Anyone can set-up a website. Many companies offer inexpensive domain names as a package with online site building software. With a few clicks a site can be up and running within hours, but will it be a site people will want to visit?
If you aren't able to afford a professional website designer to create your site, you still have the opportunity to get some great advice from a professional website consultant. In her book, Million Dollar Website (Prentice Hall), Lori Culwell offers great insight and advice to help improve an existing website or get a new site off to a great start.
Don't be mislead by the title, this is a book about improving your site, not a book about how to make a million dollars. Ms. Culwell guides you step by step through the creation process. In first of four sections, a sample site is used to highlight what doesn't work and why. This section helps you discover what makes a good website and how to define your audience. What you like is not necessarily, what your audience wants or even needs.
Part two covers Research and Discovery. This includes information on how to do research on other successful sites as well as your own site and use your research to improve your site.
(Re)Design and (Re)Development are tackled in part three. Great ideas can easily get lost and overlooked without proper presentation. Putting it all together can be a time consuming and frustrating process. This section covers every aspect of your website from structure, to content and design, to fun features to attract return visitors.
Marketing, Search Engines, and Advertising comprise the final section of the book. Here you learn the what, where and hows of getting your site noticed.
The book doesn't waste space with fluffy filler. All the sections get to important and helpful points quickly. Ms. Culwell does a wonderful job of treating the reader as a partner. She provide concise explanations of the terms and feature she discusses, but never talks down to the reader.
The final chapter is the Web Development Toolbox. It provides a summary of all the chapters major points and useful websites highlighted through out the book. It makes navigating back to important points quick and easy.
This is a great reference book that offers something new every time I page through it. I've checked it out of the library on multiple occasions.