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Checklist: Establishing a Website

Today's information technologies are expanding at an astounding rate, with everyone going online. Establishing and maintaining a website and utilizing social media for your small business can be imperative to the future success of your business. The following guide provides basic procedural information and helpful hints for establishing a website for your business. See FindLaw's Internet and E-Commerce section for related resources.

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Establishing a Website Checklist

  • Choose an Internet Service Provider (ISP)

An ISP will provide you with an Internet account. Your Internet account should include email access, the ability to access other computers, the ability to transfer files between networks, and server space for a website. Your ISP will charge you a monthly fee for its services.

  • Select and Register a Domain Name or Universal Resource Locator (URL)

You should choose a domain name that represents your product and/or services and is easy to remember. The InterNIC Registration Services through Network Solutions, Inc. administers domain names. Before you decide on a name, a full trademark search should be done. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has a free search tool for making limited searches of the federal register of trademarks. You can then search Network Solutions, to determine whether your desired URL is available.

  • Design Your Web Site

Think about what you want to accomplish with your site. You can obtain ideas for your site by looking at the websites of your competitors. You can also use an online website-development service, such as Squarespace, to make a website without having any prior training. Another option is to hire a website developer, which can be expensive but allows more control over the look and functionality of your site.

  • Register Your Site With Different Search Engines

While this guarantees no ranking of your website, it is still a valuable tool to have at your disposal. You can manually submit your site's pages to Google, Yahoo! and Bing.

  • Inform Others About Your Site

Include your URL on your letterhead, business cards, in all advertising materials for your company.

  • Track the Visits to Your Site

Log data software, such as Google Analytics, is available to record the number of hits your site receives. In addition, some ISPs provide access logs. You can ask visitors to your site to complete a questionnaire or to provide input as to your product or services.

  • Keep Your Site Current

No one likes outdated information. Make sure your site is updated. Simply put, your website is a key advertising tool for your business that has the potential of capturing the attention of a large number of people. Maintaining a aesthetically pleasing, and up-to-date website helps to instill a sense of trustworthiness in those who view it.

Next Steps

You have your business idea. Now you need to launch your business. A good first step is creating a website that will attract customers. Be sure to regularly update the quality of your content to reflect your vision. If you have legal questions about domain names, or any other matter, speak to a qualified business and commercial law attorney in your jurisdiction to learn more.

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