From start to finish, building a professional, well-functioning website for your business isn’t as hard as you may think. In fact, you could have a complete site up and running in one business day — while some all-in-one sites tout times in the minutes — all for under $40, depending on what skills you bring to the table, if any.
Whether you offer a product or service, creating a website is essential to the growth and prosperity of your business. By today’s standards, not having a website may give people the impression that you are out of touch, and it could even deter potential customers from considering you as a reputable business. The benefits of owning your own website are plenty, but one main reason includes the flexibility it brings to your day-to-day environment. For instance, whether you sell products or provide services, you now have something tangible that customers can visit and take something away from with little effort on your end once the site is up and running. Instead of just having the brick-and-mortar location, you now have the potential to reach hundreds, if not thousands, of people on a daily basis.
With all of the benefits owning your own website can bring, it’s time to get started. Here are three steps to help you get going.
- Register your domain name. For starters, owning your domain name is important, because if you ever change your Web host (discussed in step two), you can take it with you. Keep in mind that, before you register your domain name, there are a few things to consider. First, the name you choose should be simple and one that applies to the type of business you’re in such as wesellcarpet.com. Next, you will need to decide on a suffix such as .com, .org, .net, .co, etc. Obviously a .com suffix is the most common and will give you the quickest link, in terms of familiarity between you and your audience, but it may be difficult to obtain because of its popularity. A good idea before you begin the registration process is to come up with at least five different names, visit a site like GoDaddy.com, and see what names are available. Registering a name is relatively inexpensive, with most registrars charging anywhere between $2 to $30 for an entire year, depending on the suffix.
- Register for Web hosting. Now that you have a name registered, it’s time to find a company that will store your website on its servers so the public can access your site 24 hours a day. Many hosting sites are competitive and offer complete setup and extraordinary deals with prices ranging anywhere from $3.50 to $9.95 a month. A lot of companies, like iPage and FatCow, offer all-in-one packages that include unlimited disk space, bandwidth, mailboxes for several employees, a shopping cart for e-commerce businesses, and 24-hour e-mail, Web, and telephone support. For a complete list of Web hosting sites, visit WebHostingSearch.com.
- Design your site. Finally, it’s time to get your creative juices flowing and design your website. There are more than a few ways to go about this. Here are three to get you started: