How to run a website

As a new website owner, what do you do?

Many people back off from getting a website simply because they don't know what is involved — or what to do with it once the website is built.

Truthfully: you do not need to understand all the technology that makes the Internet (or even your computer) work in order to run a website. (There are probably very few people who have all that information.)

But you'll still need to know

Once your website is completed, tested and uploaded to your web hosting space, this page of helpful tips will get you rolling.

Make sure your website allows people to contact you
Your website must have contact information — an email address(es), telephone number, etc. If anything changes, update your website.

Email Program: make sure your email program (such as Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird) is properly set up -- and check several times a day for new email. You never know when someone is trying to contact you, and prompt responses are great customer service.

We help our clients by walking them through the setup process to ensure their email program is set up to receive email from their websites —

Internet Promotion
Search EnginesThe next thing to do— online as well as off-line — is to ensure that it can be found on the Internet. Once your website is launched, it should be submitted to the major search engines. We also highly recommend submission to the major directories.

  • Search engine: a website that allows you to search for websites by topic.
  • Directory: a website with a physical hierarchy of website listings.
What confuses the matter, nowadays, is that most search engines now have directories, and most directories are searchable. A directory will have a hierarchical list of categories, and website listings within the categories. That's the difference.

It is important to be listed in the major directories: Yahoo!, LookSmart, ODP/DMOZ, for starters. Yahoo! has a paid review submission service for commercial websites (you pay for the review); the cost is minimal ($299) but the effect is maximal. LookSmart has a pay-per-click service (you pay for every click to your website). However, because how you write your submission heavily impacts your chances of getting accepted (as well as your website's chances of being found on the Web, even if accepted), ensure that yours is properly written to include the kinds of terms people will use at search engines to find what you have to offer.

Letterhead, Business Cards and So On
Make sure your letterhead contains your domain name ( and your email address. Same with your business cards, your answering machine or service, and the like.

Email "Signatures". Dropping your email address, and use your website email address. When you send out email, make sure it has a "signature" at the bottom. People are busy and can forget where they found you, or may not have noted your contact information, so make it easy for them with an email signature:

Your Company
(111) 111-1111

You can set up your email program to do this automatically — search your email program help files for instructions.

Microsoft Outlook Express: Tools/Options/Signatures/New. Edit (create) your "signature" and click "Okay. You're done.

Word of Mouth (and email) — Tell Your Friends
There is no denying it — word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways of promoting. Take advantage of the people who already know you -- but don't flood their inboxes with excessive ads.

Aside from an initial email announcing your new website and what it offers, make sure that if you're including friends, family and business associates in your email list, you're offering them something of interest. This is business.

A couple of caveats:

  1. Do not buy "millions of email addresses" from anyone, unless you've verified beyond a shadow of a doubt that the email address owners actually agreed to receive advertisements for services or products such as those you offer. This is called an opt-in email list. To do otherwise is illegal in some states, hated in most, and can ruin your business reputation, among other things.
  2. When you send out email announcements, newsletters and the like, send the original to yourself and bcc (blind carbon copy) everyone else. The point is to ensure that your recipients do not all see your entire email list. They may not appreciate your providing their email addresses to all and sundry, may feel it an invasion of their privacy, and your entire email list may end up in the hands of someone with "millions of email addresses" ... including your list.

Customer Service
What is true off-line (in the "brick and mortar" world) is true online as well — customer service is of paramount importance. If someone contacts you, you should respond — sooner rather than later.

  • If they order something, ship it.
  • If they want information, give it to them.
  • If they call you, talk to them.
  • If they email you, respond!

Above all, when dealing with customers -- be nice!
Customers are the life blood of your company. It pays to treat them well, and you may make some friends in the bargain.

Diane Vigil founded DianeV Web Design Studio, has served as a consultant to numerous companies, as a moderator and administrator of the JimWorld SearchEngineForums and Cre8asiteforums, on the Site-Report Experts Panel — and has designed and built numerous websites since 1997.

DianeV Web Design Studio

© 1998- DianeV Web Design Studio. All Rights Reserved. :: Privacy/Legal/Return Policy. Any unauthorized reproduction
or distribution of the contents of this website is a violation of copyright law and may result in severe civil and criminal penalties.