SET UP YOUR SITE
Now that you have your topic, you’ve researched your market, and you have composed a fabulous series of autoresponder messages, you’re ready to put together the other crucial component of your successful autoresponder campaign: your web site.
Your web site will serve double duty as a sign-up point for opt-in subscribers and a sales point for subscribers who have decided to buy. There are several things you must consider when setting up your web site.
Name your domain
What’s in a name? Your domain name, technically, is the words in the middle of the string of characters you type into a web browser, generally preceded by www and followed by .com or another extension, that loads your web site onto your computer. Choosing a domain name is one of the most important steps in setting up your site.
Try to choose a domain name that is easy to remember and spell (for example, www.topmarketing.com rather than www.supersalesextravaganza.com). You should avoid odd or alternate spelling (www.craZmonee.com) and use as few underscores, dashes and special characters as possible. People will be more likely to visit your site if they are able to instantly memorize your web address and don’t have to bother using a search engine or backtracking through several previously visited sites to find yours.
There are literally hundreds of millions of web sites available on the internet. This means many domain names are already taken. When deciding on your domain name, come up with a list of your three or four top choices and then search for availability at a site like Checkdomain.com or Register.com. If all of your names are taken in the .com domain, look for a .net, .org, .cc or .info domain instead.
NOTE: If your product is an affiliate program, you will probably have a domain name assigned to you by the parent company. In this case, you should sign up for a free NameStick account (as discussed further in this chapter).
Web hosting: free or fee?
Why should you pay for a web site when you can get one for free? There are several advantages and disadvantages to consider when choosing between free and fee hosting companies for your web site:
Will you have your own domain name? With free web sites, domain names are nearly always structured this way: www.hostcompany.com/yoursitename. This makes your URL difficult to remember, and you may lose sales as a result.
Will your web site allow high traffic volume? Free sites have bandwidth restrictions. This means that after a certain amount of people in a given day visit your site, the page will no longer load and potential customers will receive a message such as “This web site has exceeded its bandwidth limit. Please try again tomorrow.” Some free sites provide sufficient bandwidth, especially if your site is light on graphics…but many do not.
Will your web site be online at all times? Some servers are better than others. With a free site, you run the risk of downed servers showing visitors the dreaded “Error 404: Page Not Found” message when they click over to your site. Most paid sites have precautions to deal with server failure.
Will you have to become a computer programmer? Before signing up for any web site service, find out whether they have templates and easy-to-use site building tools—or whether you have to create your pages in HTML code. If you plan to use a program like Dreamweaver or FrontPage to create your site, this won’t matter. But if you’re not, and you don’t know HTML, you need to make sure you will be able to put things on your web pages with relative ease.
Will your visitors mind outside advertising and/or popup ads? Probably. Most free sites use outside advertising on all their pages—this is how they make money. Banner ads are usually acceptable, but if you have a page with three or four popups that spring out at unsuspecting visitors, they’ll be quick to leave and never come back. Find out what type of advertising the hosting company uses before signing up for a free program.
This is not to say you absolutely should not go with a free site. Particularly when you’re first starting out, a free site may be just what you need, and you can always upgrade to a paid site. For that reason, you should look into a web hosting company that offers both free and paid sites (or just start out with a paid site).