7 Things You Need To Know Before Building A Website
1. You Need Your Own Domain Name:
A domain name is an internet address that is controlled by you. It uniquely identifies your business on the internet. ( ie YOURNAME.COM )
A domain name about the cheapest investment you'll ever make for your business. The two main benefits are:
· It gives your business a professional image.
· You promote YOUR business every time you give out your email or website address.
(After all, why give free publicity to some other company (ie Yahoo, AOL, or Bigpond) if you use their name in your email address)
Domain Names are cheap. You can get an American .com domain from around $10 per year.
There are lots of domain name registrars and resellers to choose from. A search on Google, or a recommendation from a friend should help you find one. But beware- prices vary a lot, and some registrars will charge you a lot more than the prices that I have mentioned.
I recommend www.namecheap.com
2. How To Choose A Domain Name
Try to find a name that is associated with your business, and is short and easy to remember. The name should pass the "Radio Test" - If you heard it on the radio, you should be able to go to the website without any messy instructions about hyphens, underscores, or numbers.
Examples of good domain names:
Examples of poor domain names:
In the US, it's very difficult to get a good domain name unless you are creative and come up with a catchy word that does not exist, or string together 2 or 3 words.
3. What Type of Domain Name Is Best?
For Australian businesses, your first choice should be .com.au and then the American issued .com version (if it is available.) You can try .net, .org, .info, or others if your preferred .com name is not available.
Registration rules vary. Anyone can register an American .com domain name, but you need to be a registered Australian business to register an Australian .com.au name.
4. Your Website.
First, think about what you want your website to do. Start off simply - you can always expand. A site can have one - or thousands of pages. You should be able to have a basic 5 page site built for you by a web developer for well under a thousand dollars if you provide the content.
Or you can make your own website - but be prepared to spend many hours learning how to do it.
There are many programs you can use, including Dreamweaver, which is pretty well the industry standard.
Free Website builders are available from Kompozer and Coffee Cup - Free Version.
Please, please avoid using Microsoft products like Word, Publisher, or Frontpage to create your website.
These products insert an amazing amount of garbage code into their HTML code and makes them slow loading, and it's almost impossible to find an error if something is not working properly.
A great alternative to building your own website (or paying a designer) is to use Wordpress or Joomla. These are database driven, and are very popular.
I recommend Wordpress to just about everyone because it is so versatile.
These programs can be automatically installed using Fantastico, which is available on most web hosting accounts. Literally thousands of free templates and features are available with either of these programs, and you should be able to get them operational very quickly.
However, be aware that the Wordpress Fantastico install only installs the files and database, and leaves you with a very basic website that still needs a lot of work if you want to it to be useful for search engine use.
5. Web Hosting.
Before your website can be seen on the internet, you must copy its files onto a server: a special type of computer operated by a web host. Common web hosting options are:
Free Web Hosting - You get free webspace in exchange for displaying banners and pop up advertisements on your site.
(A very unprofessional look for a business!)
ISP Hosting - The company who supplies your internet connection often gives you some free web space. The facilities are quite limited, but option may be suitable when you first go on to the internet.
Paid Hosting - You'll find that your web host will become an important business partner. A good one will make your online activities a pleasure. A bad one will make them a nightmare. A bit of research will pay off handsomely.
* Contact some web hosts and ask them some questions.
* Talk to your friends - get their recommendations.
* Hostgator is the web host of choice for many satisfied website owners.
Your web host will normally handle your email traffic as well as storing your website. The quality and costs of junk email (SPAM) and virus filtering services can vary greatly between web hosts.
7. Connecting Everything Together
Connecting all the bits of a website is like doing a jigsaw puzzle.
Before you can use your domain name, it has to be connected to your web host. Your web host will set up your hosting and email account on their systems, and give you access codes. They will also give you 2 or more special connection addresses (called nameservers).
These addresses have to be attached to your domain name at your domain registrar's website. (a process called "delegation" ). It can take up to 48 hours for everything to become operational.
You then have to load your website onto your web hosting account, and it will be visible when someone types your domain name into their browser.
Get these basics right, and you'll have a strong foundation for anything you want to do on the internet.