Tips and Information For Getting Started With Your Website 

This page will help with what you're going to need to get started and getting things set up.

Congratulations on your new website.

There are a few things you'll need when setting up your new website and we've provided some information and resources to help the process go smoothly. The resources are here as a guide and of course you can always use your own resources if you prefer.

Two most important things you'll need when getting started with your website

The two most important things you'll need are a URL/Domain name and a hosting package. The (URL) or Uniform Resource Locator, better known as a web address or Domain name is what your visitors will type into a browser to visit your website. For example: www.example.com. They also may click on your URL as a link in a search engine like Google or another webpage. The hosting provider supplies  the server where your website is hosted. All your website's code and files are stored here, more on that in a bit.

Let me say up front, we can handle or assist procuring a domain and hosting for you. We also feel strongly that because both are a recurring annual fee, they should be in your name or your businesses name and billed directly to you or your business. This way you have total control, as you should.

1. Getting Started with a Domain Name

The right domain name is extremely important. It should identify and represent your business or organization at a glance. It should be short, easy to spell and remember.

Here's a checklist:

  1. Make it easy to type. 
    Easy to type is critical to online success.
  2. Keep it short.
    Don't make it long and complex. You'll miss out on visitors.
  3. Use keywords.
    Use keywords that describe your business and the services you offer.
  4. Target your geographic area.
    If your business is local, consider including your city or state.
  5. Avoid numbers and hyphens.
    Numbers and hyphens are often misunderstood.
  6. Be memorable.
    A domain that’s catchy and memorable is essential.
  7. Research it.
    Make sure the name you select isn’t trademarked or copyrighted. 
  8. Use an appropriate domain name extension.
    Extensions are suffixes, such as .com or .net.
  9. Protect and build your brand.
    Purchase various domain extensions, as well as misspelled versions.
  10. Act fast.
    Domain names sell quickly. Thankfully, they’re inexpensive, the average cost is $15 per year.

Your great idea starts with a great domain name

Our focus is on making it easy to find and register the perfect domain and providing you with the tools you need to manage your domains with ease. We're providing a domain lookup from Hover.com. We have many domains with Hover and they've always done right by us. 

Check If Your Domain Is Available


2. Getting Started With Hosting

What is web hosting and how do I obtain it?

Web hosting is an online service where you publish your website files (images, video, and code) onto the internet. When you buy an annual or monthly hosting plan, you're essentially renting space on a server they own and manage. Therefore, anyone with internet access, whether it’s a desktop computer or a mobile device, can visit and interact with your website. This is essentially the service you get from a web hosting provider. There are many to choose from. In our effort to be as helpful as possible, we’re recommending what we believe to be the best, and the one we use ourselves, web hosting provider, DreamHost.

DreamHost

With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and 4.8 out of 5 stars on TrustPilot, DreamHost is one of the most recommended web hosting providers. DreamHost uses super-fast Solid State Drives (SSDs) for all its storage and has a free Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate for secure web browsing, a must-have for search engine optimization (SEO).

Dreamhost also offers free shared website and email hosting to 501(c)(3) nonprofits.

Types of hosting

Shared hosting is typically the most basic and least expensive plan, costing around $2.50 -$3.95 per month. A shared hosting provider should have everything you need. However, you are sharing resources with others on the same server. While a shared hosting plan may be less expensive, it does come with the risk of another website sharing the same server, for a variety of reasons, bringing the server down…taking your site down in the process. 

Virtual private server hosting is a step up from shared hosting, costing around $13.75 per month. It allows you to get similar performance to a dedicated server, without going up to a dedicated server plan. With a managed VPS hosting plan, the hosting provider takes care of the software and system updates and is the option we recommend. Because it’s private and not shared, the worry of another website taking down the server is not a concern.

Dedicated server hosting is the option for websites with large numbers of visitors, costing $149.00 - $279.00 per month. With this more expensive dedicated server plan, you'll get a physical server (or multiple servers), giving you total control and much more resources for running your website.

3. Getting Started With Website Content

Content is king

Content is one of the most important aspects of your website for several reasons. The first is your website’s messaging. You need a consistent voice throughout your pages and your website’s purpose should be clear. I outline this and more in my Top 10 Reasons You May Have A Bad Website article. Getting your message understood is exponentially higher when you use visuals, like graphics, images, photography or video. In fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. 

Another reason is that visuals such as images increase our SEO efforts and give your web pages a higher ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs). This is essential to online success. Copy is important but without images it’s less effective and almost useless when it comes to SEO. Graphics and images are great for SEO and video is better yet.

I’ve pulled together a wide selection of free stock photography in my article, Free Stock Photos for your Projects. There’s also free video among these resources as well. Having your content well thought out and ready to go is a big help when setting up and creating a website.

You should have all your content ready, at least your copy, whether you’re building your website yourself or you're commissioning a web designer. Plan your content and implement a content strategy that'll tie into your marketing. Keep in mind, we can do writing for you or you can higher a writer of your choosing for an additional fee. You can, and should, always add more content to your website as your business grows, but have the initial content ready.

Next Steps

Although there’s a lot more to getting started and running a successful website, like SEO, organic search, paid search, content strategy, digital marketing, e-commerce capabilities if applicable, lead generation…quite frankly, the list is exhaustive. But this page is designed to prepare you with the top three items that you truly need to know. Whether you’re hiring Nick France Design and I’ve referred you here, or you’ve happened upon this page from a search engine and are looking for helpful information, the take-away should be the top three items: Domain, hosting and content. 

As with all good content strategies, it’s now time for me to recommend the next step. If we’ve just entered into a relationship as designer and client, your next step is to fill out our web discovery form. Take it seriously as it’ll establish the foundation of your website and along with our consultation, I will reference this form as I design and create your very important website. If you’ve happened upon us, then check out our pricing page for a plan that fits your budget and meets your needs and be sure to review our Website Design Servces. Either way, I sincerely hope this page was helpful. Please let me know if it was.