(This is the eleventh in a series of postings about citizen media business issues. See the introduction here. All of these entries are considered to be in “beta” and will be revised and refined as they find a home on a more permanent area of the Center for Citizen Media web site. To that end, your comments, additional examples, and criticisms are welcome and will be invaluable contributions to this process.)
So far the Citizen Media Business Issues series has concerned itself with business models and sources of revenue. While this information is probably most interesting to those of you who already have some sort of web presence, it may also be a good idea for someone in the planning stages of a website to have some semblance of a business plan in mind at the start. With the next several postings, we’ll look at some slightly more technical issues related to creating your product or service.
How you approach things, including the question of whether you are trying to make money or not, comes into play when picking a web host, registering a domain name, deciding what type of site to use, and designing the layout. Web hosts do not all have the same stance on matters of free speech. Some don’t allow advertising. Others may limit your ability to customize the appearance of your site. In addition, what happens to your readers and what recourse do you have if your host goes down repeatedly or your domain name is snatched from under you on the day it expires? The decisions you make early on can have significant impacts on your success-both financial and in terms of readership.
In addition to those topics, we’ll also be looking a bit deeper at how you might want to develop your new site (such as a good place to learn the basics of HTML). It’s often difficult to tackle even a small design issue (like tastefully inserting a banner ad) with no knowledge of the technical side of the web.
If there is a particular issue you would like to see answered, feel free to email it to Ryan or leave it in a comment here. The next post on domain names should be appearing in about a week.
(Ryan McGrady is a new media graduate student at Emerson College where he is studying knowledge, identity, and ideas in the information age.)