How to get started when you’d like a small business website up and running.
It’s time my friend! You’ve been meaning to take the leap for a while but haven’t quite known where to start when it comes to creating a website. Well, I’m here to help nudge you into the unknown by providing a little clarity on where to begin. You know what they say; ‘Every great website journey begins with a single click’ (or something along those lines 😉) So, let’s do it! Open up your web browser and let’s go.
1. Get a Domain name
Basic Definition: A domain name is your address on the internet.
How could you invite guests over to your house without giving them your street address? The same applies with your website. I recommend jumping on the Crazy Domains or another domain search site to find if your desired domain name is available. If not, you can search for what names might be possible and will work for your business.
Important Info & Considerations:
- Standard domain names usually cost around $15 – $25 for an annual registration
- If you’re wondering if you should buy a ‘.com’ or a ‘.com.au’ (for example), think about whether you do business locally or internationally. If your business is local the .com.au domain is a good choice and will more likely be available. This is completely up to you though and there are no strict rules, only subjective recommendations.
- Should you buy 1 or more domain names? Some people like the idea of buying many domain names that relate to their business. I recommend sticking to just one as you can only use one primary address. There is no advantage to registering many domains unless you’re doing it to reduce the domain choices for your competition. In the end, having many domains registered is an extra expense which will likely come to no advantage.
2. Work out where you will create your website
Which Content Management System (CMS) you’ll use
Basic Definition: A CMS is where you will load and save your content so that is can be displayed in a structured website layout.
This is the beauty of the modern internet as you don’t need to know how to code when using many of these platform options. There are tons of content management systems (CMS) that you can choose from. What separates these platforms is quality and ease of use.
Heard of WordPress?
Have you heard of WordPress.org? This is one of the most famous and widely used CMSs out there. It is popular for good reason, as it is extremely versatile and there are a gazillion resources out there that you can use to help you build an amazing customised site. Just on YouTube.com alone, you can learn how to do nearly everything you’d like to achieve using WordPress. Take a look at this WordPress tutorial for beginners.
The WordPress platform is free and also allows you to create a website which is search engine friendly (have good ‘SEO’).
Basic Definition: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. If your site has good SEO; people will be able to find your business when searching in Google!
The Blessing and The Curse
The blessing and curse of WordPress.org is that it is SOOOO versatile. It can be confusing getting started because there are many ways to begin. This means that the website creation process can take time while you’re learning. If you have a good level of technical knowledge, power on! If not, it might be best to consider a more basic platform choice or getting some help.
Other Content Management System (CMS) Options
The advantage of using a simpler CMS platform is that you should be able to create a website on your own. You’ll also be able to build your site fairly quickly as the templates allow you to upload your images and written content into prebuilt designated areas. The disadvantage is that your site will likely look the same as many other websites. Also, it may compromise your website ranking with search engines such as Google. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is important for your website because having good SEO means that your perfect clients will be able to find you on the World Wide Web! For more information, check out this article: How CMS Platforms Affect Your SEO
With all of the above considered, here are my top 5 CMS recommendations:
2. Shopify (specifically for ecommerce websites)
3. Get a Hosting account
Your rented ‘plot of land’ on the internet.
Basic Definition: Your hosting is like the designated piece of ‘real estate’ on the internet where your website will sit.
In the analogy above, your website is your house, your domain name is your street address and your hosting is the plot of land your house is on. Essentially, if you don’t have hosting, you don’t have a designated piece of real estate on the internet for your website to go.
There are a lot of hosting providers out there but I recommend using Siteground. I am an affiliate of this hosting provider because I have done extensive research into quality, service and price of many companies and they came out on top. Of course, it’s up to you on which provider you choose.
Important Info & Considerations:
- A ‘Start Up’ hosting account will usually cost around $20 per month, but you can often get a good discount on your first year of registration.
- If you are starting a small business website, you will likely only need the most basic package option. Take a look at the Siteground ‘Start Up’ inclusions to get an idea of what this means.
- With most hosting providers you have the option of a WordPress Website pack. This means that the WordPress CMS will automatically be installed onto your hosting account after you’ve signed up.
4. Get an SSL Certificate
Secure Sockets Layer Certificate (HTTPS://)
Basic Definition: An SSL Certificate is like a ‘Padlock’ on your website which keeps your users’ private information safe from online thieves.
If you want your website to be good quality and safe for your users, you need a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate. Have you ever noticed the little padlock icon in your search bar when you’re on a website? This is it! Particularly for ecommerce websites or a website where you would like to collect a user’s private information, an SSL is a must. If you don’t have this certificate, you will be penalised from Google and your website will rank lower on search pages.
Important Info & Considerations:
- An SSL Certificate can be purchased through your hosting account and can cost between $70 to $200 per year.
- With a Siteground hosting account – you get an SSL Certificate included for FREE.
- The process of applying an SSL to your website can be a bit technical, but here are good references if you’d like to do it yourself:
Let me know if you run into any concerns along the way and I can take a look for you!
There you have it!
Well there you have the basic Nuts & Bolts of a website. If you have any questions or comments on this subject, please get in touch. I’m happy to assist you along the way with any of these components.