After 15 months into my journey of independence, it’s time to launch my own Web site. There are several items that need to be addressed and many questions to answer. I have to decide what type of content, which links to include, the pages to include, and in which order. More generally, I’ll need to decide as well the site’s level of interactivity, and whether I should include a secure portal for clients.

The first thing to decide was the type of content. For example, if all I include is static information, then there is no incentive for repeat visits. I’ve decided to include (or ultimately include) a secure area for clients. More on this as it progresses. Then I had to decide on the pages it would have and how they would be titled. Then I needed content for each page. Fortunately, I have a lot of this already from Word documents I’ve created. Then with each page, would there be links leading the visitor to another page of the site or even to another site? All of this has to be thought through before its construction begins.

Are you ready for the next set of questions? Who will build it and what will they charge? I checked this with one Web builder and found that if he did the entire thing, design and all, it would cost about $1,000. Adding a secure section would involve another $500. So for about $1,500 I could have the Cadillac site. I’ve decided to build it myself, or actually have my wife build it. We already have a domain name and have rented server space through Hostgater.com.

Through Hostgater.com we also have access to a free, but older version of SiteBuilder, which is software for building Web sites. SiteBuilder seems to be designed for a beginner (which is what we are), but the results looks pretty good in my opinion. We will build the site and at some point in the not-too-distant future, we’ll hire someone to build our Cadillac.

We also looked at using Microsoft Expressions and signed up for their 30-day trial. The only problem was that we didn’t get serious enough during the trial period and it expired. So rather than purchase it, we’ve decided to use SiteBuilder for free.

A Web site will open up so many opportunities–I’m excited about getting it up and running.

I’ll keep you posted in future blogs.