So you have decided to get a website, but you’re unsure what to do next…. here are a few pointers to help you get started:
In order to publish a website on the internet you need two essential things:
- Domain Name
- Web Hosting
It’s important to choose a domain name that is:
- relevant to your company name
- short, punchy and easy to remember
- preferably contains some of your preferred keywords (discussed in detail in next article: things-to-consider-before-employing-a-web-designer)
- Domain names are given on a first come first served basis. When someone reserves a domain name, they will typically be given it for a period of time (2 years), and have the option to renew at the end of the term.
- You can browse any ‘domain registrars’ website to find a domain name that suits your needs. For example go to www.streamline.net, click ‘domain names’ -> then search.
- It will cost you approximately £10 to reserve a ‘.co.uk’ name for 2 years, or £25 to reserve a ‘.com’ name for the same period of time.
A website is essentially a collection of files and images, which can be stored on a computer anywhere in the world, so long as it has access to the internet. In order to make your website available to the World Wide Web, you need to pay a ‘web hosting provider’ to store your website and associate it with the domain name that you have chosen.
There are a few things to think about when selecting a web hosting package. However, most of these depend on the intended purpose of your website. Things to consider include:
- Web Space
How large is your site going to be? What type of files will you be storing? If your site is likely to be a five or six page static site with a few images, then this really isn’t something you need concern yourself with. However, if you plan to have a high volume of media files (i.e. pictures, audio or videos) then you need to calculate your likely requirements and choose a package accordingly.
- Web Traffic
The same principals apply with regards to traffic. If you are planning to deliver media files or a very high number of pages, then you need consider your traffic. However, more and more providers are now offering unlimited traffic, so this is fast becoming a non-issue.
The most basic packages now come with between 10 – 100 free email accounts. This will allow you to provide that given number of accounts using against you domain name. For example email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org etc. As standard you can choose to either ‘forward’ these emails on to a different email address, or access the mailbox using a web form.
These are the first of the ‘non-standard’ options to consider when choosing a hosting package. You need to include a database in your package if you:
- Need to store user information
- Have a lot of pages or products etc and you would like to perform a search on them
- Plan to include:
- WordPress (or other blogging packages)
- Joomla (or other content managed packages)
- Magento (or other ecommerce package)
Again this is a non standard option. I would recommend consulting your web developer to determine ‘which’ if any scripting packages you need to include (this sometimes will come down to the developer’s preference). Generally speaking, you will definitely need to add scripting to interact with a database or any of the packages mentioned above (i.e. WordPress, Joomla or Magento).
The final thing to consider when choosing a web host is the quality of a provider. Any old Joe can setup a web server in their back room, connect it to the internet and decide to offer hosting at very cheap prices.However, if they have a poor hardware or connection to the web, this will dramatically affect the performance of your website. You need to also consider how secure the information they look after is, and whether they take regular backups of the data. Finally, what kind of customer service do they have to offer? (its so frustrating if you have a problem and there is phone number to speak to someone).
I would always recommend going with a reputable supplier with a proven track record. Here at Sure Media, we have multiple accounts with streamline.net. As part of our service we will set up and maintain a standard hosting account for £40 per year, or an advanced account (with database and scripting) for £50 per year.
[Both packages include a free ‘.co.uk’ domain registration]