The Anyware Guide
To Building A Web Site

This guide is a plain english guide to building a web site and creating an internet presence for your company.  The focus is for small businesses thinking about entering the world wide web, but the guide is just as useful for non business use.
It discusses what a web site is, what a web site can do for your company, what you can put on a web site, how to build a web site, how to market a web site, the costs involved and how long it will take for the benefits to be realised.

All services described here can be provided by Anyware Ltd ( We will bend over backwards to take the problem of building a web site away from our clients - we know you don't like to lose the focus you have on running your business.
You can be as involved in the process as you like, but the extent of your involvement need only go as far as assisting with the planning of the structure and with the writing of the content.

Why are we giving this information away?
You may wonder why we are giving away the recipe for our business. Aside from the fact that this information is freely available throughout the internet if you know where to look, although it can take a lot of effort to gather, this is our best sales tool.  By presenting Anyware's services in a report that can be freely distributed, our business gets exposure and potential clients get value from our business for no cost.  We may also get to provide particular web site development services to new do it yourself web site developers where we can perform those services more cost effectively than they can themselves, or we may get to provide the whole service to clients who decide they don't want to take the time out of their regular business themselves.


What Is A Web Site?

The Benefits Of A Web Site

What Do I Put On My Web site?

Building Your Web site

How Long Will This Take?


Closing comment

What Is A Web Site?

If you are new to the internet and have never found out exactly what a web site is, then read on.

Extracts from ( defines a web site as:

'A Web site (we prefer the two words rather than Web site) is a collection of Web files on a particular subject that includes a beginning file called a home page.  For example, most companies, organizations, or individuals that have Web sites have a single address that they give you. This is their home page address.  From the home page, you can get to all the other pages on their site.  For example, the Web site for IBM has the home page address of  (In this case, the actual file name of the home page file doesn't have to be included because IBM has named this file index.html and told the server that this address really means
Since it sounds like geography is involved, a Web site can be confused with a Web server.  A server in this context is a computer that holds the files for one or more sites.  A very large Web site may reside on a number of servers located in many different geographic places.  IBM is a good example; its Web site consists of thousands of files spread out over many servers in world-wide locations.  But a more typical example is probably the site you are looking at,  We reside on a commercial space provider's server with a number of other sites that have nothing to do with Internet glossaries.  A synonym and less frequently used term for Web site is "Web presence." That term seems to better express the idea that a site is not tied to specific geographic location, but is "somewhere in cyberspace." However, "Web site" seems to be used much more frequently.
You can have multiple Web sites that cross link to files on each others' sites.  This simply means that you've identified two starting places or home pages for all the files.
Some publications have begun using the term "Website." We prefer Web site.'

As far as most businesses are concerned, a web site is a tool that they can use to build a presence on the internet.  See the following sections for the benefits and uses of a web site.

For a good, basic tutorial on what the internet is, point your browser at ''.

The Benefits Of A Web Site

Before spending time, effort or money on anything for a business most of us need to know that we'll get more out than we put in.  Building a web site is no exception and here's why you should do it.

An internet presence increases your exposure and customer service levels. Here are some of the ways this will happen:

Your web site can also help you to work smarter, improve efficiencies and save costs.  Some of the ways to do this are:

The set up costs are large and huge efficiencies are gained, but such applications are best considered after you've had a web site for a while and have become familiar with using it.
See for a good example.

What Do I Put On My Web site?

This is the big question, and there are plenty of different right answers.
A web site can range from a one page advert containing your contact details, to literally thousands of pages of information, online databases and transaction processing applications.
The recommendations in this section are intended for a basic site that will get your business started on the internet.

Any good web site will have a welcome or introduction page.  Tell people who you are, what you do, what your specialty is and how to contact you. This could be a future clients first impression, so make sure it's a good one.

Make sure you include a 'mailto:' link with an email address that you want questions and comments about your web site to go to.  If you make the email address one that is used only by the link on your web site, for example '', you can easily keep track of communications that originated from your web site.

If you sell something through your web site you should include products and/or services information.  It's up to you what level of detail you go into, you can list either individual products and services or package deals that you sell.  When deciding how much detail to include, also consider how often your products change and how much maintenance work you'll have.  It can be a good idea to list your prices, either (or both) individually or as package deals.  Again, consider how often your prices change and the maintenance required to keep them up to date.  Also consider how much you want your competitors to know about your pricing structures.

'Tips & tricks' and 'FAQs' (frequently asked questions) pages are both worth considering.
These pages show that you know what you're talking about.  They also give your potential customers something for free, a taste of what's to come, and provide a useful resource that may lure customers back.
Suggest to readers that they bookmark this web page if they find the information useful so that they can find it again easily.  Nothing beats a customer with your web site bookmarked in their browser!

You can create a 'links' or 'resources' page that contains information on and links to other sites that your customers would find useful.  Visitors click on the links to visit the site you've referenced.
For every link you add to your own site you should send a request to the site you link to asking them to create a link to your site.  This is a great way to increase the number of visitors you get from the correct target audience.
Sharing links like this is what puts the 'web' in the world wide web.
Again, suggest to readers that they bookmark this page.

Remember that the more information you have on your web site, the easier it is for a customer to choose whether to do business with you.  The average customer that visits your web site before contacting you is more likely to use your services than the average customer off the street that has not seen your web site.

Once you've decided on the content, you need to come up with a structure that is clear, simple and easy to navigate.  Some useful ideas for your structure are:

For a company new to the web, an 'advert plus a bit' can make a good beginning. Take any existing brochures or advertising material you have, or design some if you don't have any, and add information on products, services, prices, tips & tricks, FAQs and an email contact address as you see fit.
You will find this is plenty to establish your internet presence and for you to become familiar with the web.

Make sure you promote the existing image of your company.  You don't want your customers to visit a web site that has a look or feel that's different to the company image they are used to.

Multimedia content on your web site can grab a customers attention or turn it away.  Animations should be small and quick to load and just cute enough to be interesting, for example a small spinning logo.
Do not make them annoying or intrusive.  You readers will not stay if they don't like what they see.

Building Your Web site

To build a web site you need a recipe.  Here's how to build a basic site, and get yourself an internet presence, from start to finish.
We begin with an overview of the steps, followed by in depth discussion with all the detail you need.
At each step along the way we've described what needs to be done, followed by what Anyware will do to complete that step if you choose us to build your web site.

Overview of steps:
1. Define your requirements
2. Write The Content And Define The Structure
3. Design the content
4. Create Your Web Pages
5. Find A Host And ISP
6. Upload Your Web Pages
7. Test Everything
8. Market Your Web Site
9. Evaluate Your Web Site

1. Define your requirements

When you can answer the following questions, you will know what you want:

Anyware will conduct a requirements interview with you.
This is easier than it sounds, it can be fun, and you may learn new things about your business.

2. Write The Content And Define The Structure

Use the previous chapter as a guide to deciding what content you want on your web site and the structure you will use to present it.

Start by listing all the key points you want to make in you web site, then design a structure that will accomodate all the information.  The structure should be well balanced and make your pages easy to navigate.

Think very seriously about hiring a professional copywriter.  Powerfully written copy will connect you with your potential customers, and is the most significant factor in converting traffic to sales.

If you can't afford a professional copywriter or really want to do it yourself, you can learn all the secrets here:

Anyware will produce a specification for the structure, layout and content of your web site and a quote from the information gathered in the requirements interview.

3. Design the content

This is the process of designing the text and graphics that will fill the structure you have already defined.

Your text should be in plain language that anyone can understand, it should be clear and informative, but concise.
Pages should be uncluttered and easy on the eye, but not look like an empty wasteland.
Make sure graphics are small and load quickly.  Slow loading pages are a common reason for losing visitors.

In general, people are only willing to read about half the text on a screen that they would on paper, so don't try to make them.

Remember that a well designed and professional looking web site creates credibility for your company, so give your web site content the attention it deserves.

Anyware provide what ever level of service you require for producing the content of your web site.
This can range from proof reading the content, to producing the content from notes that you supply, to producing the content based on the requirements interview and any existing brochures or adverts you have.
We recommend that you have a high level of involvement in this process. We will do a good job of producing your content for you, but you know your business best.

4. Create Your Web Pages

HTML (HyperText Mark up Language) is the language used to define web pages.  Find an HTML guide you find readable and get stuck in, it's not that hard.
You can save yourself a lot of time if you find a web page authoring tool that you like, such as hotdog (, there are plenty of them.

If you have had graphics or logos produced on printed media, try to get a soft copy of them in a format you can use from your printing company. You can save yourself hours of work.

There are 2 valid formats for graphics in HTML: GIF and JPEG.  Make sure any graphics tools you buy can save graphics in these formats.

Beware of scanned logos.  Logos need to have crisp, consistent colours, and scanning them can often produce a dirty image full of slight colour variations.  You may be better off drawing them yourself with a simple image editor - you get one with every computer.
Do run your graphics through WebsiteGarage or a similar service, they'll be smaller and will load faster.

Also beware of too many graphics, graphics that are too large, or pages that are just too big.
A good guide is that graphics should be less than 10K and no page (graphics included) should be more than 50K.
Otherwise pages will be too slow to load.

If you want to display large images, don't force the reader to look at them.  A common solution is to display small images (thumbnails) that can be clicked on to view a large version of the image.

Ensure your pages contain enough text that they can do their job without any graphics being present.  Many surfers turn the graphics off so that pages load faster.

Well presented and easy to understand means well remembered, so get some proof readers who are not subject matter experts to confirm that this is the case.

It's important to go through any HTML produced either manually or by a tool to make sure it's written efficiently.  This can be done either manually, with software written for the job or by a commercial service.  Things that should be done are:

Anyware have a standard web page layout that allows us to charge per page rather than by the hour because we've already done the work of setting it up.  We use our predefined layout with your logos, graphics, colours and company image.  If you choose to use this layout, your site will cost less to develop.
View the layout at

We will provide any service you need, from creating complete web pages, to designing, creating and tuning graphics (including animation), to creating and tuning page structure and content.

5. Find A Host And ISP

The next thing to do is find somewhere to put your web site, a host, and someone to provide you with an email account, an ISP (internet service provider).

There are literally millions of web hosting companies, so choosing one can be a big job if you go about it wrong.  You want to find a comparison of different web hosting companies.  Good places to start include goods and services comparison sites on the internet (see 'Resources') or maybe your local internet magazine.

You may choose a web hosting company that is also an ISP, but this is not necessary.
If your web hosting company is also going to be your ISP, they will provide you with an email account.  If not, you will have to find another ISP.

Choose a web hosting company and ISP and place your orders.  This could take up to a week to fill.

If you want to establish an internet presence for your company or organisation, for both your web site and email communication, then do get a domain name.
A domain name is an address such as '' or ''. This forms a big part of your internet presence and strategy, it's part of your company image.

A domain name is also very useful if you change your web hosting company. You move your web site onto the new host and point your domain name to the new host.  The shift is invisible to your clients because they are still using the same domain name.

See 'Resources' for domain registration organisations.  When you place an order with a web hosting company, they will normally ask if you would like them to organise a domain name for you.  They will order the domain name from the appropriate domain registration organisation and set up the domain name to point to your new site.  You will be billed for the registration cost of the domain name, as well as for your web hosting company to set up the domain name to point to your new web site.

When your web site is made available, your hosting company should give you instructions on how to set up mail forwarding.  You can redirect all email sent to your domain name to the email account with your ISP.

Another option is using a free web hosting provider such as Geocities. This is useful for a small site, but only if you are not interested in establishing an internet presence for your company or organisation.  You can not use your own domain name with a free site like this.

Anyware can organise a host for you, in fact the service we offer is to manage your web site on one of the hosts we use either locally in Wellington, NZ or internationally in California, USA.
The first advantage is that your site can be hosted closest to your largest market (NZ or USA) for faster customer access.
The second advantage is that because you are sharing space on our host, you also get to share the fixed costs.
The third advantage is that we do all the work for you.

You will need to organise your own ISP.  It's less confusing for everybody this way than if Anyware organises this for you - we'd just get in the way of you using your email.
We are certainly willing to help resolve any problems you may have.

6. Upload Your Web Pages

For your web site to work, you need to upload it to your host.

The first step to getting your web site uploaded is to find an FTP (file transfer protocol) program you like.  This is the tool you'll use to upload your web site.

See 'Resources' for some useful FTP software.  Find one you like the look of, download it and instal it.

Your hosting company will have given you the location of your space on the host.  Run the FTP program and upload your web pages to this location, ensuring that you duplicate the local directory structure you have used to store you web pages.

Run your web browser and point it to your domain name - well done if you have a web site that works!

7. Test Everything

Don't learn the hard way why everything in the computing world gets tested.  Test your web site before you release it.
Ask 5 people to jump on to your home page and try out every link they can find.  Get it tested on different browsers too - Netscape and Internet Explorer.

8. Market Your Web Site

So you've got a web site that works, now what? Well people have to be able to find it.

The first step to marketing any web site is getting registered with search engines.  You want to make sure that people who want to find you, can.  That's the easiest money you'll make.
You can go around all the search engines you can find and manually submit the URL (address) of your web site to them, or you can use a commercial service.  It's useful to do a few manual submissions to places like, and to get a feel for the information you need to supply.

There are literally thousands of search engines and directories to submit to, so once you've put the information together and made the first few submissions, use a commercial service such as Anyware to do the rest for you.
A good commercial service will optimise your web pages for the search engines before making the submissions.  Some of the things they will do are:

Submitting your pages to the search engines without optimising them ensures you will never be found in the sea of web pages.

Promote your web site and e-mail addresses on all your traditional promotional and advertising avenues - business cards, letterhead, company vehicles, yellow and white pages.  They are an excellent part of your identity.
Existing clients will see them and be curious.  A web site address on the side of a vehicle will stick in the mind of a prospective client better than a phone number, especially if they didn't think of looking for your services on the internet.
This is a great way to integrate your web site with every day business.

Regular updates are a good way to keep existing customers coming back. If your customers know the latest information is always available, they have more reason to visit.

Build on your links page.  When ever you come across another web site that you think you could get customers from, exchange links with them.
Commercial link seeking services are also available and they can be an effective way to drive business to your site (see 'Resources').

Banner swapping services, such as LinkExchange, can be an good way to increase traffic to your site.
You place one of their banners on your web pages, create a banner using a graphic processing package (see 'Resources') and submit your own banner.
For every two visitors you send them, they'll send one back.  If you want more, you can buy visits.

When marketing a web site, the harder you work, the more visits you'll get.  You need to use cost effective marketing methods and decide where the balance lies for you, between the money and effort you put in and the results you get.

Anyware can provide the following marketing services:

9. Evaluate Your Web Site

Use email links on your web site that are not used anywhere else and ask new clients where they heard about you.
That's the easiest way to see how well your web site is working for you.

Review your web site stats regularly.  See how many visitors you get, how long they stay and what information they look at the most.

Anyware will do 3 quarterly reviews of your stats and evaluate how well your site is working for you, and what can be done to improve it's performance.

How Long Will This Take?

You think you like the sound of this web site thing, but how long will it take for your site to be working for you?

A typical, basic web site can take from 1 to 3 months for Anyware to build and can cost between $1000 and $3000.

Such a web site would contain all the information recommend above and would have enough marketing done to generate something like 5 or 10 hits per day after a few months.

The variation in cost allows for variations in the size of of the web site and whether the information and graphics (like logo's) need to be prepared from scratch or can be copied from existing material.  Cost will also be effected by the level of service required from Anyware, such as content and graphic design or marketing of the web site.

The business generated by any web site will start very slowly (it may take a month to get your first 10 hits), after which it should increase slowly, but constantly.  This increase in business should not slow, especially with regular evaluation of the performance of the web site.

Note that search engines can take up to two months to list your web site address.  This is one reason for the slow start.


Copywriting: Web site health checks: Domain Registration Organisations: Free Web Hosting Organisations: Commercial Web Hosting Organisations:

Closing comment:

I believe the Internet is one of the best things we have ever seen, it has created an unprecedented synergy that can help anyone that uses it.
At Anyware, we are really excited by the idea that we can be part of helping more people to benefit from this medium.

Copyright Anyware Ltd (NZ) 1999.
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