The first 4 things to do when you want to have an online presence | Success Tip

Success TipIf you already have a website up and running, you’ve already gone through this, but if you’re thinking about launching a website for the first time, you will need to understand the following:

1) Choose your domain name
This requires thought on your part and is up to you to decide – don’t rush it. Your domain name should reflect what your website is about and could be your business name, your product or service name, even your own name. There are many suffixes that you can choose (IE: .com; .net; .org; .biz, etc.) however we recommend for business to stick with a .com suffix.

Obviously these names only work if they are unique (not already used). Many hosting providers give you a free method of checking to see if the domain name you are looking to use is available. Try using www.instantdomainsearch.com or www.godaddy.com to search domain names for free.

WARNING: We’ve heard rumors that when you search for a domain name, the name you type is stored and possibly purchased by others before you buy it. The intention is to sell the domain name at a higher price, thereby making a tidy profit without even having to develop a website on the domain. We’ve never had this happen to us but it is possible, so come up with the top 3 domain names that you would love before beginning your search. If you find that a domain that you are searching for is available, buy it immediately as described in Step 2.

2) Purchase (register) your domain name
Purchasing a domain name involves paying an annual fee through a registrar company to register the domain name you want. For example, if you choose a name like “example.com” you will have to go to a registrar company and pay a registration fee that costs around $10 to $15 for that name. That domain name registration will give you the right to use the domain name, usually for a year. You will have to renew it annually thereafter for about the same amount. You can find a list of Domain Name Registrars online. GoDaddy.com is the world’s largest domain registrar.
Getting a name does not get you a website. It’s just a name. It’s sort of like registering a business name in the brick-and-mortar world; having that business name does not mean that you also have the shop premises to go with the name.

3) Choose your web hosting provider and sign up for an account
If getting a domain name is analogous to getting a business name in the brick-and-mortar world, getting a web hosting account is analogous to renting office space or a shop premises for your business. This should mostly depend upon the type of website you plan to have. The more simple the website, the more simple the hosting provider and account can be. The more large and complex the website, the more you may need as far as a hosting account.

Most hosting providers can start you out with an “economy” account and upgrade you later as your website grows (from a space and activity standpoint). If you plan to ever have the ability to obtain secure information from your visitors (most likely credit card information) you will need a more secure “shop premises” – and an SSL certificate – but more about that in a separate article. We highly recommend starting with a minimal hosting account and adding to your domain down the road if there is a need – this will save you money. The cost of a basic account with a hosting provider will run anywhere from $40.00 per year to $150.00 per year. Hosting companies run specials from time-to-time and with the purchase of a hosting account, you can sometimes get your domain name registered (described in number 2 above) for free.

4) Email Account(s)
This is generally part of the hosting account discussed in step number 3 above, but it’s important enough to breakout and discuss separately. We highly recommend that once you have a hosting account, domain name and your website is being built, that you setup email addresses tied to your domain name. For instance, yourname@yourdomain.com. This is much more professional looking than yourname@aol.com, yourname@gmail.com or yourname@yahoo.com. An email address which uses your domain name builds instant credibility that you exist as a business entity. Most all hosting providers allow you to have several (to unlimited) email address for “free” with your hosting account; however the issue is mailbox storage. This isn’t really that complicated; however there are just too many variables to address here. Just know to check in to this when your evaluating a hosting provider.

We will be continuing these Success Tips in future editions of the NNBA News. Please feel free to use our Contact Us page if you have any questions.

© 2011-2014 Michelle Podlesni