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by Webnme on Sep 4th 2011

Web Site Planning Tips - Business Basics

Take Care of Business Basics Early in the Process

Now that you have some goals in mind and some general requirements, it is best to get your business arrangements resolved before moving on to designing a web site.  Imagine paying for an expensive design only to find that the site must be revised because the proposed site name infringes on a trademark or conflicts with another registered name in your jurisdiction.  And it could get worse, if you have to switch domain names and rebuild databases and recode your web site.

  • Consult with your attorney and accountant about how to organize, register, and operate your business.  Your attorney and accountant will know what state and local laws and regulations may apply in your case.
  • If more than one person will be involved, consult with your attorney about having a appropriate written agreement that meets your jurisdiction’s legal requirements and which governs the group’s activity so that everyone has the same understandings up front.
  • Whether you are organized as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, there should be an agreement or a set of agreements that covers things like budget, taxes, revenue distribution, royalties, intellectual property rights, communications, use of brand, who has authority to contract on behalf of the business or enter into obligations, and so on.
  • Consult with your attorney about the best form of business organization for your needs; e.g., should you form a sole proprietorship, a Limited Liability Company (LLC), or a corporation.
  • Your state will have specific required forms and formats for incorporation including:
    • Articles of Incorporation/Charter
    • Bylaws
    • Your state will have specific requirements and forms for forming LLCs including:
      • Articles of Organization (states may also provide a template for an LLC’s Operating Agreement)
      • Your state may have requirements for registering other business entities.
      • There may be local requirements for registering your business and/or permits required.
      • Your state will have specific rules for naming a business.  For example, an LLC generally has to include either LLC or Limited Liability Company in the name.
      • You may also want to ask your attorney about:
        • Non-disclosure agreements
        • Privacy statements
        • Whether your site ought to have Terms of Service for its users or any guidelines for subscribers

All of these items have the potential to impact what you want your web site developer to do for you.  If you address these matters early on you can save time and money with your web developer.

Now, let’s move on to some specific business issues that you may want to explore before settling on a design for your site.

About Webnme

The developer's first experience with computers was with Fortran IV. Wow that's ancient. After graduate school, he taught history for a number of years at a community college before attending law school and becoming an attorney. In 1997 he changed careers to become a web developer/designer with an interest in all things web related. He currently maintains several dozen websites including a family of websites for a non-profit corporation that gets over five million page views monthly. This is his developer website. The opinions expressed are his own.

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