You might be wondering how long it takes to get online and be concerned that it’s a long and complex process.
But it may surprise you to learn that getting online is a very quick process. All you need to do is register a domain name and a hosting plan and you’re almost there.
Of course you’ll need a website and you have a few options there, but I’d just like to run through the process with you so that you understand what’s involved.
Registering Your Domain Name
So, before anything you’ll need to register your domain name. It really does take just a couple of minutes to register and then your domain is yours and no one can take that from you.
There’s no paperwork involved or anything like that. Just choose your domain, pay for it and it’s registered in your name.
Of course registering the domain takes minutes, but thinking of the best domain takes time. Here are some pointers for you.
There are loads of domain extensions to choose from like .com, .co.uk etc., so you need to be sure you get the right one for you.
First up, I’d always recommend getting the .co.uk and .com as a minimum. That’s not because I want you to buy in bulk, but because your domain names are valuable internet real estate and you need to protect yourself from someone else registering your domains name. Sure, they could maybe register the .biz equivalent but that wouldn’t be much of an issue for you if you have the main ones like .com and .co.uk.
Another thing to bear in mind is that you can register whatever domain you like. What I mean is that you don’t have to just stick to registering the domain exactly the same as your business. If your company is called Fred Bloggs Accounting Ltd then don’t feel you can only register fredbloggsaccounting.co.uk – it could be bloggsaccountantslondon.co.uk or fredblogstaxaccountants.co.uk
In terms of ownership, domains can be registered by individuals and businesses. If you’re registering a business domain and there are several business partners involved it’s worth sitting down and agreeing exactly who will own the domain name and ideally it should be the business to avoid any possible disputes further down the line.
Another thing to consider is whois privacy. Basically when a domain is registered the ownership details are shown in the publicly available whois database. You can avoid this by ordering a whois privacy service for top level domains like .com, .net and .org and there is a small annual fee to be paid.
With UK domains the whois privacy is free but it only applies to domains registered to individuals, not businesses. If you do choose the UK whois privacy and the UK registry Nominet see that you are using the domain for business purposes they can take action to restrict use of the domain so it’s best to stay on their good side (you have been warned :)).
Which Is the Best Web Hosting For My Business?
Ok, so we’ve covered domain names, let’s turn our attention to web hosting.
Hosting is the server and data infrastructure that allows your website and email services to be active. When you order a hosting service with Pickaweb your hosting is instantly activated and your web hosting instructions will be sent to you immediately.
When you receive your email it will include full instructions with login credentials and links to allow you to access the following:
- Web Hosting Control Panel
- Website Builder Tool
- Temporary Link to your hosting space (while your domain fully propagates)
- Links to 24 x 7 Hosting Support Team
With web hosting you’re probably concerned that there’s a bewildering array of options to choose from. There’s no doubt there are plenty of options to choose from but here’s what you need to focus on to make the right decision.
First up, does your hosting company operate from a start of the art, purpose built datacentre. Ideally it should be a Tier 3 or Tier 4 datacentre which means it meets the highest of standards in terms of security, connectivity and resilience. This is an industry standard grading given by the Uptime Institute.
Moving along to the server level, ideally your host should be using equipment which meets the following standards:
- Dual, Multi Core CPU Enterprise Grade Servers
- High Levels of Server RAM
- Minimum 10K SAS Hard Drives (not slower SATA Drives)
- RAID 10 Configuration (data stored on several disks)
- Hot Swap Hard Disks
- Redundant Hot Swap Power Supplies (PSU)
All of this might sound like a load of technical gubbins but what it means is that you will be hosted on a server that has been built with uptime in mind. Let me quickly explain.
By using RAID 10 this spreads copies of your data across four hard drives so that there is no single point of failure. By using hot swap hard disks these can be replaced while the server is operating if one is faulty.
In terms of the PSU this is a higher failing component statistically speaking so by having it as a hot swap it can be replaced in the event of a failure and it won’t affect the service.
What’s The Best Option To Build A Website?
OK, this is a really common question and there is no definitive answer but there are a few things that you need to be aware of that will help you reach the right decision.
First things first, the way your website looks when you first launch it will not be the same as in the future. Over time as you get more confident and start to get more business through it then you can justify more investment in it.
The thing is that people often get hung up about getting it perfect straight away, but there are ways that you can get a really professional looking website up and running really quickly. Here are a few things to consider.
How To Build Your Business Website With Website Builder
If you’re just starting out and you’re on a tight budget and you’re willing to build and maintain your own website then Website Builder is the perfect option.
You just login through your hosting control panel and click on the Website Builder option and you’re up and running. You just choose from one of dozens of really nice templates and then you can build your new site.
You can add as many pages as you want and it’s got some really neat features like maps, contact us form to collect leads, Social Media integration, SEO features and Google Analytics so you can see how many people are visiting.
We’ve got a step by step manual to explain how to build your first website.
It’s very easy to use and you could definitely have the first few pages of your website up and running in a few hours.
Building Your Website With A CMS Like WordPress
CMS stands for Content Management System. This is a software tool accessible online and which allows you to build your own website.
If you’re just starting out then the one I would strongly recommend is WordPress.
WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS and it accounts for almost a quarter of all websites online so you’d be in good company.
The reason it’s so popular is that it is easy to get to grips with, it’s got a ton of features, there are loads of ready made templates (Themes), there are loads of extra features you can add on for extra functionality (Plugins) and it has strong SEO capabilities (i.e. you can get a good ranking in Google).
Also, if you decide that building and maintaining your own website isn’t for you then you can easily find someone to do that for you. WordPress is really popular and there are loads of Designers and Developers who can help you at a competitive rate.
A good option is to use a ready made WordPress template – WordPress templates are called Themes. Just make sure that the one you buy is Responsive. That just means that it will look good on any device like a desktop, tablet or mobile screen.
I’ll be honest and say that WordPress is not as easy to get started with as Website Builder. But it’s a good long term option for you do to its scalability and popularity amongst the web design community.