The way the web has evolved in the last few years has made it very possible for businesses to set up and run their own professional looking and successful website. The birth of frameworks and explosion of open source software such as wordpress and opencart, now enable users with little or no coding knowledge, to set up a website that will work for their business.
In part 1 of this series I am going to be taking you through the first steps of setting up a website for your business. Whether you are a sole trader or run a company that employs multiple staff, this guide will provide you with all the knowledge needed to set up your very own business website.
Today we are going to look at the initial stages, which will include planning (probably the most important part) securing a domain name and setting up your hosting. These 3 stages are essential to forming a solid platform for your website, so by the end of Part 1 you will be in a solid position to set up your business website.
Planning a Website
The planning stage cannot be underestimated. Building a website is much the same as building a house, before the first brick is laid you would have drawn up detailed and approved plans as well as laying a solid foundation.
Below are a series of questions you should ask yourself when planning a website:-
What are we looking to achieve with a website?
Do we want to be able to update the website regularly?
Do we want to be able to sell online?
What have our competitors done with their websites?
How will we promote the website?
I’d suggest grabbing a note pad and jotting down the answers to the above questions along with any other relevant information or ideas. Once written up this will form the basis of your website plan and give you a much clearer view on how to set up a website that will work for you.
Buying a domain
I am assuming you have a business name, whether you are an established company or a start up business. Either way the first thing you need to do is check that your business name domain is available. For the purpose of this guide I am going to be using Heart Internet, so click below to check your domain name.
What if my domain is taken? If this is the case I am afraid you will have to look at other combinations, but not to worry, solutions like adding your service or area to the business name can improve its prominence in search engines.
For example if your business name is Master Oak Craft but www.masteroakcraft.co.uk is taken, try www.masteroakcraftjoinery.co.uk. The domain name itself is more explanatory to your line of business and the Google new algorithm which they use to rank websites, put more importance on the websites domain name.
Right, you should now have found a domain name that you wish to secure, so just follow the simple check out process and you will be the registered owner.
Setting up Web Hosting
We now turn our attention to setting up the web hosting for your site. As part of the process of securing your domain name you will have a customer area in which you will be signed in to.
Click on the order web hosting icon and you will be faced with 4 options:
Heart Internet offers various well defined hosting packages, so it is easy to find a package that suits you. Now, because we are setting up hosting for a business website I would not advise the StarterPro package due to the bandwidth limits and lack of mysql databases.
Once you have chosen your hosting package and gone though the checkout, you will now need to set up the domain with your hosting. This is a simple step and will require you to click on the web hosting link in the manage section in the right hand sidebar. On the resulting page, click on your domain in the drop down box and make an association with your hosting package.
That concludes Part 1 of this How To Set Up An Affordable Business Website Guide. You should now have a detailed plan for your website, a domain name secured and hosting set up and ready for your site.
In the next part we will look at installing a content management system (CMS), configuring the CMS and finding a theme and how to install it.