With the growth of the internet over the last few decades more and more people are wanting to create an online presence via their own website. However most people don’t know where to start or how it all works and given all the technical terminology it isn’t surprising that people are often confused by it all.
Having run our own online business for some time and finding it more and more important for our company to “take ownership” of our website and its hosting we embarked on the process of trying to make sense of the whole process. So hopefully our experience as previously non-tech savvy business owners can provide an explanation in more understandable terms.
What type of website do you need?
Websites take many forms or variations but basically the most common websites are either:
- A “blog” where you express your thoughts and ideas – much like an article in a newspaper or community forum.
- An information based website – where you simply list the details of your business such as address, contact information and products or services provided.
- An ecommerce site where you provide information about your business and its products and services as well as the ability for visitors to purchase your products or services while on your website.
Register an available Domain Name.
This simply refers to the name or address that you want to use for your website. This is the Internet address of your business that customers type into their computers to get to your website as opposed to the street address that customers use to drive their cars to your store.
Domain names, like business names need to be registered and therefore no two people can have the exact same name.
It is worth noting that a domain name of xyz.com is not the same as xyz.com.au or xyz.net so some businesses register many of the possible domain types such as.com.net.info etc… for their company name.
Think of the Domain registrar as a mix of a real estate agent and titles office. They are the businesses that are licensed to sell and register domain names. So when you are ready to start your online adventure you need to register your name if it is available or buy it from the current owner if it is for sale.
As you can imagine if someone owns the name you wish to use then you may have to pay a premium to buy that name from them. As a result many people make a living registering available names and then selling these names to the highest bidder.
This is simply the “building Material” for you website. There is several different programming languages that can be used to build your website and each has its own advantage.
Website developers charge varying amounts depending on the size and type of website you want/need so you may want to shop around for the right one for your needs – just like you would shop around for a builder to build a new house.
There are many “prebuilt” platforms available which means you don’t have to start from scratch, or even know much about programming, to get your website up and running. Many of these platforms are provided free of charge and depending on the level of customisation you wanted, you might not even need to hire a developer to personalise your new website. Some examples are WordPress, osCommerce, Joomla, etc.
There is also other companies that provide a simple web based system allowing anyone to easily create a website. The only disadvantage is that you are then required to host your website with that company and can not move your website to another host if you wanted to in the future.
Once you have registered a domain name with a domain name registrar and selected a platform or had your sit designed by a website developer you then need somewhere for the site to “live/exist”. For your website to be seen, the files that make up your website need to be installed on a computer that is connected to the Internet and permanently switched on- this computer is known as your “host” i.e. where you website lives.
There are many companies that offer website hosting and prices vary depending on the level of service you require. For example an ecommerce website that sells products and services requires a more robust and larger hosting service than a small website that only lists a little information about a company. It is best to compare services and prices between Hosting companies as they often offer slightly different services and you need to make sure you select the one that best suits your needs.
In summary getting online involves the following steps:
- Selecting your desired Domain name.
- Registering or buying your domain name with an authorised domain name registrar.
- Selecting an appropriate website platform, designer or developer to create your website.
- Finding the appropriate website hosting company/package for your needs.
This is a very basic introduction to the process of starting a website as each step has many more points to consider, which I will leave to other articles in the future.
Wigs Online has been established for over a decade and out of necessity we have become more involved in the registration, development and hosting of our own site.