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Once you have decided to build a website, there are three essential steps you will want to take.
You will want to choose a domain name (web address)
for your site. For example, the web address or URL for this site is "www.sitesfortherapists.com". Your site might be something like "www.annjonesmft.com", or it might be "www.drsmith.com". A personalized domain name that you select is more likely to be remembered by others. A URL like "www.aol.com/hometown/personalpages/drsmith"is not. There are a variety of internet sites that check domain name availability and offer registration services. Homestead Technology is one of the providers that not only offers this service, but will pay your yearly domain name renewal fee as long as you are with them!
You will want to select web design software to build your site. You could spend anywhere from a few hundred for beginner level programs and up to a thousand dollars for professional web building software. The big advantage with Homestead Technology's SiteBuilder, is that it is included as part of the package! Homestead includes this outstanding and easy to use software for all their customers.
You will want to select a web "hosting" service. A web hosting company provides the "servers" or hardware that allows your site to appear on a computer when someone types in your web address. Though there are many web hosting companies, not all offer a complete "package" including domain registration, site building software, and hosting. Homestead is the leader that offers this advantage to it's customers.
Here are some additional "tips" that are helpful for anyone building their first website. This is by no means an exhaustive listing of all the information you will need. It is intended to offer some direction as you explore this new territory of site building.
Consider buying a book that offers web design ideas. There are any number of books available online. Go to one of the online book sellers and see what they have. Another way to get ideas is to type on the word "psychotherapist" in your search engine and see sites that your colleagues have built. Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
It's OK to start small. It's quite alright to start with a one-page site and add to it as you become more familiar with the site building process. Many people build a simple site to start and then develop multi-page sites as they have additional time, skills, and knowledge.
Put your picture on your site. It gives your site a more personal touch and gives potential clients a sense of meeting you in some small way. You will be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to use a digital camera or a scanned photo to get your picture on your site. Homestead's SiteBuilder makes this a simple job!
Be sure your office address, phone, and e-mail are clearly displayed. Though this may seem obvious, some first timers forget this important step.
Decide if you want to list your fees or suggest they call you for a quote. This is your own judgement call and personal choice. One advantage of potential clients calling, is that you have the opportunity to make personal contact and begin a relationship.
Start marketing your site as soon as possible. Once you have your site up, put your web address on anything and everything. That includes business cards, stationary, brochures, and the yellow pages.
What is Homestead? Homestead is an integrated Web site building and hosting service.
What is a personalized domain? This is an easy to remember web address that is selected by you.
This would be be something like "www.my-sitename.com". This would be provided on the "Gold" hosting plan. This is different than a Homestead "site address", for example, "www.[your sitename}.Homestead.com. Those on the "Silver" hosting plan with one "site address" would have this type of web address. They can, however, upgrade to a personalized domain at any time.
What is disk space? This is the amount of data that can be stored on your site.
What is bandwidth? This is the total amount of data that can be transmitted or downloaded from your site per month. For example, a Gold account includes 15GB (gigabytes)=approximately 15000 MB (megabytes) per month. If you had a large file of 5MB, this would be enough bandwidth to download the file 3000 times.
What about e-mail? To receive e-mail at your site, you need to have a personalized domain address.
The Homestead Gold, Platinum, and StoreFront plans include matching e-mail acounts with each domain address.