Does the thought of getting started with a website make your skin crawl? Do you break out in cold sweats trying to get your head around servers, domain names, hosting, programming, website design? What about those website commercials for free websites and easy web-building tools?
No one ever said you should know how it all works! By the time you “figure” it all out, you will have spent an extraordinarily absurd amount of time, money, and energy with an end product is not indicative of the professionalism and user-friendliness of other sites.
There are professionals for a reason
Although there are many dynamic web-building tools where you do not have to know any sort of code or that HTML-stuff, it still will require some web-know-how and as daunting as it sounds, that HTML-stuff comes in handy! I think about this every time I’m on my 5th trip to the Home Depot and a few hundred dollars later to fix one little thing while wondering why I didn’t hire a plumber in the first place. As with any sort of project, yes you can do it yourself, but there are times when a professional is there for a reason.
I can’t afford a web designer!
“A bad website is like a grumpy salesperson.”
Think website design is extremely expensive? Think again. I work with all types of businesses and a wide variety of budgets. There are solutions that are cost effective and can work for you!
The Internet is a powerful tool and is not going away any time soon and ultimately you know you need a web presence. You know you need a website that speaks to your business and can grow with you as your business grows. There are options to have a professional website and not break the bank. A well-designed website is an investment in your business, which reflects your business style and brand. Your prospective clients should know what to expect from your business before they contact you for the first time! Unfortunately, good businesses with poorly designed websites are often judged unfairly.
How do I get started?
Domain Name Game
Although there are many domain names that are already taken and one may happen to be the name of your business, but it is essential to find a domain name that is available. Ideally, it’s short, intuitive, and contains no word abbreviations or odd spelling.
Go to any website domain name registry or hosting company that offers domain registration or start Googling! Once you find one, you have the option of purchasing it or waiting until you consult with a professional website designer about a hosting company and package that best fits your needs.
The Hosting with the Mosting
Many of my clients have already purchased their domain name and have hosting packages in place. For ease of billing and building your site, it is beneficial to register both your domain name and purchase a hosting package from the same company. If you are unsure about the differences between shared hosting, VPS, or dedicated IP, privacy, or if I lost you at domain name registration, consult with your web designer before purchasing any service. You may also contact the hosting company. A good company will have helpful sales people who can walk you through the services and answer any of your questions.
Scheduled automatic billing is recommended to keep your site from any lapse and billing is usually offered in yearly or yearly-blocks of time. Choose whichever option best fits your budget.
Website Design and Development
Your hosting company may include or offer a free web-builder software or partner with a service like Mojo Marketplace for you to purchase website templates and other website tools. While these services are great since they are built-into the hosting interface. If you are required to pay extra for these services, you may want to check with a professional as to which services best fit your needs.
Once you have your domain name and hosting package set-up, it’s time to hire a designer and developer as well as work on your website content. See “How to Hire a Designer” and “How to Write for the Web” or contact me!