We are in the Internet Age and every business needs to go online to stay along with the competition. If you do not swim with the current, you run the risk of getting drowned. This is relevant to today’s business systems as well. Well, it is easy to decide on starting your company’s own website. For many of the first time website owners to be, this could pose a serious challenge. Knowing your concerns, we’ve written this article that would take you through the nuances of getting your company website online.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Domain Name
- 2 2. Website Hosting
- 3 3. Email accounts
- 4 4. Technical Support
- 5 5. Building a logo
- 6 6. Email marketing
- 7 7. Choose the best theme
- 8 8. Creating social networking account
- 9 9. Include social media Integration
- 10 10. Include Analytics
- 11 11. Give your customers details on how to contact you
- 12 12. Content writing
- 13 13. Payment Gateway Integration & SSL Certificates
- 14 14. Search Engine Optimization
- 15 15. Online Advertising
1. Domain Name
Choose a good domain name that resembles your business name. Check for availability of the chosen domain name. You will also have to decide if you are going to go for a .com or .net or other extensions.
There are multiple service providers that would help you buy a domain name most notable among them being Hostgator, SiteGround, GreenGeeks, Bluehost and NameCheap. The price of a domain may vary based on the keywords in it as well as on the service provider. In fact, many provide you bundled offers, including other features like Office 365, WordPress, SSL, Domain ownership masking and of course web hosting. You can choose the best options that suit your requirements.
2. Website Hosting
Once you buy a domain, you only get the domain name registered in your name. Your customers want to see a website. This would be possible only if you host the website. You can choose to host your website either on a Linux or Microsoft server. The providers mentioned above also provide hosting services. Factors that you have to consider while choosing a hosting plan are – Single/multiple domains, subdomains allowed, Disk space, Bandwidth, Email accounts, dedicated IP, Applications (Site building tools) availability, ease of use of the control panel, Technical Support.
a) Single Domain / Multiple Domain:
This indicates the number of domains that you would be allowed to host using the subscribed plan. Ideally, single domain would be sufficient. However, if you plan to have multiple domain names and host them, so that any result to the search keyword(s) takes the user to only your website, you may want to buy and host additional domain names with the same name but different extensions like .com, .net, .in, .co etc.
b) Subdomains allowed:
Subdomains are small domains within domains, usually separated by a dot. Let’s say if microsoft.com is a domain, then support.microsoft.com would be its sub-domain. If you are looking to have something along these lines, then this feature holds importance in selecting the hosting plan.
This is the rate of traffic and data allowed to transfer between the user’s device (computer) and your website. Higher the bandwidth, faster is the data access. Be wary of those unlimited data transfer claims. Read the documentation carefully to determine the actual bandwidth allowed.
d) Disk Space:
This is the overall space allocated for your website in the online sphere. The space ranges from 512 MB, 1 GB, 10 GB and sometimes even unlimited. For a regular website 1 GB should be sufficient. However, this depends on a number of factors like the count of visitors per month, email accounts, web pages, pictures, videos etc. that would feature in the website.
3. Email accounts
You should be able to have your personalized email IDs. This indicates the number of email accounts that you would be allowed to maintain in the hosting space. The more the number of email account, more would be the usage of disk space. So, if you are planning to create many email accounts, accordingly choose a plan with the disk space.
4. Technical Support
Though most hosting servers offer 99.9% uptime, there can be instances wherein you would require support. Choose a hosting plan from a service provider that offers 24/7 technical support. Multiple channels of support like toll-free phone support. Chat support, email support etc. would be good to have.
While GoDaddy and Bigrock are the big players in this segment, we will look at the alternatives that provide more value for your money.
Hostgator offers three tailor made plans to choose from. They claim unlimited Disk space, Transfer and E-mails for all the plans. As far as website building is concerned they offer WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Drupal and Wiki hosting too.
SiteGround also has three ready made plans starting with 10 GB space and the usual stuff. However, they also provide a SSL certificate along with all the plans.
Bluehost offers three plans. All three offer unlimited space, data transfer, and Email accounts. They offer the same features that regular hosting providers do at a nominal price.
As the name indicates this would count among the most inexpensive domain hosting service providers. If you are looking for an affordable plan that just suits the basic requirements, NameCheap is the one you should go for.
GreenGeeks provides just one plan that offers a comprehensive list of features. They also include SSL, Spam protection and free SEO tools. In fact there is nothing more to ask from this plan.
Once you are ready with the resources, you need to setup up your website in a suitable CMS like WordPress, Blogger or HTML etc.
5. Building a logo
It is vital that you have a good logo that relates to your business goals. There are quite free online services that would help you build your own logo. You can avail one of those services; else you can get this done by a graphics designer. If you are totally out of ideas on how your logo should look, you can make use of the services of 48hourslogo. Here you can start a logo design contest for as low as $29 and get to see many creative designs. You can choose the one that you think best suits your company. Once you zero in on the logo, make sure that it is used consistently.
6. Email marketing
Once you build your website, there is a need for marketing, so that people know about your online presence. If you have a database of your customer’s email addresses, start by sending them emails about your website and how they can get in touch with you online. You can use an email marketing platform like Aweber which is affordable; to send those mass emails as well as track the statistics like email open rate, links clicked etc.
7. Choose the best theme
Choose a website building application based on the themes they provide and the core purpose of your website. Elegantthemes is one such that can make your website look splendid if you are going to use it via WordPress.
It offers you 87 themes and plugins that help you design and capture visitor activity. Many webmasters prefer the Elegantthemes due to the readymade templates and the level of customization it offers. Alternatively, you can also use a theme from Themeforest.
Themeforest is like a marketplace for themes where various developers get to showcase their designs and sell them. You are bound to get new and innovative designs here.
Create an account in Facebook (page), Twitter, and LinkedIn etc. for your website and keep adding content to it seeing to it that there is enough mention about your website. This is makes your website popular and generate organic traffic to it.
In this era of hardcore social media, if you do not integrate social networks into your website, you don’t stand a chance to build on your popularity. Make it a point to check add those plugins to your website, so that visitors can stay connected. These can be easily done using the website building software that you use.
10. Include Analytics
Keep a check on the number of visitors to your website. If there are not many visitors to your website then entire effort to build it would go futile. You can incorporate analytics into your website or just use the Google Webmaster tools to determine the performance of your website.
11. Give your customers details on how to contact you
Your website is incomplete if it does not have the contact details on how to get in touch with you. If you are running a service based business, do mention the details of the individual or contact that can be reached, so that you don’t miss prospective clients. On every page on your website, do include a call to action – toll free number. It could be a link to click to the next page or a chat now button or a call button linking to a toll-free number. This makes your website more user-friendly and would increase the number of leads for your business.
12. Content writing
Your website is as good as its content. Irrespective of how good the marketing or the design is, if the content is found to be unsavory, you will see visitors moving out of the pages soon increasing the bounce back rates. Add relevant and well-written content that a regular visitor can understand and relate to. Use images to create visual impact, but do not overdo it that the pages look clumsy.
13. Payment Gateway Integration & SSL Certificates
If your website is going to be used as a mode to accept payments like online transactions, you will need a payment platform through which the customer can make a payment to your account and your website should be able to transmit data securely, hence the need for a SSL (Secured Socket Layer) Certificate. Usually, you can get this from your hosting service provider or domain name seller. You can go for a 128 bit or 256 bit encryption. You can integrate a payment gateway to your website by applying from it and using the API’s that they provide. More the number of options to pay better will be the revenue!
Well, the below resources may not be required at the start but once you start, you need to keep the below points in mind.
14. Search Engine Optimization
If your specialization is in a particular product or service, your website should feature in the search results when a customer looks up for it. This improves your chances of a sale. For this to happen, your website has to be optimized for the search engine like Google or Bing to identify it. This task can be done by an expert SEO. There are some SEO tools that are provided free by your hosting company as well.
15. Online Advertising
This is another form of marketing that you can opt for. You can advertise your products or services online through ads or search results. This is a paid service based on the number of impressions (display of ads) or clicks.
These sums up the resource list that you would need to start and run a company website successfully.
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