Website 101 (pt 1)

Whether you are starting a business or already have a business established, a website is a fundamental key to gaining new customers. If you are selling products, your website would serve as an online catalog where your customers can browse your store and purchase items that you have available. If you offer services, customers can use your website to read about your business, get a sense of your services, and gain confidence in your business when deciding to hire you.

Creating a website may seem like a laborious task, but this tutorial will break down the necessary steps and serve as a guideline to get what you want- even if you don’t know what that is yet. To start, envision your website as a physical building that you run your business out of. This building has an address, and in this case, you also have to rent the space that your business is located in. This analogy applies as such: your business is your website (obviously), your address is your domain, and the space you rent is webspace that you would purchase from a hosting company. Make sense? Ok, let’s begin.

1. Choose & Purchase a Domain

You may already have a name for your business established, but if not, now would be a good time to decide on something. You can check for domain availability on sites such as GoDaddy. Most importantly, your domain should be the name of your business so that it’s easy to remember – this also helps with organic SEO which I will cover later in this article, but as a brief explanation, take this example: Say your business name is something like Squirrels-R-Us, but someone has already purchased squirrelsrus.com, you might turn to an alternative like squirrelstore.com. However, if someone knows the name of your business and searches for squirrelsrus.com, they will land on your competitor’s website and possibly make a purchase there. That’s great for your competitor, but a lost sale for you.

Another thing you might want to consider when choosing a domain, is length. A domain can be up to 67 characters, but who is going to remember a domain that long? Not to mention, how would that even fit on a business card? However, that’s not to say that your domain should be something like srs.com. If your business name is Jones Photography, then jonesphotography.com would be excellent. If your business name is Jones Family Photography Collections and More, you can definitely get jonesfamilyphotographycollectionsandmore.com as your domain, but you should consider whether or not that would be too long for your clients to type in. On the contrary, if you were to shorten it to jfpcm.com, that might be too vague for your clients to remember.

What if my domain is taken?

This can be a possibility especially with short and catchy names. If your domain is already taken and you don’t want to settle for any other variation, you might have to consider how committed you are to the name itself. If you are starting a new business, it might not be the worst thing to consider a new business name. However, if you have an established business with an established brand that includes your well established business name, it might not be wise to change it. In this case, you might want to do a whois lookup to see if you can contact the owner of the domain and ask if it’s for sale. If it’s not for sale or the price is set too high, you might want to re-evaluate getting a “.com” domain. If you are a business that only provides or service or ships products within a specific country, you can try something like a “.us” domain. If your business is something like a non-profit organization, it would be best to get a “.org” domain rather than anything else. Another suffix that is becoming quite popular with start up companies, is the “.io” domain. If you’re looking for domains on a site like GoDaddy, you will see many domain suffix alternatives that they will suggest and you can pick from. A disadvantage to this if people are typing in your website, they almost always assume it’s a “.com” domain.

Continue this tutorial on Part 2