The first step to getting online is to register a domain name (www.yourname.com). Domain names are registered with a registrar company such as eNom.com or NetworkSolutions.com, you can also go to their sites and check to see if a name is available. Prices are about $20 annually for available names, and can go higher for backordered names. Domain names expire if the annual renewal fee is not paid, when a domain registration expires, it becomes available to the public until someone registers it. We highly recommend you register your own name (not your web designer or hosting company), so you have complete control over it, if you web designer or hosting company is no longer available you have no way of accessing the your registration information unless they transferred it to you. When you register, also make sure you can easily change nameservers if you want to change hosts (see below). Effective business domain names should be one to three easy-to-spell words and end with a .com extension, if your desired domain name is not available, keep trying with different variations. Visit Google Insights to help you find relevant keyword trends in your industry and the Google Keyword Tool to research keyword search volume and suggestions.
The next step is to decide which platform you website will use. There are many platforms available with different degrees of features and ease of use. Popular platforms include WordPress* for websites and blogs, Miva Ecommerce for online stores, Tumblr for simple blogs and custom html sites created with software such as Dreamweaver.
*Please note WordPress.org is for self hosted accounts, free WordPress software must be installed on your web host’s server. Many templates and extenstions are available with a wide range of features and custom options available. WordPress.com, is used to create “free” blogs, which are very limited to specific themes (looks) and extensions.
Depending on your platform, your site need to be created or published using a hosting service to make your website accessible on the Internet. Web hosts (such as enom.com and hostasaurus.com) are companies that provide space on a server providing Internet connectivity. The scope of web hosting services varies greatly, some factors include reliability, size, speed, traffic and tech support quality. Website files can be uploaded via FTP software or via the hosts control panel. Nameservers link your registered domain name to your hosting company’s server. After your files are uploaded, you must change the default nameservers to your hosting companies nameservers. You can register your doman name and hosting service with the same company, but if they provide unreliable hosting service and poor tech support, will you be able to easily change the nameservers to a new hosting company?
Website Setup Terms:
Domain Name Registar: company to register your domain name (www.yourcompany.com) and specify nameservers
Nameservers: part of your domain name registration that links your domain name to your website hosting server
Website Hosting: company that provides space on a server for you to upload your files and make your website accessible on the Internet
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) Software: used to upload website files to host, free programs are available to download at http://download.cnet.com/windows/ftp-software/