Beginning Your Online Business: Setting up Your Website
If you’re new to the online business world it can be difficult to know where to start when you are beginning your online business. Here I will go through the basics of setting up your website. I will go through how to set up what will become your online real estate. I use this term because when you purchase a website domain name and pay to have it hosted on the internet you are in essence buying a piece of property on the internet, a space that you own own, manage and control.
Setting up Your Website
Step 1 Choose Your Website Domain Name
The first step to setting up your website is choosing a domain name. This will be the name of your website. It is important to make sure that the name of your website fits the type of online business you want to establish.
Take time and think about what kind of image you want to promote. I chose the name of my site Seeking A Better Lifestyle because I want to appeal to people who want to improve their lifestyle and seek the freedom to live life on their terms.
The first step is to research and see if your preferred domain name is available. You can do this via name generator sites such as Shopify or Namemesh. Simply type the domain name or keyword you are interested in in the search bar and you will be shown a list of available domain names that include these words.
A keyword is a topic or phrase of significance. When it comes to your website a keyword will describe the contents of your website and nature of your business. A keyword is a word or phrase that is typed into the search bar of Google when you are searching for something. Café, books, online business and making money online are all examples of keywords and keyword phrases.
The more popular the keyword the more difficult it is for your site to rank highly in search engine results. Likewise, the less popular the keyword or phrase the easier it will be for your site to get a favourable ranking from search engine results.
This, however, should not be a deterrent from using popular keywords in your website’s domain name. It’s still beneficial to have popular keywords in your website’s domain name as it indicates the nature of your business and/or the products and services you sell. And if it is a popular keyword it means that it’s both a competitive market and that there is a high demand for your products and/or services.
Shorter the Better or Longer and Catchy
Generally speaking, a shorter domain name is better, this is because it is easier to remember and type. An example of good short domain names is apple.com.
So, the fewer words and letters the better.
The problem is that it can be difficult to find a good short domain name as most of them have been already taken. My website’s domain name is considered quite long, however, it’s catchy and easy to remember.
So, ideally, a shorter domain name or a longer, catchy and easy to remember domain name.
If you are really set on a domain name that has already been taken you may be able to purchase it. Simply type the domain name into the search bar in Google and if it is for sale you will be directed to the site where it is being sold. But be aware as some domain names can be quite expensive.
Step 2 Register and Host Your Website Domain Name
Once you have chosen your website’s domain name you then need to purchase or register it and have it hosted on the internet. Registering and hosting your website’s domain name is the online equivalent to buying a plot of land. It means that you now own a piece of land on the internet.
Most hosting sites offer free website domain name registration so both registration and hosting can be done with the same provider. For example, this website is registered and hosted via the business system I use which is Digital Business Lounge.
Here is a list of the top 10 web hosting sites for 2017.
Hosting prices vary from $1-$50 month. Starting out with a basic website means you won’t need to spend any more than $5/month to have your website hosted on the internet.
Create Your Business Email
You now need to create an official business email for your website. Again, most hosting sites offer email hosting so you can set up your business email through your host provider. For the sake of convenience, you can redirect your business emails to another email address such as your personal email, if you choose to do so.
If you want to or need to create a number of different business email addresses Zoho provides a free business email hosting service. You can of course upgrade to the paid service for increased functionality and support.
Step 3 Link Your Website Domain to a Content Management System
Now you need to link your website domain to a content management system (otherwise known as a CMS). This will be the software of your website. This is the online equivalent of building your house on your plot of land.
You will use the software of a content management system to develop all of the content for your website. There are both free and paid content management systems. The most common one is WordPress.
If you decide that you need more advanced functionalities than a paid service is a better option. If however you just want a basic website (which I would recommend in the beginning) WordPress is ideal.
Step 4 Begin Building your Website
This is where the fun begins! Now you get to design your website. Free services such as WordPress provide you with an incredibly broad selection of templates to choose from. Whereas more advanced paid content management systems offer more customised websites.
If you have chosen to use a template, there is plenty of opportunity to add your personal touch.
Images for Your Website
I would recommend Canva for sourcing and editing images for your site.
It’s important to note that not all images you find on the internet may be used in this manner. Some are covered by copyright laws. You want to source your images from free stock image sites and the images must have a CCO licence, which means that it is free for personal and commercial use with no attribution required. (You can find out more about copyright and licensing of stock images here.) That said, if I use stock images I always like to acknowledge – as a sign of appreciation – the photographer at the end of my posts.
Have fun here and be creative!
Remember a simple, easy to navigate site is what you want to create.
Plugins and Widgets
Plugins are extra functionalities that you can add to your site. For example, contact forms, social media buttons and Google analytics. They serve many different functions and are available to download from the control panel of your WordPress website. Here is a list of the recommended top 10 plugins for WordPress.
Widgets are similar to plugins in that they serve to enhance the functionality of your site but exist as part of the template. They can be moved around on your site and switched or off, depending on how you want your site to look and what you want it to do.
Depending on your budget all of this can be done with little capital investment, however, if you choose to take this route it does require a large investment of time. But, like anything, once the groundwork has been laid, it gets easier as time goes by.
So there you have it, 4 simple steps to setting up your website!
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Quote of the day and food for thought
Acknowledgements: main image courtesy of Tranmautritam of Pexels.com