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.

15 thoughts on “Business Websites 101 Part 1, Your Questions Answered”

  1. The answer lies with web htniosg companies offering Cheap Dedicated Server web htniosg plans that are quite cheap in terms of monthly payments. These plans usually start from a minimum of $30 per month and go upwards depending upon server configuration and bandwidth usage. Cheap Dedicated Server web htniosg plans come in two flavors. The first type is the Virtual Private Server where you are still on a shared host, but it runs a few virtual private servers. Virtual private servers are the least expensive type of htniosg amongst cheap dedicated server web htniosg plans. Users of these servers have a set amount of resources to use of the server, and there are far less people sharing the server. Each virtual server appears to be a complete machine in it self and is under complete control buy it’s user.

    1. Hi Suresh, I agree that VPS are a good middle ground I wasn’t aware there were cheap dedicated servers out there at around $30 a month. I will have to do some digging

      1. I would suggest you to buy the doamin name which costs around $ 10 per year and then use google apps which has its own free applications like web pages, emails, calendar and docs.This will be simpler as well as a robust option.

        1. I don’t know if I’d rely on Google Apps so much. There’s some other easy to use options out there for ths shopfront. I’d agree that Google is a good option for the backend services but wouldn’t lean on it too much.

          1. There’s not much to learn. first go over to go daddy and search for the damoin name you would like,for example, if it’s available you can register it. sometimes a damoin like will be taken already but or ect will be you find the damoin you want click check out fill in the name and address stuff, decide if you want to register for 1 year or several years, your choice . finish check out, done now you have a damoin. if you have chosen a web host already while you’re still at go-daddy point your name servers. it’s not hard, login to your hosting account c-panel you should be able to find the name servers in there just hunt around. there will be two and look like this and of course they won’t be these but something like these. so back to godaddy go to your account find manage damoins click on or whatever damoin you got,click nameservers and change the default ones to the ones you got from your host. wait a bit sometimes only minutes sometimes you can upload your website files. good luck H

  2. The cheapest host that works is, but their tech srppout is does domains and hosting their hosting is around $3 or $4 USD/month.Both of these will allow large files, and will allow you to change your web page with whatever images and designs you likeFree hosts don’t normally allow you to have a domain, and usually force ads on your pages.

    1. The previous asewnrer is incorrect. I own a domain purchased from GoDaddy and have taken advantage of their free hosting services. You can host it free for as long as you want while you own the domain.

      1. Hi Tania,

        Thanks for that, I’ll be sure to look into it as I have one domain that I haven’t done anything with yet but I very much want to do. I was mostly refering to ‘marketing’ companies that offer to host and build a site for you for free but then charge the earth for the actual content or limit your bandwidth.

  3. Godaddy and 1and1 are good place just for registering dmiaon names, not getting your website hosted.As you may know a dmiaon name is just a name, not a real website. If you are going to create your website:1- Buy a dmiaon name.2- Buy a web hosting service to provide your online space and enable you to get your website online at your purchased dmiaon nameIf you want to start your website I recommend purchase your dmiaon and hosting together. In this way it is possible to get your dmiaon for free. Some hosting services offer this gift today.Don’t trust dishonest claims like Best web hosting only $1 or Get the cheapest web hosting without sacrificing quality and features!! . Take into consideration that some hosting companies are cheating and lying to their customers. It is very important that your service be uptime. It means that you can access your account whenever you want to update your web pages, and your visitors can view your website whenever they input your website address. If your hosting service is not uptime it can be real hell!As an experienced webmaster I recommend StartLogic which I’m sure it would work for you and fulfill all your requirements. They have a really great offer for hosting I have used them for over 3 yrs now, and have never had a single problem with them.Free Domain + Hosting + Free Templates + Easy-To-Use Site BuilderThey are a Multi-awarded Web Hosting which offer a Full-featured service only $3.95 a month. Their service is really perfect and uptime. They offer Free Easy-To-Use Site Builder that helps you build your web pages without difficulty if you are not skilled in using any website creating program. (WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get)You can see their Plan Details accompanied with reliable reviews regarding their service at:According to my experience, StartLogic is the lowest cost service which is full-featured and really works for you.Notice: You must pick “Personal Package”.Good Luck!

  4. Hi Bob and Jim,

    1and1 and Goddaddy are used a lot by people to register domain names, they do also have hosting services but how good they are I’m not sure.

    I haven’t tried out startlogic yet.

    1. , I suggest that you shuold not get a domain name at this point, and well, you can not get one for free anyway it would just cost too much for a company to give them away.

      1. Hi Peter,

        I think it’s possible to get a domain name that matches the business still, especially if you’re willing to get creative. Expecially with domains where most of the people I write for are based.

        1. for domain you can try .info domain is $1.99 for the first year, or look for some coupon to buy .com domain at $8as for hosting if you want free hosting I would recommend (very reliable). if you just want to build a blog why don’t try to integrate your domain to free and you wouldn’t have to worry about bandwith limitation :pas for tutorial about hosting you can find it in my web

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *