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How to Plan Your Website

There are several main priorities for planning your website. This is an overview of all the "moving parts".
  • Domain names
  • Site Design
  • Content
  • Images & Photography
  • Web Hosting
  • Email / Webmail
  • Email Marketing
  • Google Services
  • Other Search/Listing Services
  • Development Budget

About Domain Names

  • Domain names
    What will the site be called? First, determine whether our actual business name is available on Your actual business name is a domain you should certainly own. But if the actual business name isn't very descriptive of your business, people may not be likely to type into a search engine.

  • Generic Domain Names
    You might want to register generic domain(s) that DO describe your products and service ... phrases that your prospective clients ARE likely to type as they search. Generic domains themselves are also valuable. You have no doubt heard of domains such as and selling for very large sums. That's because most of these are already taking by speculators and sold to the highest bidder.

    If you think of a good domain name that self-evidently describes a product or service, look it up and buy it if it's available. If it IS available, that means no one else has yet thought of it.
    Go for the .COM - its by far the most valuable. There are more dot-coms registered than all other types combined.

    Try going to and click Domains, Register Domains. Enter each domain you'd like to use. The system will tell you if it's available. You don't have to purchase anything to do this.

  • Domain Ownership and Transfers
    If your domain was registered by someone other than you, it's possible that it could expire. Your domain should ALWAYS be in your own name, with you as the administrative contact.

  • Using the WHOIS Database
    The WHOIS database allows you to look up the contact and ownership information on any domain name. Take at look at your own domain. If your aren't listed as the owner, Shoreline Internet can help you get it under your control, so nothing is left to chance.

Site Design

  • Site design:
    A cost effective way to design a site is to identify an existing template with theme that comes closest to what you want. It can be tailored to your preference beyond that at minimal cost. Designing a site from scratch can be a far more expensive proposition.

    There are numerous templates at, which is what I most often use for content management. I know the developers and am in contact with them daily about one thing or another. New templates and "plug-ins" are coming available almost every month. Remember only to choose ones which support Joomla 2.5. If it is 1.5 ONLY, it is obsolete. By the way, templates from Joomlashack are guaranteed to support future versions, and Joomla 3.0 is coming out in September, 2012.

    Each Template has a Live Demo, which showcase its many possible variations in color and layout.

    Templates are $92 with commercial license, or $43 without. The Image slider (ShackSlides), a prominent feature in most of these templates, is an additional $33. (This includes Joomlashack's new Image gallery, called Visionary. Click to see more info).

    Remember, once your site is up and running, you will be able to update your own content any time you wish. We will show you how to do that.

    ... Read more at Content Management.

Domain FAQs

  • How do domain names work?
  • What is a nameserver?
  • Can a domain registered elsewhere use your system to register new nameservers?
  • Who is listed as a domain's registrant?
  • What is the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution policy?
  • What if I misspelled my domain when I registered it?
  • When can I register an expired domain?
  • What is a domain name?
  • What is a second-level domain (SLD)?
  • Can I register domains if I don't have a hosting provider?
  • What do I do if I have a trademark dispute?
  • Setting Nameservers for Your Domains
  • What does it mean to park a domain name?
  • Registering Domains
  • What is a WhoIs listing?


You should have some existing material that can be used on the site. Keep in mind the various categories of content which you will display, and mentally map them onto the template if this helps you choose which one to use.

If you have an outline of material, it will be very helpful in organizing the site, and speed up the production process.

Your content can be accepted by Shoreline Internet in almost any format, such MS Word, PDF, web pages, or even Excel spreadsheets.

Shoreline Internet will also help edit your content and tailor it to your market, and optimize it for search engines.

Remember, once your site is up and running, you will be able to update your own content any time you wish.

Web Hosting

  • Web Hosting:
    We will need to establish a Peridox hosting account, which is $108 per year ($9.00/month) This is where your site is built. Discounts for multiple years go as low as $7.22 per month.
  • Free Applications and Software
    Peridox web hosting also offers dozens of free and paid web-based applications such as site builder, shopping carts, Joomla, WordPress, database apps and many more.

    Most of these are not advertised by Shoreline Internet, but are available with any Peridox hosting account.

  • What size hosting do you need?
    These days, hosting capacity is rising while costs are dropping. Even the Economy Plan allows up to 10 gigabytes of storage. The Deluxe plan offers up to 150 gigs and unlimited number of domains. The Ultimate hosting plan has UNLIMITED storage for only $14.50 per month.

    There are even larger plans for such things as dedicated servers, primarily for network managers.

Images and Photography

  • Images:
    Your site can use photography or images from any source, assuming you have permission to use them.

    Some templates, like those found at, include photography. When you purchase the template, you also purchase the rights to the photography.

  • Original images are always good, especially if they contain local scenes familiar to your clients.

  • Free Stock Photo Credits
    When you host with Peridox, you also receive free stock photo credits from Fotolia, which offers an almost limitless variety of images for your website.

    Read more: Images and Photography

About Email

If you want to use email addresses that carry your branding (i.e., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), you can get 10 email addresses and unlimited usage for About $30.00 per year.

This is always a good idea, because it tells clients exactly who you are. It also allows you to send emails or proposals with your company name and branding identity.

Using Webmail (rather than desktop mail) allows you to send and receive emails from anywhere, with or without your main computer.

See also: About Email Marketing

About Email Marketing

Email Marketing with
Shoreline Internet is an agency account for iContact, with access to the full range of email marketing capabilities. Most often used by my clients for email newsletters, iContact rates #1 in ease of use compared to other similar services. With ShorelineMail, you can design and send beautiful email campaigns using over 100 templates, each with many variations in color and layout.

Your campaigns should contain a timely message (such as a new product or event) and a call to action, which prompts recipients to "click through" to a particular "Landing Page" your website - which then tells the rest of the story, and hopefully introduces recipients to the many other benefits offered by your company's site.

ShorelineMail has a complete Facebook and Twitter integration capability as well, which will be covered in depth in another article. Social Media is becoming a larger part of Internet marketing every day.

Peridox also offers Fax-Thu-Email, which eliminates the need for a fax machine.

About Google Services

  1. Google Places is free from Google, and requires a Gmail account. Absolutely necessary for internet marketing. This embeds your office locations into Google, and allows you to have Google maps in your site. After you apply, Google sends a post card with a verification code for security purposes. It's free, but it takes about two weeks to get.

  2. Google Overall:
    Google is still master of the universe when it comes to search engine visibility.
    1. Google's US market share was 66.8% in July 2012.
      - Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) sites = 3.1%
      - IAC/InterActiveCorp.'s (IACI) Ask Network = 15.7%
      - Yahoo Inc.'s (YHOO) = 13%
      - AOL Inc.'s (AOL) = 1.5%.

    2. Americans conducted 17.69 billion core searches in July, 2012
      - Google sites ranked first, with 11.81 billion searches, followed by
      - Microsoft with 2.77 billion and
      - Yahoo with 2.29 billion.

    3. Google's Formulas have recently changed
      Sites with interactive communities and social media integration are ranked more highly with Google than ever before. Static sites are sliding down the Rankings scale. Content is still king, but Participation is what drives today's rankings

    3.  More about Google
         There is too much more about Google to cover here.
         For tutorials and /or updates on how Google services can improve your Internet marketing, register for a Shoreline Internet account.

About Shoreline Yext

Shoreline Internet has partnered with Yext to deliver a one-stop shop for your local marketing effectiveness.

Once your website is on the air, Yext offers a valuable and convenient way to post (or change) your business listings from one "dashboard" on up to 38 sites, including Yelp, MapQuest and Yahoo.

The cost is $499 per year per location. To do this manually one at a time could take weeks, and even longer to monitor on an ongoing basis. Yext makes it easy to do from a single control panel.

These listings do not include costly Yellow Pages. These listings also do not list your directly on Google, which is a (separate set of criteria), but the 38 listing pages are discovered by Google, and can add to your site's search ranking.

Go to and enter your business information to see a free report on how your business looks on all these sites. It takes only about 2 minutes to do. You may already be listed on some of these. But your competitors with the highest search rankings are probably already there, too.

The Free Business Listing report also identifies and highlights discrepancies in your listings, such as incorrect or contradictory addresses, phone numbers, URLs, tag lines and other information, allowing you to correct them from a single secure dashboard.

A Shoreline Yext account allows to to change information as often as you wish, including updates to time-sensitive specials, events, seasonal marketing and even special product offerings. Doing this through 38 separate listing accounts would be otherwise unfeasible and extremely time consuming.


Development Budgets

Development Budget
Finally, the cost to develop a content management site typically ranges from $500-$1500. These costs are kept low by using templates, and assumes the client does his/her share of the homework (all items above) in providing content and clear direction.

Economy Site
Shoreline Internet even has an economy site, which includes a custom home page, a contact form, a Google map and one additional page for only $250 plus hosting.

This is ideal for getting a website on the air as soon as possible. Shoreline Internet will help you register the domain, setup hosting and help you organize and present your material online, using content and images you may already have. Quite often, a site of this type can be on the air in a day or two.

This does not include content management, but can be upgraded to Joomla, WordPress or Site Builder at a later date, once you have had the time to accumulate or prepare more material.