Three Reasons Why You Need a Business Website
OK, so you’ve survived in business for years without a business website. Why do you need one now?
Here are three very good reasons:
- Your customers expect it. Many of them might think that you’re not serious about your business if you don’t have one (ask them and find out!)
- It will help you find new customers. The internet search engines (Google, Bing) will help you with this providing you follow some simple guidelines when you build your business website
- You’ll be able to communicate regularly with your customers. This will enable you to build strong relationship with them and sell more of your products and services
We’re not saying that it’s impossible to make money on the internet without a website. In fact there are even internet marketers that are quite successfully without one. But now a website has become as important as a business card, a brochure and an email address.
Here’s a survey from a company called Bright Local. They asked a group of people what they thought about business websites. The diagram summarises the findings:
You may have avoided building a business website up untill now because of the cost. This is no longer an issue. There are now very effective online tools available that make it very easy to create a business website or blog.
Your website doesn’t have to be very complicated or highly sophisticated. In many cases you can start your business with a single web page, and then later extend it to include a supporting website blog.
However, whether your website is simple or complex its better to build it using your own domain (i.e www.yourbusinessname.com) rather than a generic domain provided by a webs services provider (e.g such as www.yourbusinessname.redhosting.com).
Why Free Business Websites Aren’t the Best Choice
It’s not difficult to find internet companies that will allow you to create your own business website free of charge. These are services such as “Google’s” Blogger, WordPress.com, Squidoo and HubPages. These are amongst the most popular . Sometimes it can make sense to use these services first to build up some experience, but as your internet business grows it makes much more sense to own your own website on your own domain.
Many people are attracted to the free services because they are uncertain or even frightened by the technical aspects of setting up their own website. However, as I’ll explain in a minute, they are doing themselves a disservice.
The free website services are fine up to a point, but they don’t allow you the freedom to develop your business website in exactly the way you might want. This may be a fairly unimportant limitation at the start, but once you begin to get more confident and adventurous with your internet marketing and your website design you may find yourself inadvertently breaking the rules of your service provider (these rules can sometimes be very confusing).
When you do this they will very quickly delete your website and its contents without notification.
Choosing and Hosting Your Own Domain
If you decide to build your business website using one of the free service providers it can be totally heartbreaking to see all your hard work disappear because you may have broken a rule that you weren’t aware existed.
That’s why I recommend that you take the time and effort to learn the basic skills required to set up your own business website under your own control.
There are three basic things you need to learn:
- How to purchase a domain
- How to set up your hosting
- How to link your domain and hosting
Buying an Internet Marketing Domain
This is very easy.
Go to a company that is able to sell you a domain (a domain registrar) and sign up for an account. There are hundreds of domain registrars around. – GoDaddy, Cheap Names and 1&1 are three well-known ones. When you have found one you like, create your free account (none of them will charge for creating an account).
Next you have to find a domain name that you like that’s available.
A domain name is the part of a website address (sometimes called the URL or “uniform resource locator”) that comes after the http:// bit in your internet search bar.
Using GoDaddy as an example it can either be of the form:
Note that a domain name has two parts – the name itself (GoDaddy) and its suffix “.com”. If you selected a different suffix such as “.net” or “.org” this would make it a different domain.
Each domain registrar will provide a search box which you can use to type in your chosen domain name to see if it’s available. If it’s not available you can try another domain name, and carry on doing so until you have found one that you like which is available.
You can use variations of a domain name that you like such as:
Sometimes a domain registrar will make some suggestions to help you with your choice of domain name. Even with this help It may take a little while to find a domain name you like, but it’s worth working at it. Bear in mind that you can’t change the name after you’ve bought it.
The domain registrar will ask you how long you want to register the domain for – 1, 2 or 5 years. Once you have decided you can choose to checkout and pay.
Even after you have paid for your domain, you don’t own it. You are renting it for a set amount of time. If you neglect to pay the renewal fee after you rental period has expired you will lose the domain. However, most registrars will provide you with an email reminder about renewal.
How to get an Internet Hosting Account
It’s quite easy to find a company that will host your internet marketing domain.
Use Google and search for “web hosting”. You’ll find lots of hosting companies who want your business. HostGator is one of the biggest and one of the best. They offer hosting from as little as $5 a month, and also provide a superb level of support.
You can buy your hosting from the domain registrar, but most people recommend against this because it’s not a good idea to have all your eggs in the same basket.
Once you have a domain and a hosting provider you now need to link the two of them together.
How to Link Your Domain and Hosting Together
When you buy your hosting account you will be informed about the DNS (sometimes called Nameserver) code for your account. Make a careful note of this. It looks a bit like an URL (e.g. ns889.hostgator.com). You will in fact be provided with two DNS numbers. The second will be one number higher (NS890.hostgator.com).
When you have made a note of your DNS numbers, log into your domain registrar account and select the domain you’ve just bought. Next look for a menu item called DNS or Nameservers. Select this item and a table of the DNS codes currently associated with your domain will be displayed.
You would be able to leave these codes as they are if you had chosen to use your domain registrar as your hosting company, but if you choose not to do this you will need to change these DNS settings to the DNS settings provided by your hosting company. Once you have done this save the new settings.
This may all seem complicated, but all that is happening is that you are telling the Internet the “address” where your domain’s files are hosted. Once you’ve done that you are now ready to start building your business website – but that’s another story