Archive | February 2015

Creating a Website for your Business


It is important to have a website for your business. Many people now use the internet to search for products and services and to do their shopping. Giving your business a web presence is an ideal way to advertise and promote your products and services and to bring them to the attention of thousands of online shoppers across the globe.

Creating a website for your business is not difficult at all. It actually consists of two steps. The first step is getting your web address, which is what your visitors will type into the address bar to reach your website. For example, let’s say your business is called Sarah’s Sublime Soap and you want to use this as your web address, visitors would type in ‘www.sarahssublimesoap.com’ . This is what is called a top level domain – www.yournamehere.com (or .net or .org or .info, etc.,). In order to get a domain, you have to go to what is called a domain registrar, choose your domain and register it. It is a good idea to use some of your main keywords in your domain name, for example, if you sell soap or candles or jewelry or website services, or what have you, be sure to work those words into your domain name like in the example above. Your domain name cannot contain spaces or punctuation marks like apostraphes, commas, underscores, asterisks, exclamation points, dollar signs, @ signs, semicolons, colons, quotation marks, percentage signs, hashtags, plus signs, and brackets. The only punctuation you can include is a hyphen, but your name cannot begin or end with a hyphen, it must be somewhere in the middle. Also, domain names are not case sensitive and they can contain numbers.

Domain names are not expensive, ranging usually from about $7.99 to about $14.99 usd, which is paid anually (you can also choose to register it for 2 years, or 3 years, etc.,). Sometimes you can find sales for as low as .99cents for the first year, just make sure you read the fine print. If you have a really simple domain name in mind, you might find that someone else already registered it, in which case you have to chose another one. Some of the more popular domain registrars are GoDaddy, Netfirms, and 1&1.

Ok now you have your web address, what do you do now? If someone types in your new domain name they’re going to get an error message. Why? Because the website itself technically doesn’t exist yet, even though you registered the name. A website consists of files, for example your business website is going to consist of photos of your products, descriptions of products or services, descriptions of your business itself (what exactly you do, how you got started, etc.,), answers to frequently asked questions for your visitors, and whatever else you want to add. All these things are going to make up the pages of your website and you need a place to store it all and create your web page files, and this is where a hosting company comes in. Think of a hosting company like an apartment you’re going to rent and you’re going to store your files, this is where your website is going to “live”. The domain name that you registered is going to be the address that is going to bring your visitors to your website’s “apartment”. Many domain registrars offer hosting plans as well, but you don’t necessarily have to sign up with the same company. You can register your domain from one company and sign up for hosting with another company. Hosting companies offer many tools to help you create and maintain your website, look for things like the amount of disk space, that’s like the amount of rooms your apartment will have, if you’re planning on a large website of course you will want a good amount of disk space. They also offer things to go with your hosting account like email addresses to match your domain name, mailing lists, autoresponders, subdomains, website statistics, and scripts installation if you want to add things like wordpress blogs to your account. They have different packages available depending on your needs and they are come with small monthly fees (sort of like your rent) and as is the case with domain names you pay it yearly.

Once you have your hosting account set up you can start uploading all of the photos you want to use and start creating and designing your website, which is done by creating files using HTML and CSS – these are coding languages to create web documents that are readable by your web browsers. But what if you don’t know HTML or CSS? Does this mean you can’t create a website for your business? Actually you can have a great website, there are options for you. For example, many hosting companies offer simple website builders where you either drag and drop or upload your files into predesigned templates, so you don’t have to have any HTML/CSS knowledge. These website builders tend to be quite simple and don’t offer many personalized design options but there are DIY hosting companies that deal specifically with website builders. They have many more features and design options with a variety of templates and graphics. You don’t have to have any knowledge or experience with HTML/CSS to work with them and create a beautiful website. DIY hosting companies like Create A Shoppe Plus, Designer218, and Little Fish Hosting work with crafters, wahms, and small business boutiques. All of Dina’s Designs Graphics websets work with them and can be uploaded to their website templates.