Starting a business is a wonderful adventure (I’m just starting up Quiet Rebel Bureau so I understand the thrill completely) and there’s a feeling of infinite possibility when you take that first step towards bringing your plans to life.
All businesses these days should have an online presence because it’s where people go to check you and your services out. Remember the days of Yellow Pages? Well, they are long gone. The internet is where business happens even if you’re a brick and mortar store.
So, what do you do to get your start-up business online? It can seem daunting if you’ve never done it before so I’ve broken it down into steps for you. If it still feels overwhelming, don’t panic! I can help you.
Step 1: Purchase a domain name
If you want your business to look legit then you need your own domain name. Free website services such as WordPress.com and Wix.com will give you a subdomain but it won’t be as classy as your own domain. And who remembers those freebie names anyway?
I usually use GoDaddy.com to register domains and I keep domains separate from hosting. There’s a reason behind this: there might come a point when you want to move your hosting (it happens) and I’ve found it easier if you just update the DNS (where the domain name points to) rather than transfer your domain name out to a new registrar.
Step 2: Decide on hosting
Hosting is space on a server where your website files sit. You have options about what type of software you run on your hosting to get your website up and running. I’m a big fan of WordPress and most hosting companies have a WordPress one-click installation.
I use Hawk Host for my hosting. It’s reliable, super-affordable and it has the important Let’s Encrypt SSL as part of all hosting packages. SSL is important: it encrypts your website which means Google (and other services like PayPal) will love you more for it.
Step 3: Point your domain to your hosting
When you buy hosting, your domain name usually just sits there on the hosting company’s website, giving it some free advertising. To get your shiny, new domain name to link up with your brand new hosting, you need to change the DNS (Dynamic Name Servers).
You change this through your domain name registrar.
Your new hosting company will give you its DNS when you sign up. You change the domain name registrar DNS setting with your hosting company settings.
Servers will propagate. It can take 48-hours.
Step 4: Create your website
Most hosting companies, including HawkHost, have really easy, one click software installation so you don’t have to do very technical things to get software on to your hosting server.
As I mentioned, I am a fan of WordPress (WordPress.org) and I use it for all of my websites. It’s very easy to install with the one-click and then you have a robust website ready for you to customise.
Step 5: Personalise your website
You’ve got a blank website and now you need to fill it with content and personalise the design so it doesn’t look bland.
If you’ve installed WordPress (I hope you have because it’s awesome) then you change the look of the website by changing the theme. There are hundreds of free themes available right inside of WordPress but if nothing takes your fancy, you can buy themes.
You will also need to add content. This is important because people won’t be very interested in your business if there’s nothing for them to read. On WordPress you have two places to write content: pages and posts. Pages are for static information such as About and Contact pages whereas posts are for blogging.
Think about what pages you need to include on your website – about, contact, services etc. – then get that copy done.
Blogging is a great way to keep visitors coming back to your website so make use of this form of content. Keep it on topic and consistent.
All too much?
Don’t worry. I can help you get your business online. I have wicked web design packages just for you.