I want to take a moment and address something that I find to be a reoccurring issue. When you’re looking at building or rebuilding a website, there are a few important things to know that will make the entire process a lot smoother.
A few terms that will be useful to know moving forward:
Domain – this is the name of your site and will be the url which will help people find you. You’re going to need to find something that is available and easy to spell or easy to tell someone what it is. It will be something like mydomain.com.
Registrar – This is a company that will most likely be where you buy your domain
Hosting – this has to do with where the information for your site is actually sitting on the internet. Think of your site like a file folder and the hosting is a box on a shelf containing it.
DNS – this in a nut shell is what tells your domain what server to point to for your website and possibly your emails if you have them tied into the domain you have.
Number one on the list to keep in mind to start? Keep track of all usernames and passwords. This means everything: emails, domain, registrar, hosting, etc. This seems like a simple thing but all too often people lose track, and depending on the security level of the account they’re attached to, it can be a nightmare to try to reset and get back into. Whatever your system is whether it’s keeping them written in a trusty binder or using a cloud based password program such as Lastpass, use it and be consistent. Nothing can be more frustrating than a halted project because of a forgotten password.
Next, you’ll want to decide what your budget is. There are a lot of site builder options these days (such as Wix and Squarespace) that will include your domain and hosting in your plan and make it very easy to pay monthly or annually and you pay based on what your features are. Keep in mind the more features you have the more expensive it can get. Also with site builders you are restricted to working within their models of features and don’t have many customization options outside of what they provide. If you know nothing about website building and you aren’t prepared to pour a ton of time into it, I do suggest you find a designer or agency to work with that will handle the details for you. However, it’s still important you understand the basics of how it works so you can be prepared for questions they may ask you.
Assuming you don’t go with a site builder as an all in one package, this is a breakdown of the basics you’ll need.
You’ll need to purchase a domain. There are a lot of domain registrars out there (Godaddy is a popular one) that you can go with. They provide search tools to find out if the domain you want is available and allow you to purchase and manage the DNS records. Some registrars provide hosting packages as well or you can purchase hosting separately from a different company.
Regarding hosting, it is SUPER important that whatever hosting plan you have is compatible with the platform you are going to be building your site on. For example, if you are building a site with WordPress, you need to make sure you get WordPress compatible hosting. If you don’t you will run into issues of the site code breaking and not displaying or an array of other functionality issues. (Note there is a total difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org which we can get to explaining another time)
Now. Once you have your Domain and Hosting figured out and purchased, again I’m going to say, make sure you record your usernames and passwords in a safe space. You will need them for updating and for any changes you may need.
If you’re a professional business you really should use emails that match your website domain. It looks more professional, looks nicer on a business card, and its easier for people to remember. This can be set up through your hosting provider. If you prefer a specific setup (like google or office 365) those things can be set up with your website domain but it’s just a few extra steps.
I know all of this can sound sort of overwhelming. It can be a full time job to build and maintain a website depending on how much content is involved and we didn’t even talk about ecommerce sites! If you don’t have that kind of time, or capability — trust a professional. As a marketing and advertising agency we spend our time making sure we know the ins and outs thoroughly to best serve our clients. Contact us at Navigation Advertising in Murfreesboro, Tennessee — we’d love to help you with your next project.