2 Key Steps in Setting Up Your Online Business
Registering a Domain Name—Selecting a Web Host
One of the most important decisions to make when deciding to start your online business is setting up a Web site. Now, the term Web site can refer to a set of pages dedicated to a product or service. This concept is what you think of in the business or corporate world. A site specifically dedicated to a single business purpose.
But Web site also refers to a Blog. That is a set of pages that can not only be dedicated to commercial use, but that can also be used for private or personal expression. Blogs have been around from the very early days of the Internet but they really took off after the introduction of software such as WordPress in 2003 and have had a huge impact on how information gets presented on the Web.
For the first time internet marketer, setting up a blog or more traditional Web site will involve two key steps: establishing a domain and finding a host or home for that domain.
Establishing Your Domain Name
The first thing you need to do is develop your business plan and then decide on a name for your blog or site. A domain name will be your unique Web address that people will use to type into their browser to find your business online. If you are setting up a tile business and your business name is “Italian Tiles”, you might select Italian Tiles.com as your domain name. A domain name is by definition unique, so no one else can have it or use it. That is where registering your domain name comes into play.
Register Your Domain Name
Once you’ve selected a prospective domain name you will then want to register that name through a service that specializes in domain registration—a domain registrar. These are services certified and approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). There are many registrars available. Some of the more notable are GoDaddy, Register.com, Network Solutions, NamesDirect, NameCheap to name a few.
Once you have selected a service you can then sign up and do a name search to see if your prospective domain name is available. You are now at step 2. You can check to see if the name is available using different extensions such as .com, .net, .org, .info or extensions using country identifiers such as us, fr, uk, etc…
With your domain name checked out and confirmed available, you then can purchase the name for a specified period of time. The cost varies depending on the service you use and the time frame selected. You can pay a yearly reservation fee or go out to five years. Fees can range from $9 on an annual basis to $45 for a 5 year lock in. Whatever you choose, once you have made the purchase of the domain name, you are then ready for the next step, finding a place to host it.
Finding a Host
With a domain name registered and ready to go, you now need to find a place to put it. That means you need a Web host. A Web host is a business that provides a black box called a Web server that will house your domain. It allows you to have the space or bandwidth to transfer files, or Web pages, and does it all for a monthly fee of between $3 to $10 per month to start.
Responsibility for content and software support lies with you and the software provider whose software you are using. The Web host is only responsible for the “pipes” you are using to transmit your data.
Two items you will want to know about are disk space and bandwidth.
Disk space is what the Web host will give you as your working space. Typically, this space runs from 10 gigabytes or more. What you will specifically need will depend on what your intended use is, so you should determine that, and order accordingly. Obviously, the more space the higher the monthly cost of hosting.
Bandwidth is the second factor to consider. Bandwidth refers to the amount of information that will be moving through the pipes. A straightforward text document like a letter requires less bandwidth than a streaming video sales piece. Web Hosts offer a variety of bandwidth limits on different types of accounts. They typically measure similarly to disk space; 10-50 gigabytes. Here again, depending on what you will be doing with your Web site or Blog, you will need to determine how much bandwidth you will need before deciding on the package to select from your Web host.
File Transfer Software
There is one more item you will need before you can set up your Web host. That is software that will allow you to transfer files from your computer to the Web host computer. This software is called File Transfer Protocol or FTP. The program is called an FTP Client and is used to upload Web or Blog files to your Web host server. The more commonly used programs are WS_FTP, SmartFTP, FileZilla, FTP Explorer, but there are many more to choose from.
With your domain name registered, a Web host selected and an FTP program ready to go, you are now ready to begin to create and install the content for your site and get your business underway. Take some time and find a good tutorial to show you the steps for setting yourself up or outsource some of the work. Whatever you decide, you are well on your way.
May your travels be prosperous.