Get your Site Going

PCQ Bureau
New Update

The first thing I try to gauge when I meet a Website client

for the first time is: why he wants a Website. And I try to give him a realistic picture

of what to expect. Sometimes, I have no choice but to refuse the job if client

expectations are too wild. For example, one local courier company expected a foreign

collaboration in six months. It didn’t want to invest in a computer and an Internet

connection–it wanted the Website to do the trick!


Try unconventional ideas for site content. One company put

up its monthly house journal on the Web. As its contents were interesting and useful for

outside readers, this saved the company the effort needed for creating fresh content.

When designing a Website, you need to plan for users coming

in at low connect speeds too–14.4 kbps–and those using older browsers. After an

analysis of over a million hits across 15 of our sites, we found that less than one

percent hits came from browsers older than version 3, but IE and Netscape users were

almost equal in number. I know it’s quite a small sample, but I prefer working with

first hand information. Hence, design for version 4 browsers, but see to it that

older ones also work. A visitor with a version 3 browser should not miss out on any vital

information, or be stuck with not having navigational aids. And there should definitely be

no error messages popping up.

Now comes the feedback part. Once the site is online, do a

regular (monthly?) evaluation of the logs to create a visitor profile. This can be done by

using something as simple as a counter from

You can also try gathering more information about visitors by using a feedback form. This

helps in improving the design and orientation of the site to suit the visitor. This

feedback can be used to create a mailing list too. (A word of caution here: Instead of

directly subscribing the visitors, invite them to join the mailing list.)


Finally, ask for links from every relevant or related site

on a reciprocal basis. Find out where your competitors’ pages are linked and request

for links from those sites as well. Several search engines let you search for all links to

your site (or to any other site). For instance, if you type link: href=""> in the search box at href="">, you’ll get the Web

pages or sites that link to


Here’s a little checklist for a company planning to go

in for a Website.

  1. Ensure that the domain name is really yours. This means that

    on the InterNIC’s whois database, the company name, address, administrative

    technical and billing contacts mentioned must be yours, and not that of your

    designers or Web hosts’. So if you ever want to shift your site to another host,

    it’s easy. You can yourself register your domain at if you know

    the IP addresses of domain name servers that will reference your site (usually, the DNS

    will belong to your Web hosts). But even if you do not know such a DNS, you can register

    your domain from

    The process is fairly easy and the information required of you is your company’s

    name, address, phone and fax numbers. You can also check for the availability of the

    domain name you want.
  2. You must ask the site designer how much space you’d

    need or would be given for the site at the host server. Normally about 5 MB suffices for

    most cases (which can also include a few minutes of real audio/video). Also find out as to

    how much will extra space cost should you require it.
  3. Find out whether you will be given FTP (file transfer

    protocol), telnet and CGI-bin access if you intend to update and maintain the site

  4. Check how many POP3 e-mail accounts will be provided

    (usually one) and how many forwarding e-mail aliases will be provided (usually unlimited).

    These are needed for receiving mails at addresses like employee@your company. com and

    distributing it over your internal network.
  5. The costs. Be very clear as to how you will be charged. Per

    hour basis (unusual in India), per page basis or a lump-sum for the site. If it’s per

    page, find out what constitutes a page and what it includes. I have come across various

    definitions of a page, and I find 5 screens of information with graphics a fair

    definition. Personally I prefer giving a lump-sum quote after the first briefing. Also

    find out from your designer as to what will be charged extra. Scanning photos, graphics

    like buttons, bullets, backgrounds, public domain CGI scripts like form mail (for feedback

    form) Guest book, message boards are usually NOT charged extra across the world. However,

    you will have to pay a lot more for custom made CGIs, Database programming, custom GIF

    animations or Flash animation, real audio and video.
  6. Verify the charges for hosting your site for the first and

    subsequent years and whether it will include maintenance and updates and how frequently

    can the site be updated.
  7. Shop around. Take several quotes before deciding on a

    designer. Ask for existing portfolios. Visit these sites personally. A good designer will

    almost never make a presentation or sample site for you before the contract is awarded but

    will be most eager to show off his/her work (most designers are a bit vain!)
  8. While briefing the designer, try to explain in as much

    details as possible if you have a mental picture of your site, or give examples from the

    net of the sites which you liked.
  9. Finally, when presented with the mock-ups or betas of your

    site, say exactly what you like, do not like, or want changed. There is nothing more

    frustrating for a designer than to be told "Doosra site banao, isme maza nahin