Business Websites 101 Part 1, Your Questions Answered

You may be thinking about adding a website to your business and wondering to yourself exactly how you do it, what the first steps should be, what costs you are likely to get hit with along the way and what type of things you need to watch out for.

There is no doubt that setting up a website is a pretty scary endevor. Especially if you haven’t done it before and have only a passing familiarity with computers.

The irony is that you are the type of person that could gain the most out of a website as it allows you to increase your expousre outside your physical area with less ongoing costs than two color ads in the local paper.

Over the next few weeks I will be going through the exact steps you need to take to get your website set up from conception to launch and some of the dilemmas you will need to face along the way. We will look at:

  • How to choose and buy a domain name
  • How to select a host and the benefits of going with a managed host vs a non-managed host
  • Laying out your site
  • Building your site
  • What next… the steps you need to take after your site has been built

But before we look into all of those topics lets take a moment and look at some of the basic questions when someone relatively new at online business has when they first think about building a website:

Question One: What do I need and how do those things work?

If you don’t want your site to do anything fancy (and there’s a good chance that you don’t) then you’ll need three things: a domain name, a web host and a ‘platform’

A Domain Name

The domain name (AKA the URL or Uniform Resource Locator) is the name of your site. You don’t buy a domain name as much as get a long-term lease on it and the cost of domain names can vary depending on the type of domain you are after.

a .com is usually the most affordable with country representative domain names costing a little more.

To make matters worse a lot of domain names have been bought already so you may need to get creative with your naming, especially if your business name is a little generic.

But enough of this we’ll get into this more next week.

A Host

A host is basically the computer that your website is kept on so that customers and potential customers can come at any time and look at it.

Most hosting costs is calculated on a number of factors including how many domain names you will have working from your account, how much space your website takes up on the computer (better known as hard drive capacity) and how many people come and look at your site (better known as bandwidth).

Hosting doesn’t need to be expensive, in fact it may cost as little as $2 US a month on some servers, and it all depends on how much of a load you put on your website.

Some companies also offer managed hosting, where they will take care of everything on your website for a fee.

This may or may not be a good deal based on what’s on offer but we will get into that two weeks from now.

A Platform

A platform is the software that tells the website what to look like and how to act. It’s a little bit like the site’s operating system.

There are a lot of platforms out there filling a lot of purposes, these include WordPress, OSCommerce variants like Magenta and Prestashop and multipurpose platforms like Jomala.

The good thing about platforms is how flexible they are, how (for the most part) user friendly they are and how much support there is for them out in the online community.

But lets talk about that a bit later.

Question Two: How much is this going to cost me?

The costs can be incredibly reasonable.

To give you an indication of the set-up costs, I can put together a simple 3-10 page site for $500 and that will include ongoing support for simple technical problems. And you’ll probably find that is pretty close to a benchmark on what you have to pay as a set up.

All self horn tooting aside though the ongoing costs are pretty minimal, especially if you get a basic shared hosting package from one of the larger web hosting providers.

You’re probably looking at US$99.40 maintenance costs a year if you want a domain name, less if you want a .com and a little more if you would like to get multiple domain names to protect your trademark (more on this next week).

Question Three: What questions do I need to ask myself?

There are several things that you will need to be sure of before start building a site as it will affect how you go about things.

Ask yourself first: “which customers do I want to reach with this site?”

This will determine what type of domain you buy. If, for example, you want to reach a wider, global audience, then you might want to get a .com address. If your market is in New Zealand you may want to purchase a domain and if your market is mainly Australia then you’d get a address.

The next question to ask yourself is: “What do I want to do on this site?”

Do you want to sell, use it as a portfolio or use it as another way for customers to keep in contact with you?

This will have an impact on what type of platform you choose.

If you want to sell things then a shop-orientated platform would be best. If you want to keep customers updated on your movements then you probably want to go with a WordPress platform, if you want a simple contact-type site then a template provided by the host would be enough.

The final question is: “What are my ongiong constraints?”

Do you have a time shortage, a money shortage or a limited support network.

If you have a shortage of time and/or a limited support network, then you may in fact want to go down the route of a managed host as they will…. for a fee… make sure that you are always connected and always online.

However, if you’re ‘short’ on money then you will probably take the time to do most things yourself and get an unmanaged host.

The good news is its possible thanks to some incredible support networks for open source platforms like wordpress, Magento and Prestashop.

The bad news is you will need to take the time to find a contractor to help you out when it comes time to get content/update your site/ fix a problem on the site and it can sometimes be tricky to work out what is a fair price to pay, what type of things to ask and where to look.

I hope this blog has been of some help to you and I hope you join me next week when we delve into the world of domain names. For now though, read through this blog and jot down some ideas on what you want your business to achieve online. It will make the world of difference.

Setting Up Business Email For Outlook, Thunderbird and Gmail In Two Short Steps

Last night I told you why your email address should match your website in the blog 3 reasons why email is just as important as website.

Today I’ll look at how you can resolve that in just a few easy steps.

Step 1: Set up your new address in your website’s control panel

If you got someone else to set up and manage the code behind your site then you may not be able to set up the email address by yourself.

Approach the person/company managing your site and ask them to set you up with as many email addresses as you need.

Some good email address ideas might be:


However, if you got the site built onto one of the larger hosts like hostgator or dreamhost then will have full control which email addresses you set up and how you make them.

I will walk you through the process of setting up an email using hostgator and that will hopefully set you up enough to create email addresses with your own providers.

Once you log into the control panel you should see a bunch of options, one of those should be the ’email accounts’ button.

Click on that and there should be a form to set up a new address at the top of the page.

Fill it out with your preferred email address and password (I’m using newsletter because I will be using this email address for newsletters later).

Once you’ve filled it out, stored your password somewhere safe (you’ll need it soon), and hit the activation button (which is ‘create account’ in this case) then you can check out your new email address.

Head back to the main control panel and you’ll see a button called webmail, click on it.

This may take you directly to the webmail selection screen or it may take you to a introduction screen. If so it might look like the one below, click on the link.

Now you should see a screen where you can select which webmail application you want to use.

Most people prefer to use Horde or Roundcube, my preferences is for Horde so I click on that.

Horde asks you to log into your account again. Don’t worry you don’t need any extra information, just select the language you prefer and hit log in.

All email can be found in the ’email’ option so click on the plus symbol to see your new inbox.

So, you’ve got your new email address… now its time to plug it into your email client/personal email address so you can get all your email addresses in the same place.

Step 2 take 1: connecting your new email address with Microsoft Outlook

This isn’t nearly as hard as you’d think it would be providing you’ve got the right server and port details.

The first thing to do is to get to the account set up screen.

That can be found in tools menu, under email accounts. Make sure you select the ‘add new email account’ option and click next.

You want to get the emails stored on your computer so select the POP3 option and then click on next.

In the next screen you fill out all the boxes giving information on yourself and the server where the mail lies.

When you enter information about the incoming mail server and outgoing mail server you usually enter the same details, mail.yourdomain name (if you look you will see I have used Once you have filled that out click next.

In the next window just click next as you are quite probably using the same login details for your outgoing server that you are using for your incoming server.

You will need to select the correct ports in the advanced screen.

This is incredibly important as it determines whether or not your email address will work.

Incoming server ports are quite often set to 110, with outgoing server ports commonly being set to 25 or 26 but it will vary from host to host.

Check with your host if you don’t get your email address to work the first time.

After that you should be taken back to the previous screen. Make sure that all the information is correct and hit next. And congratulations, you have just set up your email account for outlook.

Step 2 Take 2: setting up your email through Mozilla Thunderbird

In many ways there are less steps to setting up a new email account in Thunderbird than there are in to setting one up in Outlook.

The first thing to do is to get in the right place. If you go about half-way down the home screen you should see the ‘Create New Account’ button.

Put your name, your email address and password into the next box and hit ‘continue’.

In the next screen select POP3 and then click on ‘Manual Config’ to change the ports and server names for both the incoming and outgoing servers.

Make sure the server matches your domain name, the ports are set to 110 for incoming and 25/26 for outgoing (or settings defined by your host) and the username matches the email you want and then hit create account.

Congratulations, you have successfully set up your email account to work with Thunderbird.

Step 2 Take 3: setting up your email through Gmail

Setting up your Gmail to receive and send business emails is actually a lot easier than doing it through Outlook or Thunderbird.

Go to the ‘Settings’ section in Gmail and then click on ‘Accounts’.

There are two things to set up here, setting up your Gmail to send emails on behalf of your business email and setting it up to receive emails on behalf of your business email.

To send emails you’ll find an ‘Add another email address you own’ link below the ‘Send mail as’ section of the site.

Click on it and a little window should pop up asking you to enter your name and your email address.

Use the name you want people to see in the ‘from’ section of their emails and then click on next step.

For the moment, sending mail through Gmail is much easier than sending it any other way so select the top option and click next.

You will be asked to verify you own the address, click on ‘send verification’ and then go to your webmail page in horde (you can get to it through the control panel and then Horde) and click on the email from Gmail.

There are two ways to handle verification, either you can click on the link in the email or you can enter the code into a box that looks like the one below:

Once that’s done all you need to do is to set up your Gmail so it will receive emails from your business address.

While your in the accounts page go down to the section of the page that is labeled ‘check mail as’ and look for the option labelled ‘add POP3 address’. Click on it.

Enter your email address and then click on ‘next step’

Make sure the username is the same as your email address, make sure the server is your domain name with mail. added onto it and ensure that the port is set to 110 and then click on ‘next step’.

Congratulations, you have successfully set up your email account to work with Gmail.

So now you know how to set up your business email. I hope you spend 20-30 minutes this weekend going throughout these steps yourself.

You will be rewarded with a better reputation, more flexibility and more precise CSM tools.

Ticking the right boxes – 3 reasons why email is just as important as website

So, you’ve bought a domain name for your business and have built (or had someone else build) a slick website to advertise your business.

But if you’re still using an email address for your business that ends in @hotmail, @xtra, @yahoo or any one of the many email/internet providers then you’re only half way towards having an effective online presence.

What follows are three reasons why it not only makes sense to have the same email address as your domain but also why you should set up a email address this week if you already have a website.

Reason One: it helps your online reputation

No doubt you’ve heard of the practice of phishing. The practice of using an email address very similar to a reputable business’ to obtain people’s passwords, personal information and login details to bank accounts.

It was common for phishers a few years ago to use free accounts with variations on trusted user names (NZpaypal, westpacservice etc) to get their hands on people’s personal details.

They stopped doing this because it stopped working which begs the question how reputable do you think you will appear to be when you approach someone the first time with an email address like

Reason Two: it makes your business more flexibile

Internet service providers are a little like power companies or the people you get to clear the rubbish.

You sometimes find the need to jump to a different service provider.

But unlike power companies or most other contractors you have made your ISPs a public part of your business by using their email service as your business email.

What this means is that if your internet provider dramatically increases their charges the ‘costs’ of changing providers if you have got your email address with them. You need to send out an email to customers informing them of your change of address and hope that they act on it.

With an email you can shift internet service providers as many times as you want and your customers will never be any wiser.

Reason Three: you can use different email addresses for different purposes

There are different parts to any business.

For example, if you have a car dealership you might service cars, sell used cars, sell new cars and sell car parts.

The person getting in contact with you about a car part is going to have very different needs to the person that wants a new car. They might even need to communicate with different people in your company.

With an address you will be able to separate these forms of communication into separate lines to make sure customers get their needs met faster with less confusion.

So, as you can see an email provides you with a better reputation online, more flexibility and better customer management tools.

And the best part of it all is that if you have already set up your site then setting up an email is free quick and easy.

Check out this blog tomorrow because I will be walking you through what you need to do to get your very own email address.

Farmers Optimistic About Next 2 Years: Survey

Farmers are optimistic about the next 24 months according to a survey completed at the 2012 Northland Field Days last week.

People who passed by the ODDJOB PR site were asked to write what they thought would happen in agriculture in the next two years on a post it and place it on a cork board.

More than 50 people took part in the survey with many optimistic about the future for the next 24 months.

According to Gareth Gillatt, ODDJOB PR owner, Gareth Gillatt the early season has been kind and prices for most New Zealand produce continues to be at an all-time high.

“Farmers are looking forward to a good next few seasons,” said Mr Gillatt. “This should flow through to a positive outlook for the rest of the country.”

The event saw a record 25000 people walk through the gate this year.

According to Mr Gillatt most of the site holders he had talked to had commented that farmers were definitely spending.

“Exhibitors have told me that farmers have come out with a shopping list and they’re looking to buy,” said Mr Gillatt. “That is the exact opposite to last year where farmers were battling tough weather and soft farmgate produce prices.”

Margaret Bishop from Newman Engineering shows off a 5.4 meter landplane custom designed and built for a Northland farmer

Other messages shared by people taking part on the survey were concerns about the environment and foreign ownership.

This has resulted in increased interest in alternative energy sources with a high number of solar panels and wind generators being made available at the event, with many exhibitors saying there had been a great amount of interest in their products.

The SolarPeak display was rarely without potential customers throughout the three-day event

“A lot of things have happened in the last five years and I think farmers know that they will start to make their presence known in the next three years.”

To learn more about the Northland Field days visit the Northland Field Days website or to find out what happened at the 2012 event read this blog post.

ODDJOB PR At Northland Field Days (Part 1)

What a week it was last week.

A record 25000 people attended the field days despite a looming weather bomb and there was plenty to see and do.


I spent three days wandering around the field days and met lots of great people, most of whom I took pictures of.

I have uploaded every single picture to my Google Plus account, if you had your picture taken and you’d like access to it you can get it from my Thursday March 1 album, Friday March 2 album or Saturday March 3 album.

I hope you had a good time and I’d love to hear back what you thought of the field days or what you think of the photos.

Just email me at gareth [at] oddjobpr [dot] com or leave a comment under the post and I will be sure to respond.

And be sure to check out Farmers Optimistic about net 3 years: Survey to see the results from a survey conducted at the field days.

Northland Field Days To Feature Innovative Road Stabilisation Technology

People heading to the Northland Field Days this year hoping to see the latest innovations on the market will just need to look at the ground they walk on.

Waipu company Gravel Lock NZ LTD, will be showing off their hydroscopic soil cement at their site and on several of the walkways and roads around the Northland Field Days this year.

According to Gravel Lock NZ LTD Director, Grant Lewis, it will be one of the general public’s first chances at seeing this technology in action.

“Outside of a few tests on local roads it will be the first time this product has been seen in public,” said Mr Lewis.

The company has made a name for itself with farmers, councils, construction companies and logistics companies worldwide with its durable, easy-to-use dust suppressants and soil cements.

The product being launched will be the first in the world that comes already pre-mixed for quick application.

According to Northland Field Days President, Lew Duggan, the field days has had a long history of bringing new and innovative products to the attention of the public.

“People come to the field days expecting to see the latest things available and the most current things on the market,” said Mr Duggan. “From alternative energies to the latest in animal medicines we’ve got it all.”

To see the latest in agricultural and gardening products visit the Northland Field Days on March 1 – 3 in Dargaville.

Or to see what else is happening at the Field Days visit