For those looking to create an online presence your own website is probably the most important thing you require. Whilst it is possible to use Facebook, Amazon, Ebay etc to hold your web shop, it is never 'your own' hence can be a risk. So if you are planning doing your own website, where should you start?
To get online you need 3 things:
Your web domain needs to be registered through a registrar so that just like a phone number is dedicated to one phone line, your web address is dedicated to the location where your website is stored. You can purchase domain names from many different resources such as Go Daddy, Fasthosts, 123-Reg etc - we have used Heart Internet for over 10 years and would recommend them. We have a reseller account which allows us full control over domains and everything - some companies like you to go through hoops, (their support) to change things thus making it harder to achieve things.
The cost of domains is minimal if you purchase it yourself - when you buy one from us, you have our 10 years of knowledge to help get you set up!
Goes without saying you need a website! You can build one yourself, use a plethora of online tools or pay someone a small amount and take the risk or you can pay a professional who will take responsibility for what they produce and actually care about you and your business. We will look at website building in our next blog post.
You pay a company to maintain their servers which are computers that 'serve' your website to browsers who type in your web address. These should always be available so your website is always accessible. The more you pay the more likely you are to have a fast loading reliable website. The cheaper hosting means you will be on a server with thousands of other websites and hence will all be competing for the same hardware - the server will work to deliver your website and the thousands of others being used. The other end of the scale is having your own dedicated server so one server manages your website and no others making it quicker and more reliable.
When we started building websites it was important that we provided the full service from domain registration to hosting and management so if anything goes wrong you know who to talk to. Some people have 3 or 4 different companies involved which can lead to finger pointing and no-one taking ownership of issues - we take ownership of everything on your behalf for you.