To get your new-start business off the ground it makes sense to think about your web presence.
If you are relatively new to website design or web development, you may be thinking, “how do I go about getting my new business venture online?”.
Well, fear not, in this post we’ll show you exactly what you need to do to get your new venture’s website on the internet.
In this post we’ll show you what is needed to get your website online. We’re assuming that you are either a business owner looking to cost effectively take your business online on a DIY basis or are about to commission a web professional to take the reigns for you. Regardless of your skillset, it pays to know what’s involved. But building the website yourself is the smartest and cheapest way of achieving online presence and keeps these early outset costs to a minimum.
OK, so you need a website. Great.
A Domain Name
The first thing you’ll need is a domain name.
The domain name is essentially your business address but on the internet, so giving an example, Google’s address on the internet is www.google.com.
It’s really important that you think about your address on the internet, as afterall, it’s where your customers will be coming time and time again to purchase your goods and services.
Without a memorable domain name you may find your customers are unable to easily find you.
So firstly, you need a domain name.
Finding a domain name online isn’t too difficult and can be done by simply searching the likes of 123-reg.co.uk (my preferred domain name registrar). Simply visit their website and start searching for domain names that closely match the product, business name or service that you provide.
Your aim with a domain name is to find one that:
a) closely matches what you do and;
b) ends with the geographic you are trying to reach
For example. If you are looking to target a global audience, and your business happens to be kitchen cleaning, you should be looking to purchase the domain www.kitchencleaning.com.
If however you are more localised and are perhaps targeting a UK audience, you will be better purchasing (for example) www.kitchencleaning.co.uk.
In principle, domain names are best kept short, and if they do not contain your quirky brand name (i.e. Google) then they are best describing what it is you offer, for example: www.londonkitchencleaning.co.uk.
This little trick will help search engines and customers to quickly identify what is you offer.
The reason for going for a more descriptive domain, over a quirky brand name for example, is that:
a) Google finds it easier to rank you in the listings (as it is more descriptive and clearly tells their users what is that you do)
b) your potential customers find it easier to locate you in the rankings (versus non-descriptive brands)
c) brand names cost more money to market (as they are non-descriptive and awareness needs to be raised)
OK, so let’s assume you’ve spent the night deliberating over a domain name but eventually you have found one.
Congratulations! This is a big step to creating your online presence.
A Web Platform
The best, most known (and free) platform to run your website on is: WordPress. You’ve probably heard of it.
It’s used by over two thirds of the web.
Here at Jobu we are big advocates of WordPress – not least because it is a popular open-source web platform, but because it is hugely customisable, meaning anything from a blog to a business directory to an online forum can be made in just a couple of weeks.
There are other platforms of course, including WIX, Joomla and Tumbla, but none of these offer the flexibility and customisability of WordPress, which can be installed and extended to the needs of most businesses without significant delay or indeed, outlay.
To give you an idea, whilst other free platforms may well suit the needs of bloggers or micro-website owners, we’ve succeeded in creating business directories, forums, job boards, finance applications and even clones of popular websites such as Fiverr, Facebook and Gumtree.
We believe, WordPress is your friend as a Startup business.
Plus, so many web designers and developers know how to build on it. So should you need pass the keys to someone else, you will not be short on options.
A Hosting Account
So once you’ve got your domain and you’ve decided upon your web platform, the next component (which is arguably the most crucial), is a host account to situate your website on. Without this, your website is basically offline, in other words: undiscoverable to the web.
Every website must reside on a hosting account, better wise known as a server, or better still, an I.P. address.
I shan’t bore you with the complexities of the web or indeed how Tim Berners-Lee set up the internet, but simply take note the following:
a) your domain name must point to an I.P address and;
b) without a hosting space, your web platform can’t be seen by the public
Hosting accounts aren’t hard to come by, suitable packages will be provided by your domain registrar or by simply searching Google.
A hosting package is however the most common ongoing cost for running a website.
They can costs as little as £2.99 per month through to £10,000s per month.
Which one you choose depends on the speed of growth and how independently your website needs to be host from other websites, most websites share the same hosting space on the internet, for example.
Ultimately your choice comes down to how many visitors you get per month and how much resource each visitor pulls from the server.
Most new-start companies can survive the early years on a shared hosting package which is low cost, but by years 3 and 4, will be looking to upgrade to something more powerful. A virtual or dedicated server is usually more suited to established businesses who need their own IP and space on the web, away from other new-start companies who pull upon the same resource. Think of it as a PC used by more than one person – eventually, there’s not enough room for everyone to manoeuvre.
And so, once you have your domain name, web platform and hosting account, you are all set to power your online presence. From here, it’s all about what you do with your website.