be redesigned entirely.Whatever the case may be, you must under-stand your motivation for doing it. Are youlooking to change some design elements tofreshen up an outdated design? Are you updat-ing the entire site to reflect a new brand identi-ty? Or are you redesigning your site for thesake of redesigning it?

    Web site redesign projects must be purpose-driven. They shouldnt be done simply becauseyoure bored with your site and have nothingelse better to do. Your redesign must con-tribute something to your business and, moreimportantly, to your audience. Doing it for thesake of doing it shows lack of focus and com-mitment on your part. And although users mayappreciate a new design every few years, it canbe disorienting to encounter a drastically dif-ferent design too often during a short period oftime.

  • always have to follow up by saying, Thats write asin writing a letter.d. Using acronyms to substitute a long businessname. For example, when spoken, Vs will soundlike Bs, Xs will sound like S, and so son. Plus,no one will remember a name like aiwsdd.com!

    4.Keep it short. For clarity, avoid using more than threeor four separate words. AcmeDesigns.com is OK, butAcmeIncWebSiteDesignAndDevelopment.com is toomuch.

    5.Try to avoid using hyphens because they can be awk-ward to say aloud. If you must use a hyphen (see thenext point), use only one. Saying

    MyCompanyhyphenNamedotcom is fine, but sayingMyhyphenCompanyhyphenNamedotcom is far toocumbersome.

    6.Be conscious of word arrangement. Sometimes, dueto an unfortunate arrangement of words, a hyphen isnecessary to protect the integrity of your brand identi-ty. For example, the IT support community Web siteExperts Exchange wisely used a hyphen in theirdomain name, www.experts-exchange.com. Withoutthe hyphen, the domain name can be interpreted aswww.ExpertSexChange.com. Even minor things likeword arrangement can affect the image of yourbrand.

    6 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]

  • Whenpeople hear Web site they immediatelythink of its design, the flash and the wow-factor.ButWeb sites are made up of many interrelatedcomponents that are dependent on your specific businessand goals.

    Although every business has its own Web site vision,most sites have a basic set of components that need tobe included and issues that need to be addressedregardless of the business:

    Design elements: Designelements define a Web siteslook and feel. They includelayout (e.g., minimalist, spa-cious, multi-columned),typography (e.g., traditional,modern, unconventional),and color scheme (e.g.,bold, subdued, monochro-matic).

    Site navigation: Site naviga-tion type defines the logicalorganization of content. Itsthe mechanism by which users navigate from one loca-tion to another. Common navigation types includetiered menus (parent-child), sequential menus (brother-sister), and site maps (overview).

    Site navigation mechanism: The manner in which thenavigation is carried out and represented. Common

    navigation mechanisms include static menus, drop-down menus, and pop-up windows. Whatever mecha-nism you choose, it must remain consistent throughoutthe site. Dont use a drop-down menu on one pageand a pop-up window in another.

    Site and content architecture: Site and content architec-ture defines the physical organization components(such as applications and databases) and content. Siteadministration, manageability, and security will greatly

    influence your architecture.

    Content: The content youwish to present to users.This can include informationabout your companys histo-ry, employees, and mission;information about yourproducts and/or services; aportfolio of work; a list ofpast projects and clients;and contact information.

    Content formats: The for-mat of your content.

    Common Web site content formats include text,images, PDF files, and audio and video files.

    Style and tone of content: The style of your design ele-ments and the tone of your Web copy will define theoverall mood of your Web site. Style and tone can beformal, casual, humorous, or offbeat.

    7 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]

    Web Site Anatomy 101

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    The style of your design elements and the tone of your Web copywill define the overall mood of your Web site. Style and tone can be

    formal, casual, humorous, or offbeat.

  • Optional components: In addition to the basics compo-nents described above, you can also make use of manyother Web site features: blogs, streaming media, onlinechatting, search engine, search engine optimizationplan, interactive applications, electronic shopping cart(for e-commerce sites), just to name a few.

    The following checklist will help you piece together theanatomy of your Web site (Note: If you already have aWeb site, and are undergoing a site redesign, somecomponents can be reused or retrofitted):

    8 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]

    Defining Web Site AnatomyRequired Web Site Components Details

    Design elementsLayoutTypographyColor scheme

    Site navigationTiered menusSequential menusSite maps

    Site navigation mechanismsStaticDrop-downPop-up

    Site and content architecture

    Content

    Content types

    Style and tone of content

    Optional Web Site Components Details

    BlogStreaming mediaOnline chattingSearch engineSearch engine optimization planInteractive applicationsElectronic shopping cart

    (List any other components youwould like to have on your site)

  • Theres perhaps no bigger single decision affecting theoutcome of yourWeb site than deciding on who willbuild it. It takes a talentedWeb site designer to properlyrepresent your business in digitalform. Unfortunately, becausemodernWeb design tools make itso easy to whip up a site, toomany businesses try to savemoney by taking shortcuts.

    Although businesses may savehard dollars by foregoing pro-fessional Web development services, they dont real-

    ize that a poorly developed Web site can have a neg-ative impact on their business and their ability to win

    potential clients and cus-tomers. People arent alwaysforgiving of established busi-nesses that have poorlydesigned Web sites.

    Those charged with building aprofessional Web site must beequal parts designer, developer,information architect, and mar-keter. It requires expertise in the

    following fields:

    9 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]

    Build In-House vs. Outsourcing

    Field Purpose Contributes to:Design Aesthetics Visual appeal and overall user experienceDevelopment Functionality Usability and site/content architectureMarketing Content Content and messageCommunications Message Context and the manner in which content is conveyed

    Here's a look at the pros and cons of developing your Web site in-house or outsouring the job:

    Pros Cons

    In-house Gives you 100% control over the project. Must have equal expertise in design,development, marketing, and communications.

    Keeps talent and knowledge in-house, allowingfor future enhancements, modifications, and Unless already familiar with Web site conceptsredesigns without having to incur the additional and technologies, theres a learning curve thatexpense of rehiring outside designers. your schedule might not accommodate.

    Outsource Professional Web site designers build sites for a Web site design and development expertiseliving and know all the ins and outs of site can come with a hefty price tag.development.

    You will have to rehire Web site designers Can drastically cut down on implementation if you decide to make enhancements ortime since theres no learning curve problem. upgrades in the future.

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  • In-house: Are You Readyto Do It Yourself?Those tasked with the responsibility of building a Website must have an understanding of the fundamentalprinciples and concepts associated with Web devel-opment. You wont do yourself or your business anyfavors by leaving the job in the hands of aCommunications intern with a dog-eared copy ofLearn Dreamweaver in 10 Days. So before you com-mit to building your own Web site, answer these keysquestions first:

    Do you have the expertise to do this?This is the deal-breaker. If you dont have the expert-ise to build a Web site you dont even need to answerthe other questions. Asmentioned earlier, theperson or team responsi-ble for building a sitemust employ design,development, marketing,and communicationstechniques equally. If theperson or team is lackingin any of these areas,your professional Website will end up lookinganything but.

    Do you understand the technologies and the tools?Web sites can be built with many different technolo-gies (e.g., XHTML/CSS, Flash, ASP, PHP, AJAX) andjust as many different tools. They all have their advan-tages and disadvantages. The technologies and toolsyou decide to use can affect the longevity of yourWeb site.

    Web sites must be built using accepted and estab-lished standards. Choosing proprietary technologiesand tools considered outside industry norms coulddramatically shorten your Web sites lifespan. Theowners of these proprietary technologies and toolsmight one day decide to stop supporting them, orthey might simply go out of business. Youll then bestuck with a Web site thats based on obsolete tech-nologies.

    Are you ready to commit to a deadline and acceptresponsibility for the project?A Web site can help a business land new contractsand open new markets, but it doesnt bring in anydirect revenue (unless youre building an e-commercesite). As a result of this, your professional Web siteoften takes a backseat to other revenue-generatingtasks. And more often than not youll wind up saying;Ill work on my Web site when I have time. This candrag on indefinitely. If youre going to build it in-house, you have to treat it as a real priority or it willnever get done.

    Whats your project scope?The probability of success is relative to the scope ofthe project, the experience of the design and devel-

    opment team, the amountof time youve allocatedto the project, and youravailable resources. Evenif you have in-house Webdevelopment expertise,the scope of the projectmight exceed your abilityto carry it out.

    Outsource:Finding the RightDesigner

    Just because youre outsourcing your Web site projectdoesnt mean you dont have any work to do. Yourbusiness is far too valuable to simply roll the dice whenselecting a Web designer. You need to make sure youselect the right people for the job.

    Its never a good idea to settle on your first candidate.You should take a high level look at a broad range ofdesigners and make a list of the potential candidatesthat meet your criteria. Then, narrow down your selec-tions to three to five strong contenders for furtherreview.

    When evaluating potential Web site designers, itsbest to learn as much as you can about who they are,what they do, how they do it, how long theyve beendoing it, and what theyve done in the past beforeyou sign a contract.

    10 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]

    Those tasked with theresponsibility of building a Website must have an understandingof the fundamental principlesand concepts associated with

    Web development.

  • Assess background, credibility, experience, andknowledgeNot all Web site designers are created equal.Unfortunately, there are plenty of designers claimingto be so-called experts who are more than happy tocharge you a premium for their services. Its your jobto separate the professionals from the wannabes.Interview your potential designers and developers,review their portfolio, and ask for a list of their previ-ous clients. Also, take a close look at their Web site.Be wary of Web site designers who profess to knowwhat you need and extol the virtues of a professional-ly designed Web site but have a shoddy Web sitethemselves.

    Speak with past clientsWhen interviewing your potential designers, you knowthat theyre going to promise you the moon becausethey want to win the contract. But experience tells usthat whats promised isnt always whats delivered. Ask

    your candidates for a list of past clients and get intouch with them for some unbiased opinions.Questions you should ask include:

    Did the designer(s) have a good grasp of what thebusiness does and what it hopes to accomplish withits Web site? How well did the designer(s) work with the business(especially those who arent technically inclined), andwere there any interpersonal issues? Did the designer(s) deliver what they promised onschedule? Was there a steady stream of communicationbetween the designer(s) and the business? Did the designer(s) answer the businesss questionsin a timely manner? Were the designer(s) receptive to the businessssuggestions and ideas? Did the designer(s) provide adequate post-deliverysupport?

    What are they going to deliver?Its normal to call your Web site designer when youneed drastic changes to the sites structure or design,but you must be able to manage the content withoutthem. Make sure that your designer provides you withthe means and ability to perform content updates,and that they wont lock your content in binary files.For instance, it will be impossible for a business tomanage its content on a purely Flash-based Web siteif it doesnt have a Flash development tool and theknowledge to use it. No business should ever have tobe at the mercy of its designer every time it wants toupdate Web content or correct a typo.

    Another thing to be wary of are Web sites deliveredwith a proprietary content management system(CMS). Some people appreciate this because it allowsthem to manage their content without having to dealwith the technology and inner workings of their Website. Others, however, may find these proprietary

    CMSs too constricting, preferring instead to have fullaccess to the physical structure. Regardless, if a Website is to be delivered with a proprietary CMS, youmust ensure that the Web site can be ported awayfrom, and exist outside of, that CMS. No Web siteshould ever be locked inside a proprietary tool.

    Are there going to be any ownership issues?Make sure that all candidates will give you full, exclu-sive rights to your Web site in its entirety upon com-pletion: Design, images, source code, and content.Some unscrupulous designers will act as thoughtheyre doing you a favor by hosting your completedWeb site on their servers, and will then charge you afee if you decide to move your Web site to anotherWeb host. Or, they will purposely write unnecessarycode and call it proprietary technology and chargeyou extra for the source.

    11 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]

    When interviewing your potential designers, you know that theyregoing to promise you the moon because they want to win the contract

  • 1The size of a design company should only be used to gauge its ability to handle large projects, never to gaugethe quality of its work. A talented solo freelance designer working out of a home office and a large company with30 designers can both build a professional Web presence site. But the larger company will have the luxury of allo-cating multiple designers for a complex e-commerce site, thus cutting down development time.

    12 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]Evaluating Web Site Designers

    Criteria Designer 1 Designer 2 Designer 3

    Size1 (number of designers in the company)

    Years in businesses

    Previous clients

    Location (determines accessibility duringdevelopment and post-production support)

    Vendor neutral?

    Has knowledge and experience with(list technologies/tools)

    Technologies/tools favored

    Post-production training

    (List any other criteria for comparison)

  • Where yourWeb site will be hosted depends onyour site components and business needs. Thereare plenty of service providers to choose from,each trying to outdo its competitors and promising to offermore for less money. Your job is to wade through all themarketing and find aWeb site host that meets your currentneeds while still having enough wiggle room to accommo-date future expansion.

    Take a birds eye view look atall potential Web site hostsand evaluate:

    Cost: Most Web site hostscharge by the month but willoffer substantial discounts forone year or multi-year con-tracts.

    Disk space: Large docu-ments, high-resolutionimages, audio files, and videofiles can take up a lot of diskspace in a short period oftime. If your Web site is going to be content and multi-media heavy, you need to ensure the Web site hostprovides adequate storage for your current and futurefiles.

    Transfer limits: Web site traffic will vary from month tomonth, but if youre expecting a lot of traffic, or youplan to stream multimedia content like audio and

    video, you must make sure the hosts transfer ceilingisnt too low. Youll most likely incur additional chargesfor exceeding your allotted monthly transfer limit.

    E-mail support: If your business doesnt have its owndedicated mail server, youll need to make sure theWeb site host provides an adequate number of e-mailboxes for all your employees as well as adequate stor-

    age per mailbox.

    Technology support: If yourWeb site is going to containuser applications (e.g., PHP,Perl, .NET) and/or databas-es (e.g., MySQL, MS-Access,PostgreSQL), check to see ifthe Web site host actuallysupports them.

    Backbone security and fail-safes: The more fail-safemeasures a host has, themore likely your Web sitewill survive a system crash

    or failure. Fail-safe measures also help minimize serviceinterruptions associated with blackouts. Typical fail-safemeasures include regularly scheduled data backups,uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), backup genera-tors, and a formal disaster recovery plan.

    Once youve weeded out the hosts that dont meetyour needs, you can use the table below to help you

    13 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]

    Finding a Home for Your Web Site

    Jupiterimages

    Your job is to wade through all the marketing and find a Web sitehost that meets your current needs while still having enough wiggle

    room to accommodate future expansion

  • narrow down your choices until you arrive at a suitable Web site host:

    14 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]

    Evaluating Web Site Hosts

    Features and Criteria Host 1 Host 2 Host 3GeneralWindows supportUnix supportCost per monthCost with annual contractDisk spaceMonthly transfer limitFee for exceeding transfer limitDomain(s) name included in packageFTP accountsMultimedia streaming support(Real, Quicktime, Windows media)

    E-mailNumber of mailboxes includedSize per mailboxAttachment size limitVirus protectionSpam filteringPOP3 and SMTP supportIMAP supportCatch all addressAutorespondersWeb-based e-mail access

    Development SupportCGI-BIN directoryDirectory securityServer-side include supportPHPPerlASP.NET

    Database SupportMS-AccessMS-SQLMySQLOracleDB2PostgreSQL

    continued

  • To avoid the administration hassles of having to deal with a separate Web site host and domain name registrar,register your domain name with the same service provider as your Web site host. Or better yet, choose a Web sitehost that includes a free domain name registration.

    If, however, you would like to register and park your domain name for safekeeping, but are not ready to subscribeto a Web site hosting package, the following table can be used to evaluate potential domain name registrars sep-arately from Web site hosts:

    15 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]Evaluating Web Site Hosts continued

    Features and Criteria Host 1 Host 2 Host 3Backbone SecurityServer backups (i.e. UPS)Facility backup (i.e. generator)Data backup (i.e., tape)Frequency of data backupsDisaster recovery plan

    Customer Service and Technical SupportToll-free numberE-mailChat (IM)Availability (i.e. 24/7, business hours)Average turnaround time

    Evaluating Domain Name Registrars

    Features and Criteria Host 1 Host 2 Host 3Cost per yearCost per multi-year registrationPrivate registrationAuto-renewalTransfer lock (to prevent unauthorizeddomain transfers)Domain transfer fee(List any other criteria for comparison)

  • 3-D Vision in a 2-D WorldMany professional Web sites fail due to poor planningand strategy. Some businesses do a haphazard jobbecause they just want to get it out of the way; othersare so excited about seeing themselves on the Webthat they make foolish decisions without thinking themthrough.

    Before starting your Web site project, you need to havea clear view of what you want to accomplish with your

    business and your Web site. A lack of vision in your 3-Dworld will carry over to your 2-D world. Eventually, peo-ple will simply stop paying attention to both.

    Paul Chin (www.paulchinonline.com) is a freelancewriter and journalist. He has previously worked in theaerospace and competitive intelligence industries as asoftware developer and intranet specialist. He currentlywrites on a wide range of IT topics, including systemsdevelopment and security, digital communications andmedia, content management and Web design.

    16 Best Practices for Developing a Web Site, an Internet.com Project Management eBook. 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.

    Best Practices for Developing a Web Site[ ]