How to Start Your Website

If you’re planning to start a new business online, but are not particularly tech-savvy, it can be difficult to know what the proper steps are to follow. This brief will get you started in the right direction.

Step 1 Concept

Think of your target audience and briefly define your concept. Review your competition, namely a company that has already “made it”. You will save a lot of time and money by going through this brief review. For example, if you’re planning an ecommerce business, then it would be great to review the TOP 3-5 links from your most well-known competitors and see what their key features are. It is not necessary to copy what they’re doing, but it will help you to obtain some idea of what is needed for the success of your project.

Decide whether you are aiming for a static HTML vs. dynamic website. A static site is where nothing changes; content is uploaded and displayed “as is”. A dynamic website, however, will have data pulled from a database so that you can display your website content by date, category, etc. (e.g. social networks). Here is one trick we would suggest that you consider: It would be great to come up with a minimum and maximum list of MUST-HAVES. In other words, it’s unnecessary to copy ALL OF EBAY, but it would be great to make a list of the major feature sets that align with your vision. This will help you to reduce your initial cost, define a feature list for proof-of-concept with minimum required functionality, and make the concept scalable in the future when it proves to be successful.

Step 2 Workflow brief

Generating a workflow brief is something that helps you analyze:

  1. How new info is coming to your website
  2. What happens next (major user scenarios)

This step will help you give a clear vision for your entire workflow. For example, if you are planning to develop a new social network with video sharing, or an online radio station, or interested to start sports betting website, first you have to review where you are planning to take the content from and in case if you need 3rd party content like live video stream or match scores,  it’s important to identify where that data would be retrieved from via API services and review the API in terms of availability and documentation provided; for example, all betting feeds for match scores, or sports results are usually paid.

We would also suggest creating small sketches to illustrate your vision. Itera Research would be glad to do that for you upon your request.

Step 3 Technology and Price

When you have your concept and the vision for workflow, it’s time to start looking for quotes.

The general recommendations for this are as follows:

  • One should consider that CMS-based development takes less time, although
  •  sometimes CMS is not a good fit when there is a lot of sophisticated, custom-tailored functionality required. In this latter case, it would be more reasonable to consider custom development (e.g. Open source).

For example, for a regular blog, using WordPress would be fine, but for custom product configuration, you may need a strong PHP developer who will be able to add that functionality to your website.

Itera Research comes up with suggestions regarding technology based on the tech review conducted for the requirements provided. We work on websites using .NET and PHP (WordPress, Magento, custom), as well as options to use Symfony2, Yii, and ZEND for custom development.

Step 4 Implementation

Implementation usually consists of the following stages:

  1. Graphic design;
  2. HTML/CSS programming;
  3. Web development;
  4. Testing and deploy.

If you decided to move on based on some CMS like Magento or WordPress, there is an option to consider already one of existing WordPress templates or WP themes, and in this case the first two stages mentioned above, would be done, the cost would be covering just template review and customization but remember that the design and theme will not be unique. Itera Research is glad to offer you full-color graphic design for all your WordPress or Magento projects.

Web development is something that should be planned in advance. When our customers are considering quotes and choosing contractor, we are happy to submit a project plan, milestones, and deliverables per milestone for customers review. Itera Research suggests to divide delivery process by Milestones, and summarize features set to be done per each Milestone along with calendar plan.

The customer is then invited to check the results from the staging server (Itera Research performs deploy into staging server, so that our clients can check the website pages throughout the development process once we have something done and available for a tech review.).

Step 5 Domain Name, Hosting

When you’re ready to deploy your site, it’s time to look for a domain name. The main principle is to make it short, recognizable, and related to your business name or industry.

I would avoid taking the last name of a real person (unless you are Mr. Gates, of course), or choosing famous brand names with one letter changed. Sometimes the strategy can work, but it can make marketing efforts quite difficult, which is part of your overall strategy that you’ll want to be effective.

Consult with tech personnel regarding hosting (this depends on the expected peak loads, technology used on the website, and other factors). For example, clouds are very popular in recent years, and they’re perfect for large-scale heavy projects (with shared servers and large data flow). However, the secret is that some websites simply don’t need to utilize clouds when dealing with small or even mid-sized web apps or websites with small to average dataflow.

Itera Research provides server set-up services for our customers and we would be glad to share our recommendations for hosting (according to project size and technology employed).



Itera Research team