Simple steps to setup a website
Create a website for your business: its on the to-do list of nearly each and every business owner. And if it’s not, it should be because having a business today without a website will result in a ‘No my God’ gasp from not only people who work in marketing and digital media but also your customers and potential customers.
Now before we jump into the simple steps setup a website for your business, I just want you all to know, that I am not an ‘expert’ website designer, graphic artist or closet coder nerd. In fact, the only reason I know the basic steps to creating a website is because I had to learn – sheer necessity is a great motivator!
When my husband and I first went into business 10 years ago, we kind of knew we needed to create a website. It was something we knew we had to have. So we set out to find someone to design it for us and put it on the web. Back in those days you really needed a website coder to build a website for you because it was all code!
It was all very mysterious and something only someone else with years of training and experience could do! So that’s what we did. Someone else built it, we gave them the words to put on each page and they did everything. If we needed just a tiny little change – they had to do it – and they would charge A LOT of money to do it. Needless to say, our website didn’t change at all for the first 5 years!
The website was basically an extended online version of a business card and brochure. But that’s what it was and so were all the other websites out there in website land. We had no real way of knowing if anyone ever visited it – unless they commented on it of course, and we had no real ability to add material to it without incurring great expense.
Our first website is nothing like websites today but we had one and that was the first step. If there is only one takeaway from anything I can share with you is when it comes to business, it is a learning journey. You never really ‘arrive’ you just keep building on the experiences you have had.
But back to websites
Just like your home, updates are always needed and so with version 2 of our website, we went for a total rebuild. Again we had someone else do it for us, even though by this stage I really could have done it myself as I had built a couple of websites for myself after going to a few workshops and taken a few online courses to satisfy my curiosity about how to do it. Those first websites I built were … hmm… embarrassingly bad, but I had learned enough to do it and the courses gave me enough knowledge and courage to have a go anyway.
While I didn’t have the confidence to build our own business’s website, I gained insight into what we need and wanted for our new website and thought having someone else do it would get done faster and work better.
But it didn’t. It took months and months and was a very frustrating process. I am not saying it was the designer’s fault – it was a combination of theirs and ours – and if you are planning to have someone else build your website, it’s still a good idea to at least understand the process of how a website is created and what the web designer is and isn’t going to be doing for you! It creates a win/win situation – well I think so anyway.
Where to Start
These steps are how I go about starting a new WordPress website. What is WordPress I hear you thinking? It is just one way you can create your website. WordPress is a Content Management System – CMS is the web developer jargon you might hear.
It’s basically a way of managing all the content – words, pictures and videos – you put online. But really, it would be a whole article in itself to explain WordPress – so just go with me on this!
This is a very simple 3 step process to get a website up and ready for you to add content and let the world know about your business.
Simple steps to create a website for your business
Step 1: You need a Domain Name
A domain name is like your street address. It is what people type into the address bar on a browser to get to your website directly. For example, Karen’s Domain Name is https://www.studiofiftythree.com.au
If you have an existing business then most businesses try to register their business name as their domain name because if people already know your business name, it makes sense to have your domain name the same as your business name.
To register your domain name you just need to go to a company that provides domain registration services and do search to make sure the the domain is available. You can pay for it with a credit card or paypal right there. Easy!
I use GoDaddy to register my domains, but there are hundreds of companies you can use to register a domain name. Others are HostGator, Netregistry, Crazy Domains – well there are hundreds. It doesn’t really matter who you use – just make sure you remember who you register with!
To show you how easy it is, watch the video below!
What about the extension?
A common question people have when registering a domain name is – what about the .com part? And it’s a good question.
In general, if you’re a local bricks and mortar business and your customers are going to be in Australia you will want to register the domain with the .com.au extension. If that’s not available the .net.au is also fine.
Note: any .com.au domain will need an ABN to register it. The Australian government makes this a requirement and the aim is to stop people registering lots and lots of domains with the view to selling them on for a profit.
If you are growing an online business that will sell primarily within Australia, again .com.au or net.au are the domain extensions you would want to secure.
However, if you are growing an online business and it doesn’t matter where your customers are, for example you are selling a digital product, the .com, .net or .org extension on your domain is probably what you will want to register. There are a whole lot of reasons for this but I won’t go into it here. It would take too long.
Step 2: Find a Host
Once your domain is registered, you need to find somewhere for your address to live. You see, unlike when you buy a home that comes with an address, with a website you buy the address and then decide where it will live!
So you need to find a Hosting provider. Again, there are hundreds of companies who can provide hosting for your website. If you registered your domain with GoDaddy they will offer you hosting. You don’t have to host your domain with the company you register your domain with, and there are whole lot of reasons why you might not want to do this. Again, I’m not going to go into those reasons here because we just are talking about the steps to setting up a website – not all the details and theories around why or why not to do something.
I like to use a local hosting provider and for Karen’s Studio Fifty-three website we used Priority 1 Technology Solutions. They’re a local Toowoomba Company who provide technology solutions to some very large companies in our area and who need very secure and safe web hosting. If it’s good enough for them, then it’s good enough for me!
To get your hosting setup, contact Priority 1, by phone, email or use their Contact Us page and they will take care of you from there. Tell them you want hosting for a WordPress Website!
Their service is great and email replies quick AND if you make a phone call a real person answers the phone – always a bonus in my eyes.
Once you have your hosting agreement in place, you need to point your domain name servers toward the host. “Wow Cherie” I can hear you think, “speak English to me!” Yes, this step is a little bit ‘techy’ but totally doable! If you would like a video about how to do that, let me know but if you’re a bit nervous about doing it and you are using Priority 1 Technology Solutions, they can take care of it for you.
Once the nameservers are pointed toward your hosting – in English this means once your domain name/address is attached to your host/block of land – you have a website!
It’s that easy! But you’re not finished by a long shot! You need to build your website/house where your business will live online. And that is a whole lot of work but with a good plan, it’s a lot of fun!